Wednesday, April 22, 2009

International Symposium on the Genocide Against Tutsi 2009 (Day 3)

Informal Conference Notes

Kigali Serena Hotel

April 6, 2009

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda vis a vis the 1994 genocide in Rwanda

ICTR was established 15 years ago. Soon to be closed down. UNSC already established that the tribunal has seen its days and must be completed soon.
Any assessment of transitional justice systems must be seen in the time when you are assessing them. Nuremberg as example: 1945, there were very different views of the process (people saw it as victor’s justice, unfair to Germans).
What a great precedent (?) Clarifications on the law of genocide.
1. Significant contribution to fighting impunity—some of the top planners of the genocide. Been able to do so after these people were extradited and handed over. This issue of surrender is a big challenge to prosecuting main leaders of genocide. Many from the Holocaust never had to face a judge. Less pressure on states to do something.
2. ICTR has been able to keep the Rwandan genocide on the agenda of the UN. They have to report to the UNSC. Recent judgment of Bagosora case even got press in Europe.
3. Can help on the fight against denial. International community has no way to escape the fact that we are discussing genocide.

Shortcomings: too slow, too costly, too far away, mismanagement. But relationship between victims and ICTR is a big shortcoming too. For the creators of the ICTR, victims were only witnesses. It becomes clear from all of the establishing documents. Member states of UN said to ICTR that main purpose is to prosecute and punish, not to get engaged in dialogue with victims.

Victims of international criminal justice… ICTR has heard the complaints, and ICC is trying to incorporate them. New relationship between victims and international criminal justice going to develop in ICC. In ICC preamble, it mentions the victims.

Participation of victims. ICC: want victims to participate in proceedings. Raises questions (like DRC, Darfur) how do you involve hundreds of thousands of victims?

Reparation: Responsabilites nationale et international/ Reparation: National and International Responsibilities

Need restorative justice that requires punishment and reconciliation. So every person responsible for his acts must be responsible for reparations. So we must establish personal responsibility. 1996 there was a law saying that victims are indemnified. The first responsible was the state. So the government should pay. In 2001, with installation of gacaca until now, the indemnification …those who stole need to pay back what they stole. A fund should collect in the place of victims. Resolution of UNSC for ICTR. Didn’t mention the disposition and restitution for victims . Socially, when there are reparations, the victims are socially and financially rehabilitated.

Gacaca, which is about to end, has urged restitution of things stolen. Most people are poor, however. Therefore, they can’t really force the restitution.

International responsibility: UN, AU have passively assisted the genocide, so they must make reparations. 2007, there was an initiative in UN promoted by the civil society to make reparations, but there are some countries, like France, who stand in the way of successfully pleading this case.

Problematique de l’indemnisation des victims du genocide des Tutsi sur le plan international/ Debate on the indemnification of Tutsi genocide victims on the international level

Must be a fault, and must be able to be regulated via law. The international community made a mistake. The UN should have acted, violated the following:
1. Convention on genocide
2. International texts on human rights
3. Founding text: UN Charter
The UN should have predicted it. Convention calls for international cooperation before genocide happens and to end it when it does.
The human rights texts, while not binding, should be honored. Effective and universal respect of human rights—this was not honored.
UN Charter—to resolve humanitarian conflicts. Human rights, etc. without regard for nationality, race, etc.
The Rwandan state takes the place of the victims and goes before the UN and international court of justice demanding reparations.
Associations make an appeal to the fund for victims of torture. There are only 2 such associations.

Reconstitution des Ressources Humaines et du tissu social comme composante essentielle de la base du developpement durable / Reconstitution of Human Resources and Social Fabric as an essential component of the base of sustainable development

All productive resources. The underdevelopment of the economy and human resources. Without these, Rwanda cannot develop.

Immigration. Identity crisis of Rwandans. Creation of commission for reconciliation, CNLG. Politics of decentralization helps promote the multiplication of civil society.

