Coming home and living peace?
in Living politics after war
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This chapter portrays the former combatants’ understanding of their process of coming home, which has been ongoing for on average twenty-four years (M-19), twenty-eight years (SWAPO), and forty-two years (Vietnam veterans in the USA), respectively. Many reveal a range of challenges which faced them as they came home, as they were trying to catch up with their own lives. But they also faced family relations in need of mending, mental and physical health issues, and concerns about their own security, some of which became exacerbated over time. The chapter also details how they make meaning of peace, as a way to understand the transition these individuals embarked upon. Coming home is not a process which is limited in time. Rather, for many this is seen as an ongoing process, and some even expressed a sense of being stuck in that process many years later. The war and the time after war are experiences which carry over, and are not always easily separated. What is clear is that while coming home is a watershed moment, it is also extended in time and is an ongoing process several decades after the end of the war. This combination of a rupture and an ongoing process is important for the way in which the life of politics is formulated for these former combatants. Hence, in this book “coming home” refers not only to the immediate process following war but also this drawn out process of continually reinterpreting these experiences throughout their lives.

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