To understand the genocide and other dramatic events of Rwanda’s recent past, one must understand the history of the earlier realm. Jan Vansina provides a critique of the history recorded by early missionaries and court historians and provides a bottom-up view, drawing on hundreds of grassroots narratives. He describes the genesis of the Hutu and Tutsi identities, their growing social and political differences, their bitter feuds, revolts, and massacres, and the relevance of this dramatic history to the post-genocide Rwanda of today.
In the aftermath of the genocide, the Rwandan government has attempted to use the education system in order to sustain peace and shape a new generation of Rwandans. Their hope is to create a generation focused on a unified and patriotic future rather than the ethnically divisive past. Yet, the government’s efforts to manipulate global models around citizenship, human rights, and reconciliation to serve its national goals have had mixed results, with new tensions emerging across social groups. Becoming Rwandan argues that although the Rwandan government utilizes global discourses in national policy documents, the way in which teachers and students engage with these global models distorts the intention of the government, resulting in unintended consequences and undermining a sustainable peace.
Case studies from Rwanda and Angola show how the cost of inaction can be greater than the cost of action. Failure to reduce extreme poverty, for example, often results in malnutrition, preventable morbidity, premature death, and incomplete basic education. Differences between the COI approach and traditional benefit-cost analysis are highlighted.
When genocidal violence gripped Rwanda in 1994, the international community recoiled, hastily withdrawing its peacekeepers. Late that year, in an effort to redeem itself, the United Nations Security Council created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to seek accountability for some of the worst atrocities since World War II: the genocide suffered by the Tutsi and crimes against humanity suffered by the Hutu. But faced with competing claims, the prosecution focused exclusively on the crimes of Hutu extremists. No charges would be brought against the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front, which ultimately won control of the country. The UN, as if racked by guilt for its past inaction, gave in to pressure by Rwanda’s new leadership. With the Hutu effectively silenced, and the RPF constantly reminding the international community of its failure to protect the Tutsi during the war, the Tribunal pursued an unusual form of one-sided justice, born out of contrition.
Fascinated by the Tribunal’s rich complexities, journalist Thierry Cruvellier came back day after day to watch the proceedings, spending more time there than any other outside observer. Gradually he gained the confidence of the victims, defendants, lawyers, and judges. Drawing on interviews with these protagonists and his close observations of their interactions, Cruvellier takes readers inside the courtroom to witness the motivations, mechanisms, and manipulations of justice as it unfolded on the stage of high-stakes, global politics. It is this ground-level view that makes his account so valuable—and so absorbing. A must-read for those who want to understand the dynamics of international criminal tribunals, Court of Remorse reveals both the possibilities and the challenges of prosecuting human rights violations.
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A Rwandan proverb says “Defeat is the only bad news.” For Rwandans living under colonial rule, winning called not only for armed confrontation, but also for a battle of wits—and not only with foreigners, but also with each other. In Defeat Is the Only Bad News Alison Des Forges recounts the ambitions, strategies, and intrigues of an African royal court under Yuhi Musinga, the Rwandan ruler from 1896 to 1931. These were turbulent years for Rwanda, when first Germany and then Belgium pursued an aggressive plan of colonization there. At the time of the Europeans’ arrival, Rwanda was also engaged in a succession dispute after the death of one of its most famous kings. Against this backdrop, the Rwandan court became the stage for a drama of Shakespearean proportions, filled with deceit, shrewd calculation, ruthless betrayal, and sometimes murder.
Historians who study European expansion typically focus on interactions between colonizers and colonized; they rarely attend to relations among the different factions inhabiting occupied lands. Des Forges, drawing on oral histories and extensive archival research, reveals how divisions among different groups in Rwanda shaped their responses to colonial governments, missionaries, and traders. Rwandans, she shows, used European resources to extend their power, even as they sought to preserve the autonomy of the royal court. Europeans, for their part, seized on internal divisions to advance their own goals. Des Forges’s vividly narrated history, meticulously edited and introduced by David Newbury, provides a deep context for understanding the Rwandan civil war a century later.
