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A feud (Template:PronEng) (referred to in more extreme cases as a blood feud or vendetta or faida) is a long-running argument or fight between parties—often, through association fallacy, groups of people, especially families or clans. Feuds begin because one party (correctly or incorrectly) perceives itself to have been attacked, insulted or wronged by another. Intense feelings of resentment trigger the initial retribution, which causes the other party to feel equally aggrieved and vengeful. The dispute is subsequently fuelled by a long-running cycle of retaliatory violence. This continual cycle of provocation and retaliation makes it extremely difficult to end the feud peacefully. Feuds frequently involve the original parties' family members and/or associates, can last for generations and may result in extreme acts of violence.
Until the early modern period, feuds were considered legitimate legal instruments and were regulated to some degree. Once modern centralizing states asserted and enforced a monopoly on legitimate use of force, feuds became illegal and the concept acquired its current negative connotation.
A blood feud is a feud with a cycle of retaliatory violence, with the relatives of someone who has been killed or otherwise wronged or dishonored seeking vengeance by killing or otherwise physically punishing the culprits or their relatives. Historically, the word vendetta has been used to mean a blood feud. The word is Italian, and originates from the Latin vindicta (vengeance). In modern times, the word is sometimes extended to mean any other long-standing feud, not necessarily involving bloodshed. Sometimes, it is not mutual but a prolonged series of hostile acts waged by one person against another without reciprocation.
Originally, a vendetta was a blood feud between two families where kinsmen of the victim intended to avenge his or her death by killing either those responsible for the killing or some of their relatives. The responsibility to maintain the vendetta usually falls on the closest male relative to whoever has been killed or wronged, but other members of the family may take the mantle as well. If the culprit had disappeared or was already dead, the vengeance could extend to other relatives.
Vendetta is typical of societies with a weak rule of law (or where the state doesn't consider itself responsible for mediating this kind of dispute) where family and kinship ties are the main source of authority. An entire family is considered responsible for whatever one of them has done. Sometimes even two separate branches of the same family could come to blows over some matter.
The practice has mostly disappeared with more centralized, rationalistic societies where law enforcement and criminal law take responsibility of punishing lawbreakers.
In ancient Homeric Greece, the practice of personal vengeance against wrongdoers was considered natural and customary: "Embedded in the Greek morality of retaliation is the right of vendetta . . . Vendetta is a war, just as war is an indefinite series of vendettas; and such acts of vengeance are sanctioned by the gods".
In the ancient tribal Hebraic context, it was considered the duty of the individual and family to avenge evil on behalf of God. The executor of the law of blood-revenge who personally put the initial aggressive killer to death was given a special designation: go'el haddam, the blood-avenger or blood-redeemer (Num. 35: 19, etc.). Six cities of refuge were established to provide a "cooling off" phase as well as due process for the accused. As the Oxford Companion to the Bible states: "Since life was viewed as sacred (Gen. 9.6), no amount of blood money could be given as recompense for the loss of the life of an innocent person; it had to be 'life for life'" (Exod. 21.23; Deut. 19.21)".
The Middle Ages, from beginning to end, and particularly the feudal era, lived under the sign of private vengeance. The onus, of course, lay above all on the wronged individual; vengeance was imposed on him as the most sacred of duties ... The solitary individual, however, could do but little. Moreover, it was most commonly a death that had to be avenged. In this case the family group went into action and the faide (feud) came into being, to use the old Germanic word which spread little by little through the whole of Europe--'the vengeance of the kinsmen which we call faida', as a German canonist expressed it. No moral obligation seemed more sacred than this ... The whole kindred, therefore, placed as a rule under the command of a chieftain, took up arms to punish the murder of one of its members or merely a wrong that he had suffered.—Marc Bloch, trans. L. A. Manyon, Feudal Society, Vol. I, 1965, p. 125-126
The Celtic phenomenon of the blood feud demanded "an eye for an eye," and usually descended into murder. Disagreements between clans might last for generations in Scotland and Ireland. Due to the Celtic heritage of many whites living in Appalachia, a series of prolonged violent engagements in late- nineteenth-century Kentucky and West Virginia were referred to commonly as feuds, a tendency that was partly due to the nineteenth-century popularity of William Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott, both of whom wrote semihistorical accounts of blood feuds. These incidents, the most famous of which was the Hatfield-McCoy feud, were regularly featured in the newspapers of the eastern U.S. between the Reconstruction era and the early twentieth century, and are seen by some as linked to a Southern culture of honor with its roots in the Scots-Irish forebears of the residents of the area.
