Writing in Peace Review, Lotje de Fries and Mareike Schomerus explore the impact of South Sudan's civil war and examine the prospects for lasting peace. The authors ask: how should we understand the paradox of a signed deal and talks of reconciliation on the one hand, and an ever-deteriorating situation on the other? And how are citizens experiencing this contradiction?
They argue that what will help make South Sudan peaceful is finding ways to deal with local conflicts and allowing the expression of multilayered grievances of many different groups and individuals. Peacemaking interventions need to shift from trying to save a largely dead power-sharing deal. Instead it is necessary to look at how people affected by conflicts imagine new ways of managing their relationships outside the framework of an elite-led or ethnic civil war. Only a peace process that considers the many different groups, lived experiences, and shared grievances can deliver the peace that South Sudan needs.