Improving access to justice to secure women’s reproductive rights
Tutsi women were used as weapons against Hutu men. Propaganda was used to say that Tutsi women were superior to Hutu women. Women against women: ubuzungerezi. Hutu women then hated Tutsi women.
Sexual violence in front of ICTR. Rape and sexual violence was recognized as genocide for the first time. Legal precedent. Definition: “physical invasion of a sexual nature, committed on a person under circumstances which are coercive.”
A woman was tried for sexual violence by using her son. Now we see that rape is not just a weapon of men against women. But there are no reparations. A judge laughed at a woman who was reliving her experience at the ICTR. Judge it by its objectives: accountability, deterrence, and national reconciliation and peace.
After the genocide, specialized national courts were established. 1996 sexual violence began to be tried as a Category 1 offense. It’s the only act among them that is not a “planning” act, even if we know now that it rape was part of the genocide plan.
Gacaca: since the regular courts were slow, 2000 gacaca was introduced. Organic Law no. 13/2008, Gacaca tried 1st category offenses including rape. There were innovations of the process that protected the victim and community: there was a camera trial, and professional secrecy was protected. National courts did not preserve privacy. There are no public confessions for perpetrators of rape. In criminal matters, it is the state against the offender. For these cases, the victim can choose not to have their case tried today; when they are ready, they can go to justice. There are also trauma counselors allowed at trial. There are no reparations.
IBUKA, AVEGA, SOLACE ministries provide trauma counseling for rape in Rwanda.
At Nuremberg, rape was seen as too atrocious to prosecute.
There is a draft law on reproductive health, human trafficking, gender based violence, anti-discrimination.
Edmund Burke: “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

La reconstruction identitaire a travers les familles artificielles de l’association des eleves et etudiants rescapes du genocide/ The Identity Reconstruction of Artificial Families Among Student Associations of Genocide Survivors

Young people grow up in associations of orphan survivors. Artificial families are very valuable to people; provide familial protection and comfort. Youth have created these families through associations. The youth then find their own solutions to problems. One such association is the GAERG. They refuse to be restrained by their handicap—they continue to live with dignity.

They also have an artificial family surname. They have a mother, a father, uncles, aunts, children. The family names they take show compassion, solidarity, and strength. The different people play the different roles; the “parents” give away their “children” in marriage, for example. This combats negationism. Members value the group they belong to. They try to be strong, but they are still psychologically weak. “Fathers” can have the same age as “children.” They participate in parent-teacher conferences. They sign report cards. The family splits the responsibilities evenly. They are enterprising. The families develop an identity and a non-violent and pro-justice ethnic.

Before being killed, the real parents of these children were humiliated, and other adults, particularly killers, have been bad models of behavior. The survivors want to help lead the reconstruction of their country through better behavior and active participation.

When real kids are born, they participate in the artificial family. This auto-affirmation shows a desire to live and survive and thrive.

L’innomable du genocide ou les violences d’un passé qui ne passé pas: Mecanismes psychologiques de la fabrique des bourreaux et clinique de la survivance chez les victimes / The unspeakable aspect of the genocide, where the violence of the past does not pass : Psychological mechanisms of the fabric of execution and its vestiges among victims

The past has not passed. People are condemned to live with the results of the tragedy. How to live with the unliveable?
I learned to live with it. Nous nous pensons immortels, mais il y a la mort. Need a new identity : familiale, sociale. After trauma, the mechanism to defend yourself is weakened.
Understanding the words of the survivors. One woman said she wasn’t crazy like this before. When you see a person die, you live like a survivor, somewhere between living and dead. They are tortured inside.
You need to name the acts to deal with them. The words of the genocidaires are printed in their minds forever. If words can damage, words can heal. They say they are not the same as they were before; they wish they were with those who were lost. “My soul is with them,” said one woman.
People now have begun to forget that these people have lost so much.

Using narrative writing to facilitate the healing process among survivors of the genocide of Tutsi in Rwanda

Dr. Laura Apol, Dr. Tatyana Sigal, Ken Bialek, Dr. Yakov Sigal, Glorieuse Uwizeye, Ernest Mutwarasibo

Low cost intervention that can effectively lessen the effects of genocide-induced trauma among survivors.

Traumatic memories: disorganized, fragmented, incomplete, vague, over-general, little to no narrative content. As a result, memories cannot be integrated into personal awareness.
Does writing help to heal? Clinicians have been trying to find alternative therapies to express themselves. Document decrease in medical visits, depression, somatic symptoms, and enhances immune system.

Like any psychotherapy, it converts images and emotions into words. It organizes traumatic memories. Gives the writer a sense of control. Gives sense of security and safety.
Writing uses therapeutic techniques. Labels feelings, which reduces emotional response. Desensitization because of the editing process, working with the same story over a period of time. Flooding (exposing the person to painful memories, which then abate, with the goal of integrating emotions and awareness.)

Project: designed the workshop, worked with facilitators, and then conducted the workshops.
Working with the facilitators. Was at the genocide memorial in Kigali. Used 2 step format. Step 1: writers would have a free-writing, brainstorming exercise. They would respond to prompts provided by the project leaders. Step 2: Wrote narrative in a linear way.
3 rounds of writing- write about time before, during, and after the genocide.
Before Genocide: Write as much as possible about experience beforehand. Explain things in ways they may not have done before. Details about life: their furniture, favorite foods, activities. They discovered after this stage that the experience of genocide didn’t begin on April 7, 1994. Many felt return of pre-genocide happiness, memories of being with families, family celebrations, being secure with their parents. For some, time before the genocide wasn’t necessarily good. Sometimes, remembering the past made them sad, and for many, it was the first time they had shared their memories.

