Violence of the Name: How Naming the M23 Rebel Has Perpetrated Violence in the Eastern Congo
AbstractThis paper seeks to give a background and context to the emergence of the M23 rebel group in the eastern Kivu region of the DRC. I use primarily the work of social theorist Judith Butler to critically unpack the M23s existence and examine the reasons behind the perpetuation of the Kivu conflict. I argue that the concept of naming the M23 as a rebel group drastically limits policy approaches that seek to end the violence in that the label of rebel implicates the designated actors as illegitimate and irrational soldiers. With the M23 relegated to a realm of illegality, and essentially not taken seriously, policy makers overlook crucial factors when attempting to address this conflict. I focus on one factor in particular: the rationale behind many DRC actors, like the M23, using violence as a means to survive amidst a perpetual condition of violence. This context deserves ample recognition in the pursuit of peace in the Kivu region.
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