Chariot racing in the Byzantine Empire also included the racing clubs. The Blues and the Greens were more than simply sports teams. They gained influence in military, political, and theological matters. The Blue-Green rivalry often erupted into gang warfare, and street violence had been on the rise in the reign of Justin I. Riots culminated in the Nika riots of 532 AD during the reign of Justinian I, with nearly half the city being burned or destroyed and tens of thousands of people killed.
In Japan's feudal past the Samurai class upheld the honor of their family, clan, or their lord by katakiuchi (敵討ち), or revenge killings. These killings could also involve the relatives of an offender. While some vendettas were punished by the government, such as that of the 47 Ronin, others were given official permission with specific targets.
At the Holy Roman Empire's Reichstag at Worms in 1495 the right of waging feuds was abolished. The Imperial Reform proclaimed an "eternal public peace" (Ewiger Landfriede) to put an end to the abounding feuds and the anarchy of the robber barons and it defined a new standing imperial army to enforce that peace. However, it took a few more decades until the new regulation was universally accepted. In 1506, for example, knight Jan Kopidlansky killed somebody in Prague and the Town Councillors sentenced him to death and had him executed. Brother Jiri Kopidlansky revenged himself by continuing atrocities.
More than a third of the Ya̧nomamö males, on average, died from warfare. The accounts of missionaries to the area have recounted constant infighting in the tribes for women or prestige, and evidence of continuous warfare for the enslavement of neighboring tribes such as the Macu before the arrival of European settlers and government.
The Clan Gordon was at one point one of the most powerful clans in middle Scotland. Clan feuds and battles were frequent, especially with the Clan Cameron, Clan Murray, Clan Forbes, and the Chattan Confederation.
Throughout history, the Maniots, Greece's toughest population, have been known by their neighbors and their enemies as fearless warriors who practice blood feuds, known in the Maniot dialect of Greek as "Γδικιομό" (Gdikiomo). Some vendettas went on for months and sometimes years. The families involved would lock themselves in their towers and when they got the chance would murder members of the opposing family. The Maniot vendetta is considered the most vicious and ruthless; it has led to entire family lines being wiped out. In the era of the Ottoman Empire's rule, the seasoned Albanian soldiers of Ali Pasha burnt and pillaged the Peloponnese until they got to Mani, the Albanians were stopped frozen out of fear upon having to come face to face with a Maniot so they were seen dropping their arms and retreating while repeating the phrase "marr armët e mia por nuk mua" (Take my arms, but not me), even Ali Pasha himself never entered Mani for this reason. During the World Wars, Benito Mussolini's Italian regiments from Sicily, Calabria and Venice refused to enter Mani, saying that they would rather face cannon fire than a Maniot. The last vendetta on record required the Greek Army with artillery support to force it to a stop. Regardless of this, the Maniot Greeks still practice vendettas even today, even Maniots in America, Australia, Canada and Corsica in France still have on-going vendettas which have led to the creation of Mafia families known as "Γδικομέοι" (Gdikiomeoi).
The Basque Country in the Late Middle Ages was ravaged by bitter partisan wars between local ruling families. In Navarre, these conflicts became polarised in a violent struggle between the Agramont and Beaumont parties. In Biscay, the two major warring factions were named Oinaz and Gamboa. (Cf. the Guelphs and Ghibellines in Italy). High defensive structures ("towers") built by local noble families, few of which survive today, were frequently razed by fires, sometimes by royal decree.
Leontiy Lyulye, an expert on conditions in the Caucasus, wrote in the mid-19th century: "Among the mountain people the blood feud is not an uncontrollable permanent feeling such as the vendetta is among the Corsicans. It is more like an obligation imposed by the public opinion." In the Dagestani aul Kadar, one such blood feud between two antagonistic clans lasted for nearly 260 years, from the 17th century till the 1860s.
An alternative to feud was blood money (or weregild in the Norse culture), which demanded payment of some kind from those responsible for a wrongful death (even an accidental one). If these payments were not made or were refused by the offended party, a blood feud would ensue.
