In this brief text I want to offer a personal reflection on my work as a former Commissioner in Colombia’s Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-repetition. What is of interest to me is the idea that truth-seeking commission models are complex “listening devices” that render certain forms of violence intelligible while other more systemic types, remain elusive. In contexts of deeply rooted historical and endemic racial and economic inequalities, this is not a minor issue as these material inequalities are at the heart of conflict itself. In fact, what I call the “transitional promise of transformation” often falls short of changing the structures of quotidian experience of people and communities scarred by such historical injuries. Rather, those “transformations” are deferred to a future “liberal peace building” or development-oriented agenda. I examine this way of listening through a particular theoretical lens and aspire not only to contribute with an empathic and a reflexive distance from our work as a Commission but also to posit wider questions.