Official and Unrecognized Narratives of Recovery in Post Conflict Aceh, Indonesia
Author: Jesse Hession Grayman
Anthropological analyses of post conflict narratives reveal how strategic interests mobilize to resolve or perpetuate conflict. Three years after the 2005 Helsinki peace agreement between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) that ended GAM’s thirty-year separatist rebellion, the author led a post conflict programming evaluation. Drawing upon qualitative interviews of rural informants for this study and using an anthropological approach to narrative analysis, this article argues that recovery narratives can be understood in terms of official and counter-official discourses, each utilizing strategic resources to amplify their interpretation of an unfolding peace process. Subaltern narratives heard most clearly are empowered because they adhere to narrative conventions proscribed by the peace agreement and other powerful discourses such as GAM’s separatist ideology. Other unrecognized voices are left out; their stories of recovery resist easy interpretation and sidestep clichéd narratives of peace.