In 1994 the worst episode of genocide since the Holocaust of the Second World War ravaged the Central African country of Rwanda. Derick Burleson lived there and taught at the National University during the two years leading up to the genocide. The poems in this collection explore the cataclysm in a variety of forms and voices through the culture, myths, and customs he absorbed during this time. Ejo, meaning "yesterday and tomorrow" in Kinyarwandan, celebrates in language both lyrical and austere the lives of the friends Burleson made in Rwanda, those who survived to tell their own stories, and those whose voices were silenced.
In April 1994 Rwanda exploded in violence, with political, social, and economic divisions most visible along ethnic lines of the Hutu and Tutsi factions. The ensuing killings resulted in the deaths of as much as 20 percent of Rwanda's population. André Guichaoua, who was present as the genocide began, unfolds a complex story with multiple actors, including three major political parties that each encompassed a spectrum of positions, all reacting to and influencing a rapidly evolving situation. Economic polarities, famine-fueled privation, clientelism, corruption, north-south rivalries, and events in the neighboring nations of Burundi and Uganda all deepened ethnic tensions, allowing extremists to prevail over moderates.
Guichaoua draws on years of meticulous research to describe and analyze this history. He emphasizes that the same virulent controversies that fueled the conflict have often influenced judicial, political, and diplomatic responses to it, reproducing the partisan cleavages between the former belligerents and implicating state actors, international institutions, academics, and the media. Guichaoua insists upon the imperative of absolute intellectual independence in pursuing the truth about some of the gravest human rights violations of the twentieth century.
In the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, Rwandan women faced the impossible—resurrecting their lives amidst unthinkable devastation. Haunted by memories of lost loved ones and of their own experiences of violence, women rebuilt their lives from “less than nothing.” Neither passive victims nor innate peacemakers, they traversed dangerous emotional and political terrain to emerge as leaders in Rwanda today. This clear and engaging ethnography of survival tackles three interrelated phenomena—memory, silence, and justice—and probes the contradictory roles women played in postgenocide reconciliation.
Based on more than a decade of intensive fieldwork, Genocide Lives in Us provides a unique grassroots perspective on a postconflict society. Anthropologist Jennie E. Burnet relates with sensitivity the heart-wrenching survival stories of ordinary Rwandan women and uncovers political and historical themes in their personal narratives. She shows that women’s leading role in Rwanda’s renaissance resulted from several factors: the dire postgenocide situation that forced women into new roles; advocacy by the Rwandan women’s movement; and the inclusion of women in the postgenocide government.
Honorable Mention, Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize, Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association
After the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, victims, perpetrators, and the country as a whole struggled to deal with the legacy of the mass violence. The government responded by creating a new version of a traditional grassroots justice system called gacaca. Bert Ingelaere offers a comprehensive assessment of what these courts set out to do, how they worked, what they achieved, what they did not achieve, and how they affected Rwandan society. Weaving together vivid firsthand recollections, interviews, and trial testimony with systematic analysis, he documents how the gacaca shifted over time from confession to accusation, from restoration to retribution. This is an authoritative account of one of the most important experiments in transitional justice after mass violence.
Rwanda, less than a generation removed from the 1994 Genocide, is experiencing a period of economic ascent and population growth. Its capital city, Kigali, is expected to triple in size within a generation, and positioned to become a premiere hub of commerce in central and eastern Africa.
Amidst this optimism, however, is limited land and material resources. Food security is in tension with environmental concerns, and government aspirations are often in friction with daily, individual struggles for subsistence.
Interpreting Kigali, Rwanda explores the pressing challenges and opportunities to be found in planning, designing, and constructing a healthy, equitable, and sustainable city. Asking “what is an authentic-yet-modern, prosperous-yet-feasible African city, Rwandan city?” Smith, Berlanda, and colleagues conducted research on Rwandan activities of daily living and how these routines are connected to space-making practices and the Kinyarwanda terms that describe them.
Through a culturally informed view of urban and rural lifestyles and spaces, Interpreting Kigali, Rwanda presents principles and proposals for neighborhood development in the challenging context of Kigali’s informal settlements. With one billion people living in informal settlements worldwide, a number expected to double by 2030, the lessons learned in Rwanda provide a complex, fascinating, and urgent study for scholars and practitioners across disciplines and around the world.
