by Chris Michalik



     As the current conflict in Kosovo and the unrest in East Timor and elsewhere in Indonesia display, ethnic nationalism, and the resulting tension and conflict, is arguably the most pressing problem facing the international community today.  This web sites seeks to provide a catalyst for discussing the problem and possible solutions.  A short paper, which I have written, puts forward my view that part of the problem is the focus on what I call "group theory."  By that term, I mean the theory that individuals of an ethnic group can only be protected by giving the group, as a whole, autonomy.  As this necessarily seems to imply that there be ethnically homogenous states, it is a surefire way to tension, conflict, and displacement.  To question the value of  such a "group theory" is not to ignore the realities of the modern world.  I realize that ethnic minorities are threatened throughout the world.  I, however, propose that rather than supporting autonomy movements the international community focus on protecting individual rights, with particular emphasis on those that focus on cultural protection.  Hopefully, such a policy would protect ethnic groups and prevent the almost certain displacement and violence that accompany group autonomy tactics.

    Even if you are not interested in my paper, I hope this website will be useful in furthering awareness and discussion of the ethnic conflict problem facing the international community.  I have provided links to many maps showing the ethnic composition of various areas of the world.  (from the Former-Yugoslavia to the Middle East to the Former-Soviet Union)  The maps will hopefully aid both in understanding the problem of the ethnic conflict and the problem of the group theory solution.  Perhaps more importantly, I have provided links to various websites that should prove helpful to anyone searching for information on virtually any ethnic conflict or issue.