Veterans as kin: the social afterlife of a defeated liberation movement in Dhofar, southern Oman
(University of Sussex)
Paper short abstract:
This paper examines how veterans of the defeated liberation movement formerly active in Dhofar, southern Oman, use kinship – births, marriages and deaths – as a realm through which they may reproduce themselves as a social (if not political) group.
Paper long abstract:
Veterans of nation-forming wars are often assigned specific positions in public discourse: from national heroes (in the case of those associated with winning sides), to public and philanthropical demilitarization programs, to a conspicuous absence in the public domain (in the case of those associated with losing sides). Such public presences (or absences) may nevertheless run in parallel to intimate and private spheres of legacies of such wars. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork with families connected to the defeated liberation movement formerly active in Dhofar, southern Oman, this paper examines how despite official silence about the war, veterans have used the realm of kinship - births, marriages and deaths - as a realm through which they may reproduce themselves as a social (if not political) group. In the light of such an intimate legacy of a liberation war, the question of when and how a revolutionary movement is over emerges as highly ambiguous.
Veterans of liberation wars and counter-insurgencies: negotiating loss, integration, memory and trauma