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4 - ‘Am I an Animal?’

Identity, Rules and Loss in the Lord’s Resistance Army

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 April 2021

Mareike Schomerus
Affiliation:
Overseas Development Institute
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Summary

This chapter uses the broken, fragmented and very personal views of Lord’s Resistance Army/Movement (LRA/M) members collected during the Juba Peace Talks to show why individuals within the LRA/M embraced the notion of peace with ambiguity. Personal stories give an insight into how LRA/M members experience the day-to-day realities of their often-shifting identities, expressing an ambiguity vis-à-vis being an actor in war and in peace. Some of this ambiguity stems from the history of the conflict. That peace is ambiguous, for LRA/M members question a range of common notions in scholarship and practice, where often an unquestioned assumption persists that conflict actors ultimately are willing to sacrifice their own position for peace. This assumption fails to capture the experience of the LRA/M in the peace talks. The chapter asks the broader question of how to reconcile the pursuit of change through a peace process with the individual loss of status, control and power. While communal benefits of peace might be clear, for individuals recasting themselves in a peace process that continues to work along entrenched power dynamics means loss of status and power in a system where power relations remain unchanged.

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The Lord's Resistance Army
Violence and Peacemaking in Africa
, pp. 111 - 135
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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