Year 2015 marked the tenth anniversary of the peace process signed between the Government of Indonesia and Aceh Independence Movement, facilitated by the former president of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari. Evaluated against several indicators, Aceh peace process appears to be successful: the Indonesian army has withdrawn its troops in accordance with the treaty, combatants were disarmed, demobilised and many have successfully turned into politics and business. The province has successfully held three elections (2006, 2009, 2014).
Yet, when the perspective is turned away from state security and absence of violence towards human security: experienced security, non-discrimination, equality and wellbeing, the story becomes more complex and worrying. This street ethnographic research in Banda Aceh draws attention to the silenced experiences of the peace process, personal narratives that contest the concept of an Aceh that ‘is built back better’. It offers insights into the relations of power and the potential structures of violence that are embedded in the aftermath: layered exiles and displacement; hidden narratives of violence and grief; struggles over gendered expectations of being a good and respectable woman and man; the hierarchical political economy of post-conflict and tsunami reconstruction; and multiple ways of arranging lives and remembrance, cherishing loved ones and forming caring and loving relationships outside the normative notions of nuclear family and home.
The year 2015 also marked the 15th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 ‘Women, Peace and Security’. This year the UN will evaluate at the global level how well the UN member states have implemented the core values of the resolution: inclusion of women into peacebuilding and analysing the gendered impacts of armed conflicts in the post-conflict reconstruction. With the focus on untold stories of the peace, we hope to contribute to the critical rethinking of the ways of making peace.
RESEARCHER: MARJAANA JAUHOLA / marjaana.jauhola(at)helsinki.fi / TWITTER: @mjauhola / marjaanajauhola.wordpress.com