Gyda M. Sindre of the Politics After War network presented her paper at the conference ‘UN Genocide Convention at Seventy: The Politics of Mass Atrocity Prevention’ on 6-7 September 2018. Gyda M. Sindre’s paper explores how former non-state perpetrators of (mass-)violence relate to this aspect of their past after war has ended.
This international interdisciplinary conference is organised by the Norwegian Holocaust Center in Oslo. One of our members, Ellen Stensrud, was responsible for organising this conference. For more information on the paper and the conference, visit here.
You can watch the first day of the conference here (Gyda Sindre from 4:42:10).
A new post-war rhetoric by former armed groups? The strategic choice of remembering versus forgetting the past (Gyda M. Sindre)
How do former non-state perpetrators of (mass-)violence relate to this aspect of their past after war has ended? As former non-state armed groups become political parties and mobilize for voter support, how they relate to this aspect of their past is important for long-term reconciliation and conflict resolution. Recent scholarship has shown that the inclusion of former armed groups into politics impacts positively on stability following the end of civil war (Ishiyama and Marshall 2017) and that their electoral participation creates internal incentives for continued commitment to peace settlements (Sindre 2016, Manning and Smith 2016). The study of memory politics has equally highlighted the significance of selective silencing for contemporary nation-building in post-civil war states. Less attention has been devoted to the comparative studies of elite discourses across contexts. This paper compares the official discourses of former rebel parties in Bosnia Herzegovina and Indonesia, probing the question of whether and how former armed actors abandon or reinvent their political purpose as political parties and the role that mass violence plays into that. The comparison finds that there is an inherent contradiction that these parties face that concern their choice of mobilizing around conflict cleavage issues (i.e. remembering and blaming) and new peacebuilding issues (i.e. forgetting and rebranding) that contribute to shaping the political field for decades after war has ended.