During the genocide: One woman said “I didn’t feel anything when I heard someone had died during genocide. I couldn’t allow myself to express emotion. That’s why the emotions come up not at other times.” A man, Emery, said he fell into a dream in 1994, and didn’t awake until 1999. He saw dead people everywhere, and only came to realize in 1999 that a genocide had occurred. Some were angry about expressing their stories in written form instead of orally.
Some finally have confronted the questions they never asked. No one shared their personal memories of Genocide; they all talked about the process of writing.

After genocide: Write about the good things that are happening in their lives now, and what their hopes and dreams for themselves and their countries are. They focused on positive things, focused on a sense of hope, made clear the distinction between hope and fantasy—that hope required action. They asked the question—what if there isn’t anything positive afterward?

Discoveries: They found it was easier to write the story in 3 stages. It was easier to separate. It was easier to write in Kinyarwanda than in English. Free writing helped them to remember the details of their stories.

The facilitators all wanted to keep writing and wanted to make their stories public.

A year later, they followed up; people liked that they had the opportunity to talk about life before genocide. Some said they also said they had written material they didn’t wish to share. Rwanda is primarily an oral culture. Writing is challenging and requires new skills and training. Oral telling, however, are created selectively. When you write, you write more slowly and there are more gaps that must be filled in.

They included a psychological component. What they wish: Narrative Therapeutic writing, then low cost scalable mental health care, and then positive economic outcomes.

Who: orphans, women, college aged survivors, high school survivors. Partners: Association Mwana Ukundwa, Kigali Genocide Museum.

Temoigner pour reapprendre a vivre chez les enfants survivants du genocide des Tutsi a Mugina/ Witnessing to learn how to live again ; child survivors of the Tutsi genocide in Mugina
Ernest Mutwarasibo

Children can give us information that is indispensable to the global understanding of the genocide. Most work is interested in written sources, particularly with the planning and execution of genocide. But this work is interested in testimonies of survivors. These studies were led by psychotherapists. Children, to this day, are not considered a dignified source of information about the genocide. Some say that children cannot explain exactly what happened over the course of the genocide, including what happened to their parents. The testimonies of the children are integral, though. More precisely, some children recognized what happened to their parents and families, whether torture or killing. Children hid under the cadavers of their parents and observed everything going on around them. Some remember the persecution of members of their family from 1990-1993. These children live in extreme poverty, they lack familial love, they are sometimes handicapped, they are lonely. The children don’t just see genocide as a systematic act, but the continued attack on their survival.
Before the genocide: the time of persecution against the family
Genocide: systematic destruction of family
After genocide: They face their problems that continue as a result of the genocide.
The children have adopted a collective identity of pardoning.

Psychosocial Care of Youth Survivors of the 1994 Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda. A Case Study of Youth at APACE High school.
Gloriose Uwizeye

Far too often the psychosocial care of orphan survivors of genocide is overshadowed by other immediate needs such as shelter and food, or is overlooked as children are reinserted into the educational system. The lack of this care negatively affects efforts to reconstruct the lives of survivors and get them on the road to a stable and productive citizenship.

Efforts have been made to meet these needs. Different institutions, such as universities, took the initiative of training mental health service providers. At the end of 2007, 273 trauma counselors did a 1 yr training, 3,812 psychosocial assistants trained in active listening, 152 trained as psychiatric nurses and 12 as clinical psychologists.

Researcher wanted to know what the survivors were dealing with. Qualitative approach. Open ended semi-structured interviews with 8 people (4 boys and 4 girls) 18-24 yrs old. There are 20 total at this school. They had all been in foster families but they left because they all had conflicts with the foster families. No psychosocial services or support networks were provided to these students. 15 yrs later, the study participants still suffer emotional reactions related to survival, such as fear, anger, deep sadness, week-long bouts of insomnia, emotional instability, lack of appetite, suicidal impulses, lack of concentration in class, flashbacks, low-self esteem, and hopelessness.

Most emotional reactions triggered by lack of a proper home. They are traumatized by the fact that they don’t have a place to go during vacations—it makes them very aware of the fact that they have no one. Some said it’s because no one visited them, or advised them on decisions that affect their future. They said that it impacts their school performance. They said it’s hard to attain the required marks to qualify for government university scholarships or those offered by FARG (the genocide survivor association).