Vendetta in modern times
Vendetta is reputedly still practiced in some areas in France (especially Corsica), Italy (especially Sicily, Sardinia, Campania, Calabria, Apulia and other areas of Southern Italy), in Mani and Crete (Greece), among Kurdish clans in Iraq and Turkey, in northern Albania, among Pashtuns in Afghanistan , among Somali clans, among the Berbers of Algeria, over land in Nigeria, in India, between rival tribes in the north-east Indian state of Assam, among rival clans in China and Philippines, among the Arab Bedouins and Arab tribes inhabiting the mountains of Yemen and between Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq, in southern Ethiopia, among the highland tribes of New Guinea, in Svaneti, in the mountainous areas of Dagestan, many northern areas of Georgia and Azerbaijan, a number of republics of the northern Caucasus and essentially among Chechen teips where those seeking retribution do not accept or respect the local law enforcement authority. Vendettas are generally abetted by a perceived or actual indifference on the part of local law enforcement.
In Albania, the blood feud has returned in rural areas after more than 40 years of being abolished by Albanian communists led by Enver Hoxha. More than 5,500 Albanian families are currently engaged in blood feuds. There are now more than 20,000 men and boys who live under an ever-present death sentence because of blood feuds. Since 1992, at least 10,000 Albanians have been killed due to blood feuds.
Mutual vendetta may develop into a vicious circle of further killings, retaliation, counterattacks, and all-out warfare that can end in the mutual extinction of both families. Often the original cause is forgotten, and feuds continue simply because it is perceived that there has always been a feud.
There is a scene in The Godfather, in which Michael Corleone, hiding from U.S. police in Sicily, walks through a village with his two bodyguards. Michael asks, "Where are all the men?" The bodyguard replies, "They're all dead from vendettas."
Family and clan feuds, known locally as rido, are characterized by sporadic outbursts of retaliatory violence between families and kinship groups, as well as between communities. It can occur in areas where the government or a central authority is weak as well as in areas where there is a perceived lack of justice and security. Rido is a Maranao term commonly used in Mindanao to refer to clan feuds. It is considered one of the major problems in Mindanao because apart from numerous casualties, rido has caused destruction of property, crippled the local economy, and displaced families.
Located in the southern Philippines, Mindanao is home to a majority of the country’s Muslim community and includes the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Mindanao is a region suffering from poor infrastructure, high poverty rates, and violence that has claimed the lives of more than 120,000 people in the last three decades. There is a widely held stereotype that the violence is perpetrated by armed groups that resort to terrorism to further their political goals, but the actual situation is far more complex. While the Muslim-Christian conflict and the state-rebel conflicts dominate popular perceptions and media attention, a survey commissioned by The Asia Foundation in 2002 and further verified by a recent Social Weather Stations survey revealed that citizens are more concerned about the prevalence of rido and its negative impact on their communities than the conflict between the state and rebel groups. The unfortunate interaction and subsequent confusion of rido-based violence with secessionism, communist insurgency, banditry, military involvement and other forms of armed violence shows that violence in Mindanao is more complicated than what is commonly believed.
Rido has wider implications for conflict in Mindanao primarily because it tends to interact in unfortunate ways with separatist conflict and other forms of armed violence. Many armed confrontations in the past involving insurgent groups and the military were triggered by a local rido. The studies cited below investigated the dynamics of rido with the intention of helping design strategic interventions to address such conflicts.
The causes of rido are varied and may be further complicated by a society’s concept of honor and shame, an integral aspect of the social rules that determine accepted practices in the affected communities. The trigger of conflicts range from petty offenses, such as theft and jesting, to more serious crimes, like homicide. These are further aggravated by land disputes and political rivalries, the most common causes of rido. Proliferation of firearms, lack of law enforcement and credible mediators in conflict-prone areas, and an inefficient justice system further contribute to instances of rido.
Studies on rido have documented a total of 1,266 rido cases between the 1930s and 2005, which have killed over 5,500 people and displaced thousands. The four provinces with the highest numbers of rido incidences are: Lanao del Sur (377), Maguindanao (218), Lanao del Norte (164), and Sulu (145). Incidences in these four provinces account for 71% of the total documented cases. The findings also show a steady rise in rido conflicts in the eleven provinces surveyed from the 1980s to 2004. According to the studies, during 2002-2004, 50% (637 cases) of total rido incidences occurred, equaling about 127 new rido cases per year. Out of the total number of rido cases documented, 64% remain unresolved.
Rido conflicts are either resolved, unresolved, or reoccur. Although the majority of these cases remain unresolved, there have been many resolutions through different conflict-resolving bodies and mechanisms. These cases utilize the formal procedures of the Philippine government and/or the various indigenous systems. Formal methods may involve official courts, local government officials, police, and the military. Indigenous methods to resolve conflicts usually involve elder leaders who use local knowledge, beliefs, and practices, as well as their own personal influence, to help repair and restore damaged relationships. Some cases using this approach involve the payment of blood money to resolve the conflict. Hybrid mechanisms include the collaboration of government, religious, and traditional leaders in resolving conflicts through the formation of collaborative groups. Furthermore, the institutionalization of traditional conflict resolution processes into laws and ordinances has been successful with the hybrid method approach. Other conflict-resolution methods include the establishment of ceasefires and the intervention of youth organizations.
