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International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda

Berghahn BooksTo mark International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda on 7 April, we’re offering FREE access to these relevant journal articles from Conflict and Society, Focaal, Journeys, and Social Analysis until April 14. 

From the UN website:

On 26 January 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted draft resolution A/72/L.31, designating 7 April as the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, recalling that Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were also killed. The new resolution amends the title of the annual observance, which was originally established on 23 December 2003 (A/RES/58/234) as International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda.

The date, 7 April, marks the start of the 1994 genocide. Every year, on or around that date, the United Nations organizes commemorative events at its Headquarters in New York and at United Nations offices around the world.

 


 

Rwandan Women No More: Female Génocidaires in the Aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide

Erin Jessee
Conflict and Society (Vol. 1)

Since the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the current government has arrested approximately 130,000 civilians who were suspected of criminal responsibility. An estimated 2,000 were women, a cohort that remains rarely researched through an ethnographic lens. This article begins to address this oversight by analyzing ethnographic encounters with 8 confessed or convicted female génocidaires from around Rwanda. These encounters reveal that female génocidaires believe they endure gender-based discrimination for having violated taboos that determine appropriate conduct for Rwandan women. However, only female génocidaires with minimal education, wealth, and social capital referenced this gender-based discrimination to minimize their crimes and assert claims of victimization. Conversely, female elites who helped incite the genocide framed their victimization in terms of political betrayal and victor’s justice. This difference is likely informed by the female elites’ participation in the political processes that made the genocide possible, as well as historical precedence for leniency where female elites are concerned.

 

 

“There Was No Genocide in Rwanda”: History, Politics, and Exile Identity among Rwandan Rebels in the Eastern Congo Conflict

Anna Hedlund

Conflict and Society (Vol. 1)

This article analyzes how the 1994 genocide in Rwanda is recalled and described by members of a Hutu rebel group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) whose leadership can be linked to the 1994 atrocities in Rwanda. The article explores how individuals belonging to this rebel group, currently operating in the eastern territories of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), articulate, contest, and oppose the dominant narrative of the Rwandan genocide. Based on ethnographic fieldwork with members of the FDLR in a rebel camp, this article shows how a community of exiled fighters and second-generation Hutu refugees contest the official version of genocide by constructing a counterhistory of it. Through organized practices such as political demonstrations and military performances, it further shows how political ideologies and violence are being manufactured and reproduced within a setting of military control.

 

 

Ethnicity without labels?: Ambiguity and excess in “postethnic” Rwanda

Laura Eramian

Focaal (Issue 70)

Following the 1994 genocide, the government of Rwanda embarked on a “deethnicization” campaign to outlaw Tutsi, Hutu, and Twa labels and replace them with a pan-Rwandan national identity. Since then, to use ethnic labels means risking accusations of “divisionism” or perpetuating ethnic schisms. Based on one year of ethnographic fieldwork in the university town of Butare, I argue that the absence of ethnic labels produces practical interpretive problems for Rwandans because of the excess of possible ways of interpreting what people mean when they evaluate each other’s conduct in everyday talk. I trace the historical entanglement of ethnicity with class, rural/urban, occupational, and moral distinctions such that the content of ethnic stereotypes can be evoked even without ethnic labels. In so doing, I aim to enrich understandings of both the power and danger inherent in the ambiguous place of ethnicity in Rwanda’s “postethnic” moment.

 

 

Visiting Rwanda: Accounts of Genocide in Travel Writing

Rachel Moffat

Journeys (Vol. 11, Issue 1)

The massacre sites of Rwanda have become, like Auschwitz or Ground Zero, forms of museums preserved in remembrance. In 1995, Philip Gourevitch traveled to Rwanda to see them, explaining that he wanted to gain some understanding of the recent atrocities. Gourevitch forces himself to look because this enables him to present a detailed journalistic account but, more uncomfortably, he is satisfying his own curiosity, as tourists do. Dervla Murphy’s Visiting Rwanda (1998) is a similarly intense account of time spent with NGOs, visiting survivors, and hearing excruciating accounts of the genocide. Such graphic accounts of time spent in a war zone raise issues concerning curiosity about death and sites of atrocity. The writers must address the issue of the extent of their own curiosity and also demonstrate that they have a reason to publish such sensitive matter. Gourevitch and Murphy, therefore, must be aware of a difficult paradox in their work: the intensity of events represented in their narratives makes their accounts more pressing but, as a result, they may be said to profit from the conflict.

 

 

Kings or Presidents?: War and the State in Pre- and Post-Genocidal Rwanda

Christopher C. Taylor

Social Analysis (Vol. 48, Issue 1)

For theorists of the state and war inspired by Michel Foucault, the central issue is power. For Foucault there is no individual subject constructed in the absence of power, and no social institution that does not bear the imprint of historical struggles over power (Foucault 1979). With power so pervasively infusing human experience, there appears to be little need of talking about anything else. Power is everywhere. History is the chronicle of the struggle for power among individuals and groups. Taken to its logical conclusion, this perspective on human social life ends up sounding very much like the Hobbesian “war of each against all” (cf. Sahlins 2000).