This book is about understanding how former combatants come home after war, and how their political lives are refracted by the war and the experience of coming home itself. In particular, it captures the political mobilization among former combatants as they come home from three very different types of war: civil war (Colombia), war of independence (Namibia), and interstate war (United States involvement in the Vietnam War). The book provides a much-needed long-term perspective on peace. It also demonstrates the artificial division between literatures across the Global North and Global South, and demonstrates how these literatures speak to each other just as the three cases speak to each other. The novel use of interviews to document life histories and the inside perspective they provide also give a unique insight into the former combatants’ own perspectives on the process of coming home and their sense of political voice. This book is not about peacebuilding in the sense of interventions. Rather, it examines peace as a process through studying the lived experiences of individuals, displaying the dynamics of political mobilization after disarmament across time in the lives of fifty former combatants. The book demonstrates how the process of coming home shapes their political commitment and identity, and how the legacy of war is a powerful reminder in the lives of these former combatants long after the end of the war.
types of former combatants from Colombia (civil war), Namibia (warofindependence), and the United States (interstate war). Interviews were conducted with independence fighters from the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN)/South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) who participated in the NamibianWarofIndependence (1966–90);
with guerrillas from Movimiento 19 de Abril (M-19) who joined the ongoing guerilla warfare conducted against the Colombian state (1974–90); and with veterans from the United
what would happen. In exile, when I went back to the camp, I had that gun that I could always get, … it gave me a certain level of security, now here you know that you are coming back. So it was a little bit scary but it was also a moment which, one has to take a risk, and if you don't take risks then nothing can actually happen … and then what? (N6)
Some had joined the NamibianWarofIndependence even though they were not Namibian to begin with, and so when the war ended, they
that were meant for their reintegration program. When they heard how the UN was supporting other reintegration programs relating to other conflicts since the NamibianWarofIndependence, a few believed they were being cheated. Peter (N10) was one such individual; he questioned whether the resettlement and reintegration segments were carried out properly, as he could see many of his fellow combatants suffering. Sackaria (N12) described their lobbying for veterans’ issues as apolitical, as they were only asking for their rights and for money. These veterans’ desire to