Famous blood feuds
- Njál's saga, an Icelandic account of a Norse blood feud (960-1020; Norway, Ireland and Iceland)
- The Percy–Neville feud (1450s; England)
- The Wars of the Roses (1455–1487; England)
- The Campbell–MacDonald feud, including the Massacre of Glencoe (1692; Scotland)
- The Battle of the North Inch, Michaelmas, 1396, Scotland; the battle is fictionalised in the novel The Fair Maid of Perth by Sir Walter Scott
- The Donnelly–Biddulph community feud (1857–1880; Ontario, Canada)
- The Lincoln County War (1878–1881; New Mexico, USA)
- The Clanton/McLaury–Earp feud (see also Earp Vendetta Ride), also known as the "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" (1881; Arizona, USA)
- The Hatfield–McCoy feud (1878–1891; West Virginia & Kentucky, USA)
- The Pleasant Valley War, also known as the "Tonto Basin Feud" (1882–1892; Arizona, USA)
- The Capone–Moran feud, including the St. Valentine's Day massacre (1925–1930; Chicago, Illinois, USA)
- The Castellammarese War (1929–1931; New York City, USA)
- The Gunn–Keith feud (1464-1978; Scotland)
- The Talbot–Berkeley feud (1455–1485; England) (concurrent with the War of the roses)
- The Great Mafia War (1981–1983; Sicily, Italy)
- The Feud of Scampia (2004–2005; Naples, Italy)
- The Maguindanao Massacre (2009; Ampatuan, Philippines)
Fictional blood feuds
- The Interlopers a short story by Saki, is a multi-generational feud between the families of Georg Znaeym and Ulrich von Gradwitz.
- The Atreides–Harkonnen feud from Frank Herbert's Dune (novel)
- A Viking blood feud is the pivotal plot device of Rosemary Sutcliff's 1976 historical novel Blood Feud.
- The Corleone–Tattaglia feud from Mario Puzo's The Godfather
- The Montague–Capulet feud, from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
- The Grangerford–Shepherdson feud, from Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn.
- The Barnes–Ewing feud, from the soap opera Dallas
- The Kryeqyqe–Berisha feud, from Ismail Kadare's novel, Broken April
- The DiMera–Brady feud, from the soap opera Days of our Lives
- The Karahasan–Mitrevski feud, from the movie Odmazda ("Vengeance"), a multi-generational feud between a Turkish and Slav-Macedonian family.
- The Pollock–Maugg feud, from the computer role-playing game Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura.
- The Heathcliff–Linton family feud from Wuthering Heights
- The Robinson-Ramsay family feud from Australian soap Neighbours
- The vampires and lycans (werewolves) war - literally a blood feud because of the nature of the creatures' origins - from the movie Underworld and its sequels.
- The Jets and Sharks gang rivalry from West Side Story
- Black Donnellys
- Rido (Philippines)
- San Luca feud
- Bedouin blood feud
- Scottish clan
- Punti-Hakka Clan Wars
- Crow Creek massacre
- Gjakmarrja (Albanian blood feuds)
- List of famous duels
- Griffiths, John Gwyn (1991), Divine Verdict: A Study of Divine Judgement in the Ancient Religions, BRILL, p. 90, ISBN 900409231
- Metzger, Bruce M.; Coogan, Michael D. (1993), The Oxford Companion to the Bible, Oxford University Press, p. 68, ISBN 0195046455
- Malcolm Gladwell, "Outliers" (2008), Chapter 6, citing, for example, David Hackett Fischer, "Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America")
- At the root of the political power eventually gained by the factions was the fact that from the mid-fifth century the making of an emperor required that he should be acclaimed by the people (Liebeschuetz, The Decline of the Roman City, 211).
- McComb, Sports in World History, 25
- Maximilian I
- The State of the Estates
- Keeley: War before civilization: The myth of the peaceful savage
- "Wanderings in Corsica: its history and its heroes". Ferdinand Gregorovius (1855). p.196.