In 1935 a fledging government agency embarked on a project to photograph Americans hit hardest by the Great Depression. Over the next eight years, the photographers of the Farm Security Administration captured nearly a quarter-million images of tenant farmers and sharecroppers in the South, migrant workers in California, and laborers in northern industries and urban slums.
Of the roughly one thousand FSA photographs taken in Arkansas, approximately two hundred have been selected for inclusion in this volume. Portraying workers picking cotton for five cents an hour, families evicted from homes for their connection with the Southern Tenant Farmers Union, and the effects of flood and drought that cruelly exacerbated the impact of economic disaster, these remarkable black-and-white images from Ben Shahn, Arthur Rothstein, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Russell Lee, and other acclaimed photographers illustrate the extreme hardships that so many Arkansans endured throughout this era.
These powerful photographs continue to resonate, providing a glimpse of life in Arkansas that will captivate readers as they connect to a shared past.
The horrific tragedies of Central Africa in the 1990s riveted the attention of the world. But these crises did not occur in a historical vacuum. By peering through the mists of the past, the case studies presented in The Land Beyond the Mists illustrate the significant advances to have taken place since decolonization in our understanding of the pre-colonial histories of Rwanda, Burundi, and eastern Congo.
Based on both oral and written sources, these essays are important both for their methods—viewing history from the perspective of local actors—and for their conclusions, which seriously challenge colonial myths about the area.
As the initial US observer, David Rawson participated in the 1993 Rwandan peace talks at Arusha, Tanzania. Later, he served as US ambassador to Rwanda during the last months of the doomed effort to make them hold. Despite the intervention of concerned states in establishing a peace process and the presence of an international mission, UNAMIR, the promise of the Arusha Peace Accords could not be realized. Instead, the downing of Rwandan president Habyarimana’s plane in April 1994 rekindled the civil war and opened the door to genocide.
In Prelude to Genocide, Rawson draws on declassified documents and his own experiences to seek out what went wrong. How did the course of political negotiations in Arusha and party wrangling in Kigali, Rwanda, bring to naught a concentrated international effort to establish peace? And what lessons are there for other international humanitarian interventions? The result is a commanding blend of diplomatic history and analysis that is a milestone read on the Rwandan crisis and on what happens when conflict resolution and diplomacy fall short.
Published in partnership with the ADST-DACOR Diplomats and Diplomacy Series.
In the mid-1990s, civil war and genocide ravaged Rwanda. Since then, the country’s new leadership has undertaken a highly ambitious effort to refashion Rwanda’s politics, economy, and society, and the country’s accomplishments have garnered widespread praise. Remaking Rwanda is the first book to examine Rwanda’s remarkable post-genocide recovery in a comprehensive and critical fashion. By paying close attention to memory politics, human rights, justice, foreign relations, land use, education, and other key social institutions and practices, this volume raises serious concerns about the depth and durability of the country’s reconstruction.
Edited by Scott Straus and Lars Waldorf, Remaking Rwanda brings together experienced scholars and human rights professionals to offer a nuanced, historically informed picture of post-genocide Rwanda—one that reveals powerful continuities with the nation’s past and raises profound questions about its future.
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Laura Apol Michigan State University Press, 2015 Library of Congress PS3601.P64A6 2015 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
A marvelous, moving new collection of poems, Requiem, Rwanda has its roots in 2006, when Laura Apol made her first trip to Rwanda. Apol’s initial goal was to develop, in conjunction with Rwandan and American colleagues, a project using narrative writing to facilitate healing among young survivors of the 1994 genocide. During the time she spent leading workshops, Apol felt moved to write her own poems, and after the writing-for-healing project ended, she returned to Rwanda several times to continue her creative work. The legacy of the genocide—on the people, on the land itself—makes its presence felt in many of the poems. The poems are also accounts of Apol’s relationships with and understandings of people post-genocide—where their stories go, how they reenter their lives, and how a country that has been deeply wounded by its history continues on. These poems don’t shy away from exploring the complications of being a white woman, a Westerner, and a witness in this setting: Apol relates her sense of compassion, privilege, horror, guilt, voyeurism, obligation, and love. This new collection is a rich testimonial to the strength of a nation and its people. The collection includes a closing essay, "Writer as a Witness."
