chapter  1
31 Pages

Introduction: Reconciling Indonesia


Reconciling Indonesia explores grassroots initiatives for reconciliation, thus going beyond established notions of reconciliation pivoting on state actions and political and legal approaches. Recent large-scale conflicts in various parts of the world have given rise to a ‘reconciliation toolkit’ of truth commissions and law enforcement, justice and human rights, forgiveness and amnesty. These mechanisms get more and more internationalized and are supposed to be the means not only to stop conflict and violence, but also to reconcile warring parties and create sustainable peace. But as studies on conflict and conflict resolution worldwide show, there is no such thing as a blueprint for reconciliation and some scholars warn against an unreflexive standardization of comparative models.1 Reconciliation means different things to different people in different circumstances. Reconciling Indonesia is not about reconciling Indonesia as an entity. Reconciliation is a multidimensional process that takes place on different levels: interpersonal, between individuals and communities, among communities, between communities and the state, among states, and, what is so far hardly considered in the relevant literature, between the human and the non-human world that share a common cosmology. The often limited success of such standardized mechanisms requires the exploration of other means for reconciliation that take grassroots agencies – the agency of civil society groups, the common people and their immediate local representatives – and the sociocultural contextualization of conflict and reconciliation into account; in other words, reconciliation from below.