- Chechen society and mentality, Dr. Emil Souleimanov
- Police search Calabrian village as murders are linked to clan feud, The Independent
- Feud Between Kurdish Clans Creates Its Own War, New York Times
- In Turkey, a lone peacemaker ends many blood feuds, csmonitor.com
- Kurdish Families - Kurdish Marriage Patterns
- "Independent Appeal: The Afghan peace mission"
- Somali feuding 'tit-for-tat', News24
- Anthony Wilkin, Among the Berbers of Algeria, (T. F. Unwin: 1900), p.253
- Nigeria deploys troops after 14 killed in land feud, Reuters
- Thousands flee Assam tribal feud, BBC News
- Clan Feuds, an Old Problem, Are Still Threatening Chinese, New York Times
- Clan feuds fuel separatist violence in Philippines, study shows, International Herald Tribune
- 'In the Land of the Blood Feuds', The Washington Post
- Tribe - Nyangatom, BBC
- No guns at Ethiopian peace talks, BBC News
- Deadly twist to PNG's tribal feuds, BBC News
- Yemen Country Study
- Peacemaker breaks the ancient grip of Albania's blood feuds, csmonitor.com, June 24, 2008
- Gang mayhem grips LA, The Observer
- Torres, Wilfredo M (ed). 2007. “Rido: Clan Feuding and Conflict Management in Mindanao.” Makati: The Asia Foundation.
- Jonas Grutzpalk: Blood Feud and Modernity. Max Weber's and Émile Durkheim's Theory. In: Journal of Classical Sociology 2 (2002); p. 115–134.
- Kreuzer, Peter. 2005. “Political Clans and Violence in the Southern Mindanao.” Frankfurt: Peace Research Institute Frankfurt. <http://www.hsfk.de/downloads/PRIF-71.pdf>
- Torres, Wilfredo M (ed). 2007. “Rido: Clan Feuding and Conflict Management in Mindanao.” Makati: The Asia Foundation. <http://ridomap.com/downloads/rido_full_text.pdf>
- Torres, Wilfredo M. (2010); “Letting A Thousand Flowers Bloom: Clan Conflicts and their Management.” From the Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network (ADRRN) publication Challenges to Human Security in Complex Situations: The Case of Conflict in the Southern Philippines. <http://www.adrrn.net/recentupdates/Challenges%20to%20Human%20Security%20in%20Complex.pdf>
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- BBC: In pictures: Egypt vendetta ends May, 2005, One of the most enduring and bloody family feuds of modern times in Upper Egypt has ended with a tense ceremony of humiliation and forgiveness. Police are very edgy. After lengthy peace talks, no one knows if the penance—and a large payment of blood money—will end the vendetta which began in 1991 with a children's fight.
- Blood feud in Caucasus
- Blood feuds tearing Gaza apart
- Albania: Feuding families…bitter lives
- Blood feuds blight Albanian lives
- Thousands fear as blood feuds sweep Albania
- Blood feud in Medjugorje, 1991-1992
- Chad: Clan Feuds Creating Tinderbox of Conflict
- Tribal Warfare and Blood Revenge
- Iraq's death squads: On the brink of civil war
- Bedouin family feud
- A "Yakuza War" has started in Central Tokyo
- Gangs clash in Nigerian oil city
- NZ authorities fear retaliatory attacks between rival gangs
- Gang mayhem grips LA
- Mafia feuds bring bloodshed to Naples' streets
- Blood in the Streets: Subculture of Violence
- Mexico drugs cartels feud erupts
- State Attorney: Problems Posed By Haitian Gangs Growing
- Calabrian clan feud suspected in slayings
- Violent ethnic war looms between Filipino and Vietnamese gangs
- Tribal warfare kills nine in Indonesia's Papua
- Crow Creek Massacre
- BBC News, July 2008 - Family Feud in Ireland Involves 200 rioters
- Maratabat and the Maranaos, From the blog of Datu Jamal Ashley Yahya Abbas, “Reflections on the Bangsa Moro.” Posted 1 May 2007.
- Rido and its Influence on the Academe, NGOs and the Military, An essay from the website of the Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. Posted on 28 February 2007.
- 2 clans in Matanog settle rido, sign peace pact, From the MindaNews website. Posted on 30 January 2008.
- Villages in “rido” area return home, From the MindaNews website. Posted on 1 November 2007.
- 15 clan feuds settled in Lanao; rido tops cause of evacuation more than war, From the MindaNews website. Posted on 13 July 2007.
- ’Rido’ seen major Mindanao security concern, From the Inquirer website. Posted on 17 November 2006.
- Children as teacher-facilitators for peace, from the Inquirer website. Posted on 29 September 2007.
- Rido, From The Asia Foundation Rido Map website.
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