Rwandan Women Rising
Swanee Hunt Duke University Press, 2017 Library of Congress HQ1236.5.R95H86 2017
In the spring of 1994, the tiny African nation of Rwanda was ripped apart by a genocide that left nearly a million dead. Neighbors attacked neighbors. Family members turned against their own. After the violence subsided, Rwanda's women—drawn by the necessity of protecting their families—carved out unlikely new roles for themselves as visionary pioneers creating stability and reconciliation in genocide's wake. Today, 64 percent of the seats in Rwanda's elected house of Parliament are held by women, a number unrivaled by any other nation.
While news of the Rwandan genocide reached all corners of the globe, the nation's recovery and the key role of women are less well known. In Rwandan Women Rising, Swanee Hunt shares the stories of some seventy women—heralded activists and unsung heroes alike—who overcame unfathomable brutality, unrecoverable loss, and unending challenges to rebuild Rwandan society. Hunt, who has worked with women leaders in sixty countries for over two decades, points out that Rwandan women did not seek the limelight or set out to build a movement; rather, they organized around common problems such as health care, housing, and poverty to serve the greater good. Their victories were usually in groups and wide ranging, addressing issues such as rape, equality in marriage, female entrepreneurship, reproductive rights, education for girls, and mental health.
These women's accomplishments provide important lessons for policy makers and activists who are working toward equality elsewhere in Africa and other postconflict societies. Their stories, told in their own words via interviews woven throughout the book, demonstrate that the best way to reduce suffering and to prevent and end conflicts is to elevate the status of women throughout the world.
Though the world was stunned by the horrific massacres of Tutsi by the Hutu majority in Rwanda beginning in April 1994, there has been little coverage of the reprisals that occurred after the Tutsi gained political power. During this time hundreds of thousands of Hutu were systematically hunted and killed. Surviving the Slaughter: The Ordeal of a Rwandan Refugee in Zaire is the eyewitness account of Marie Béatrice Umutesi. She tells of life in the refugee camps in Zaire and her flight across 2000 kilometers on foot. During this forced march, far from the world’s cameras, many Hutu refugees were trampled and murdered. Others died from hunger, exhaustion, and sickness, or simply vanished, ignored by the international community and betrayed by humanitarian organizations. Amidst this brutality, day-to-day suffering, and desperate survival, Umutesi managed to organize the camps to improve the quality of life for women and children.
In this first-hand account of inexplicable brutality, day-to-day suffering, and survival, Marie Béatrice Umutesi sheds light on a backlash of violence that targeted the Hutu refugees of Rwanda after the victory of the Rwandan Patriotic Front in 1994. Umutesi’s documentation of the flight and terror of these years provides the world a veritable account of a history that is still widely unknown. After translations from its original French into three other languages, this important book is available in English for the first time. It is more than a testimony to the lives and humanity lost; it is a call for those politicians, military personnel, and humanitarian organizations responsible for the atrocious crimes—and the devastating silence—to be held accountable.
“Umutesi’s tale, told with honesty and eloquence, is a tribute to the human spirit, a searing indictment of the agents who perpetrated these horrors, and a reproach to those who turned away.”—Catharine Newbury, African Studies Review
“Restores a human dimension that has been lacking in the history of the genocide and massacres in Rwanda.”—Danielle de Lame, African Studies Review
“A vivid account of the grueling nightmare experienced by tens of thousands of Rwandan civilians whom the world had deliberately forsaken. . . . An outstanding call for justice.”—Aloys Habimama, African Studies Review
“A towering work. . . . An epic for our times, a tale to ponder for the lessons it conveys, testimony so powerful and moving that it reaches an unintended literary greatness.”—Jan Vansina, African Studies Review
“Of all the current books and films ten years after the Rwandan genocide, none is more effective than Surviving the Slaughter . . . . This book carries one along, often as if running with the refugees.”—Anne Serafin, Multicultural Review
In this pioneering volume, Robert Skloot brings together four plays—three of which are published here for the first time—that fearlessly explore the face of modern genocide. The scripts deal with the destruction of four targeted populations: Armenians in Lorne Shirinian’s Exile in the Cradle, Cambodians in Catherine Filloux’s Silence of God, Bosnian Muslims in Kitty Felde’s A Patch of Earth, and Rwandan Tutsis in Erik Ehn’s Maria Kizito. Taken together, these four plays erase the boundaries of theatrical realism to present stories that probe the actions of the perpetrators and the suffering of their victims. A major artistic contribution to the study of the history and effects of genocide, this collection carries on the important journey toward understanding the terror and trauma to which the modern world has so often been witness.
