The Identity Politics of Peacebuilding: Civil Society in War-torn Sri Lanka
Publication Year: 2008
The Identity Politics of Peace Building looks at civil society and peace movements in the context of the identity-based armed conflict(s) in Sri Lanka. It focuses specifically on the identity politics implied in attempts at mobilizing a movement for peace and shows why civil society groups engaging in ‘peace work’ often fail to increase the sense of security among civilians, and to challenge the underlying structures of war.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- Chapter 2: What can Civil Society do for Peace? Theoretical Debates and Dilemmas
- Chapter 3: Dealing with Identity in Peace Work
- Chapter 4: Identity and Violent Conflict in Sri Lanka
- Chapter 5: A Movement for Peace?
- Chapter 6: Civil Society Peace Work: Does it Matter?
- Chapter 7: Peaceful Identities?
- Chapter 8: Conclusions
Copyright © Camilla Orjuela, 2008
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilised in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
First published in 2008 by
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The identity politics of peacebuilding: civil society in war-torn Sri Lanka/by Camilla Orjuela.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Civil society—Sri Lanka. 2. Peacebuilding—Sri Lanka. 3. Sri Lanka—Ethnic relations. 4. Non-governmental organisations—Sri Lanka. I. Title.
ISBN: 978-0-7619-3658-9 (HB)
978-81-7829-824-2 (India HB)
The SAGE Team: Elina Majumdar, Maneet Singh, Rajib Chatterjee and Trinankur Banerjee
Note regarding map: The map on page xi has been redrawn from the original by Andrés Orjuela in context to the book only and is not to be scaled.
List of Abbreviations[Page vii]
ADEP Association of Disabled Ex-Service Personnel CBO Community-Based Organisation CPA Centre for Performing Arts CWC Ceylon Workers Congress ICES International Centre for Ethnic Studies ICRC International Committee of the Red Cross IGO International Governmental Organisation INGO International Non-Governmental Organisation IPKF Indian Peace Keeping Forces JVP Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (People's Liberation Front) LTTE Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam MIA Missing in Action MIRJE Movement for Inter-Racial Justice and Equality MP Member of Parliament NGO Non-Governmental Organisation NIPU National Integration Programme Unit NPC National Peace Council PA People's Alliance PLOTE People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam PPF People's Peace Front Rs Sri Lankan Rupees (Rs 100 is equivalent to approximately 1 USD) SLFP Sri Lanka Freedom Party TULF Tamil United Liberation Front UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNICEF United Nations Children's Fund UNP United National Party UTHR-J University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna)
Since I first visited Sri Lanka in 1992, I have been preoccupied with the whys of the ongoing war and the hows of peacemaking. This book is an outcome of a process which has been far larger than that of writing an academic text. There are many things which cannot be captured in a book like this. Among these are the face-to-face meetings with participants in peace demonstrations and seminars, the sleepless nights thinking about what human rights violations really are about, the admirable enthusiasm of leaders who have committed their lives to peace, and all the laughter and grief that I got to share. It has been a privilege to listen, learn, discuss and observe, and to get insight into people's lives and their strivings for peace. With this in mind, the critical approach of this study might seem impolite and troublesome. Who am I to come and ‘problematise’, and to turn the stories and struggles of people who have been living through violent conflict into academic jargon? This book is written in a normative peace research tradition, which sees non-violent conflict resolution as desirable and peace movements and people speaking out against war as hopeful. Indeed, peace work is often considered so hopeful that we tend to ignore the difficulties involved in such work. The war situation itself generates enough problems to keep us busy. Nevertheless, I believe that to be able to promote peace successfully we must also examine and problematise what we do and how we do it, make the dilemmas we encounter explicit and discuss the questions with which we constantly wrestle. Peace work is simply too important not to be critically analysed.
I am deeply thankful to the many individuals I encountered, interviewed and shared sections of my life with, throughout the long research and writing process which led up to this book. What I learnt from them has not only gone into this book, but also into a lifelong engagement and concern for peace in Sri Lanka. Just as a [Page x]book can never satisfactorily capture the complex realities of, and the many perspectives on, war and peacebuilding, my thanks to all those who have contributed to this book will never be complete. I am grateful to a long list of persons for inspiring discussions, creative ideas, careful reading of the manuscript in its various versions, translations, assistance with contacts during fieldwork, housing, warm-hearted hospitality and delicious food, moral support, love and friendship. Although this list is in no way exhaustive, I would like to specially mention and warmly thank: Hans and Kristina Andersson, Ingela Andersson, Dorine Arulanandam, Christine Bigdon, Natalie Birch, Gunilla Blomqvist, Suhada Buhary, Ken Bush, Visaka Dhramadasa and Somenath Parua, Tyrol Ferdinands, Andreas Godsäter, Fr. G. Jagath Premanath, Monica Gunapala and family, Jenny Gustafsson, Malin Hasselskog, Asoka Herath, Dhammika Herath, Björn Hettne, Peter Johansson, Monica Kagdis, Alan Keenan, Drew Lehman, Mona Lilja, Jonas Lindberg, Helena Lindholm Schulz, S.P. Nathan, Joakim Öjendal, Andrés Orjuela, Diego Orjuela, Jehan Perera, Premalatha (Rajitha) and Sam Pratheepan, Senthil Ram, Mahinda and Dhammika Ranjith, Jan Aart Scholte, Michael Schulz, Maria Stern, Stellan Vinthagen and Shanti Nandana Wijesinghe. Special thanks also to the staff of National Peace Council (NPC), leaders and members of Centre for Performing Arts in Trincomalee, Haputale, Alampil, Vavuniya, Jaffna and Colombo, and leaders and members of the Association for Disabled Ex-Service Personnel. Finally, I thank the Research Council of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) for the funding which enabled this research.
Map of Sri Lanka[Page xi]
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About the Author[Page 272]
Camilla Orjuela (PhD) is a peace researcher at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. She has specialised in Sri Lanka studies since the mid-1990s. Her research interests are identity-based conflicts; diaspora politics; the role of civil society in peacebuilding; development assistance; post-war reconstruction; and reconciliation. She also works as a journalist and a development consultant.