Their primary source of support was sharing their problems and experiences with other youth survivors. They want to be a part of an extended family network.

This raises questions about availability/access to psychosocial care services by survivors. Quality of services is undermined by attitudes that counselors must be trained for weeks to be able to deal with this.

La memoire du genocide du Rwanda et la reconfiguration identitaire/The memory of the Rwandan genocide and the reconfiguration of identity
Dr. Dominique Payette

Ethnic identity is very strong; in the HCR camps in Goma, the youth reconfirmed their loyalty and pride in their Hutu ethnicity.
For one woman who lives overseas, she is very proud of being Tutsi because it now signifies everything her people have suffered. Many survivors who live overseas feel like their experiences are not appreciated because there is so little understanding in Canada of the Rwandan genocide. It’s very frustrating for them to have to answer questions in Canada like, “What is the difference between Hutu and Tutsi? “ or “Why do people in Africa kill each other?”
What the survivors have said is that they want to tell everything to their children. Rwandese in Canada have no desire to marry other expat Rwandese.

Can forgetting actually help healing? WE cannot forget what cannot be punished. It will take at least a generation.

Litterature, ethique et memoire d’un genocide/ Literature, ethics, and memory of genocide
Prof. Josias Semujanga

What can we do to understand what happens after genocide? Rumor was used in negationism. In Africa, in the West, we look at the texts. After, there are many texts that were published on Rwanda that were “scientific.” There were paintings, cartoons, music. How do we use these to talk about the post-genocide period? Literature allows us to freely discuss the problems in society—it’s a debate about society.

Through literature, you can force students to think about society. Novel called Murambi. It ends with, “There are survivors, even after the devil has passed.” How to think about this? Lessons can be carried. La Reine de Colline. The protagonist recalls being raped by a soldier.

Effacement des traces du genocide des Tutsi/Erasing traces of the Tutsi genocide

How much evidence is being destroyed. Speeches by traitors. People we met told us that after the death of Habyarimana, killings did not immediately begin. Kibeho was known for the appearances of the Virgin Mary. Some argue that she predicted the genocide. There was a commission to look at the churches which would become memorials of the genocide. Gacaca: some people were using their testimonies to destroy evidence. One woman says witnesses are contributing to the destruction of evidence. “We killed, we stole, but without mentioning the individual role.” There is no way to know what part that person actually played. Now, you look at the Kibeho church, it has been reconstructed since the genocide, so you can’t tell that anything happened here. Children won’t believe you when you tell them.

Testimony, Law, and Literature
Aimable Twagirimana

In 1959, Tutsis were taken to Bugesera. Geography of genocide. The end is not just to kill, but to humiliate before killing. Africans who went to the US redefined themselves after liberation, and reconstructed an identity. Survivors are very confused about their identities. Massacres happened in a culture of impunity. Definition of the “other”—Jews as lice, Tutsis as snakes and cockroaches. We need faith in the imaginative possibilities of literature, so it can create an infinite space in which to confront difficult issues.

Du Viol a la loi GBV et après. L’importance des etudes feminines et du genre au sein des institutions academiques rwandaises/ From rape, to gender-based violence, and after. The importance of women’s studies at Rwandese academic institutions

Prof. Bea Rangira Gallimore

2006-2007. 35 murders of women by husbands in 2006. 22 murders of women by husbands in 2007.

There is a general rise of GBV. Adultery, concubinage, polygamy are against Rwandan law.

We often think in terms of gender and sex—and we have stereotypes. If both members of a couple are doctors, we are more inclined to believe that the male must be the doctor. The problem with violence against women is post traumatic stress disorder. Kigali Health Institute said that more focus must be devoted to counseling.

National and Personal Reconciliation: The challenges for survivors
Prof. Alexandre Dauge-Roth

Based on testimonies of orphans. Gacaca has become the dominant forum for discussing what happened in 1994. Survivors must live alongside perpetrators and acknowledge requests for forgiveness. While perpetrators are allowed some degree of amnesty, the survivors’ experiences are relegated to memorials and commemorations. Bearing witness is an exercise that involves not just survivors but Rwanda as a whole. Their success in contemporary Rwanda depends on their economic success, among other factors. Testimony is one avenue through which the victim can voice their suffering, seek to inscribe their story within their community, and call for communities of listeners. By refusing to remain silent, survivors keep the memory of those who died alive, and gain social legitimacy. Their testimony represents the past, but also a social performance of the survivor’s agency within their community in the area of reconciliation. It documents how the genocide was planned, fighting negationist ideology. It fights a culture of impunity. They achieve social recognition. And survivors find a way to escape the grip of their memories. Personal history can then be inscribed within a larger History.