During a one-hundred-day period in 1994, Hutus murdered between half a million and a million Tutsi in Rwanda. The numbers are staggering; the methods of killing were unspeakable. Utilizing personal interviews with trauma survivors living in Rwandan cities, towns, and dusty villages, We Cannot Forget relates what happened during this period and what their lives were like both prior to and following the genocide.
Through powerful stories that are at once memorable, disturbing, and informative, readers gain a critical sense of the tensions and violence that preceded the genocide, how it erupted and was carried out, and what these people faced in the first sixteen years following the genocide.
For 100 days in 1994, genocide engulfed Rwanda. Since then, many in the international community have praised the country's postgenocide government for its efforts to foster national unity and reconciliation by downplaying ethnic differences and promoting "one Rwanda for all Rwandans." Examining how ordinary rural Rwandans experience and view these policies, Whispering Truth to Power challenges the conventional wisdom on postgenocide Rwanda.
Susan Thomson finds that many of Rwanda's poorest citizens distrust the local officials charged with implementing the state program and believe that it ignores the deepest problems of the countryside: lack of land, jobs, and a voice in policies that affect lives and livelihoods. Based on interviews with dozens of Rwandan peasants and government officials, this book reveals how the nation's disenfranchised poor have been engaging in everyday resistance, cautiously and carefully—"whispering" their truth to the powers that be. This quiet opposition, Thomson argues, suggests that some of the nation's most celebrated postgenocide policies have failed to garner the grassroots support needed to sustain peace.
“Reveals the lengths [to which] the current government has gone to restructure all spaces of Rwandan society, and how Rwandans continue to resist this state interference in their everyday lives.”—Ethnic and Racial Studies
“Thomson’s elegant research is praiseworthy and her arguments are forthright. . . . This important publication will be of great value to scholars of Rwanda and genocide as well as students of reconciliation politics and transitional justice.”—Human Rights Quarterly
“Sobering and disturbing. . . . The peasant peoples’ resistance to official policies of national unity and reconciliation emerged because these national schemes do not reflect the peasants’ own lived realities and experiences of state power, genocide, and day-to-day living within their communities. Instead, these official policies disrupt everyday life and endanger existing networks of mutual support and dependence.”—Canadian Journal of Development Studies
The Year of the Gorilla
George B. Schaller University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress QL737.P96S3 2009 | Dewey Decimal 599.8840967571
This seminal work chronicles George B. Schaller’s two years of travel and observation of gorillas in East and Central Africa in the late 1950s, high in the Virunga volcanoes on the Zaire-Rwanda-Uganda border. There, he learned that these majestic animals, far from being the aggressive apes of film and fiction, form close-knit societies of caring mothers and protective fathers watching over playful young. Alongside his observations of gorilla society, Schaller celebrates the enforced yet splendid solitude of the naturalist, recounts the adventures he experienced along the way, and offers a warning against poaching and other human threats against these endangered creatures. This edition features a postscript detailing Schaller’s more recent visits with gorillas, current to 2009.
“Whether the author is tracking gorillas, slipping past elephant herds on narrow jungle paths, avoiding poachers’ deadfalls, or routing Watusi invaders, this is an exciting book. Although Schaller feels that this is ‘not an adventure book,’ few readers will be able to agree.”—Irven DeVore, Science
The Year of the Gorilla
George B. Schaller University of Chicago Press, 1988 Library of Congress QL737.P96S3 1988 | Dewey Decimal 599.8846
"A sensitive and articulate observer, [Schaller] is at his best when he is describing the forest itself . . . . This is an exciting book. Although Schaller feels that this is 'not an adventure book,' few readers will be able to agree."—Irven DeVore, Science