Shadows of War, Violence, Power, and International Profiteering in the Twenty-First Century


(California Series in Public Anthropology, 10) Carolyn Nordstrom - Shadows of War_ Violence, Power, and International Profiteering in the Twenty-First Century-University of California Press (2004)


In 1996 when I was traveling in Southern Africa for a year and a half, I began a novel about a young war orphan. The first page opened by saying that the story was true, but the only way to tell a true war story was in fiction. The novel allowed me to write down what academia had few solutions for: writing real stories of real people without getting them, or me, into danger. In the intervening years, academia has become more open to writing that requires special sensitivities and responsibilities, and I have become more practiced in telling a war story without giving the proverbial “name, rank, and serial number.”

My acknowledgments are thus more important, and more difficult, as I cannot directly thank in print most of those who made this book possible. This book is about warzones and illicit economies: my fieldwork is populated with the hopeful and the hopeless, torture victims and torturers, rogues and thieves, smugglers and heroes, the terrified and the powerful. Most do not want their names in print.

These people sat down and opened their homes and their lives to me, shared their ideas and their food, and trusted me with their stories. This book chronicles many of them, sans names. Many went out of their way to tell me their stories. The autobiography of a man called Peace in this book is a good example.

Peace came up to me one day on the road and asked me for a camera. I first met Peace when he was a youth on the streets, but did not know him well. Now he was a full-grown man who looked as hard as the streets on which he slept.

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