chapter
Introduction
Pages 14

Political violence is one of the great scourges of the world. For some of us, it was and is the leitmotif of our lives, punctuated by bombing, shooting, loss of life, devastation and militarisation of the environment in which we live, but also by fear, hatred, loss, grief, anger and despair, divided communities and families. Yet for others, political violence is sometimes a career, handed down from father to son, either in standing state armies or in militias, through which status and respect can be achieved as a defender of the community. Yet others see political violence and the armaments it involves as a business opportunity, or the reconstruction that follows as a chance to invest, make money in re-building the physical environment. For many political actors, combatants, policy-makers and elite decision-makers, it is one of a range of methods of intervention, and deployment is a decision that brings with it the burden of responsibility for the lives of others and the moral dilemmas of risking those lives alongside the imperative to act and be seen to act in robust defence of one’s constituents.