Memorialization and rememberance: judicial paradigms prevail. The very act of testifying puts one’s suffering at a more tolerable distance. How can survivors negotiate their feeling of belonging to a community? To bear witness to one’s own estrangement shows a desire for connectedness. They create a social space and reclaim on their own terms the meaning of their survival. If voices of survival are repressed, it is because of cultural trauma. Bearing witness calls for remembrance and mourning.

One of the obstacles resides in the disbelief and negation of survivors’ stories. Francois Ngarambe is trying to collect 15,000 testimonies from survivors. Most survivors celebrate gacaca as a way to find out from perpetrators where their loved ones are, so they may give them a dignified burial.

Vice-President of the National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide
Thank you for your active participation and resourceful presentations. The Commission is committed to concretize the conclusions of this symposium. We invite you to the Genocide Commemoration tomorrow and which will go until April 15, 2009.

Closing Remarks: Minister of Sport and Culture
Thank you for those who have come from every corner of the world to discuss this issue. We have talked about things that happened over 100 days in just 2 days. The truth resides with the people. The people of the rural areas who don’t speak French, but who speak Kinyarwanda. They need to express what they saw, what they lived. For all the survivors and other Rwandans, we will remember until July. 10,000 people died per day. 10,000 families will remember each day. We must combat genocide denial, but so must you. Help us to transmit the message about what has happened here. Because you have come here to try to understand the genocide, you have the baggage. We need to give hope. This is how we will commemorate tomorrow.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

International Symposium on the Genocide Against Tutsi 2009 (Day 2)

International Symposium on the Genocide Against Tutsi: “15 Years after the Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda. Stakes, Challenges, and Future Prospects.”

Informal Conference Notes

Kigali Serena Hotel, 4th-6th April, 2009

April 5

Le role de l’ideologie dans la preparation et l’execution du genocide des Tutsi au Rwanda/ The Role of Ideology in the Preparation and the Execution of the Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda

There was a time when we overemphasized the importance of ideology. Local level: study in 2006. What were the causes of the genocide? 3 categories: ideological, political, economic
Racist ideology. End of independence movement. Tutsi were menaced when the Belgians left.
Typology of the ideology : another challenge. Classic definition: collectivity of value. Ideology changes over the different stages of Rwandan history. Work of the first ethnologues: Tutsi were viewed as a distinct ethnic group, and it was impossible to have national unity because of Tutsi superiority.
1959 : first pogrom. Tutsi didn’t have legitimate citizenship. Genocide ideology : Tutsis were the enemy, worked against the interests of the Hutu community. It was necessary to completely rid the country of the Tutsi.
2006: 85% pp in village thought that genocide was linked to belief that Tutsi better than Hutu, etc.
Small study: questions 3 groups of killers. What were their motivations?
4 main motivations:
1. The Tutsi threat
2. The administration told them to
3. There was no consequence to killing Tutsi
4. Hate because of anti-Tutsi propaganda

Irony of Morality : Constructing Evil to Overcome Enemies and Vice Versa

The speaker only represents the perspective of the US. The US carries the burden of national apathy. We Americans only think of ourselves.
There is something to learn from Rwanda, and there are lessons to prevent it from happening again. Yet, unless there is direct economic consequence for inaction, we can expect no action. Should we assume the worst and act swiftly to quash threat? These suspicions can be corrosive and self-fulfilling prophecies.
We were too slow to call the Rwandan genocide a “genocide.” There has been a high level of support from the US for Rwanda, which is the product of our collective guilt. Curious phenomenon about word “genocide” –does it have magical powers? When we call it genocide, we think it will make it stop…which is why we use it in Sudan also.
July 22, 2004, Congress called Darfur genocide. Bush Administration was asked to lead international intervention effort. Then Colin Powell said it. Should have led to counter-genocidal action in Darfur. Only the US used the word “genocide” to describe Darfur. No one else calls it genocide other than NGOs. Not even AU, Amnesty, MSF, UN have rejected use of term “genocide.” The U.S. shouldn’t use it, either, because it is counterproductive. The use of word “genocide” is now preventing us from doing the right thing in Rwanda because of the real world of international politics.
Even so, we’re not backing off the use of the term. But ICC didn’t say that Bashir committed genocide.
Crux: Extreme moralism, which is the heart of US religious ethos and foreign policy. Clear and unambiguous division between good and evil. While this seems appealing, it is not good for complex situations. Can create enemies and evil, though. Creates an “other.” Dehumanizes the perceived enemies. Psychology: people need to dehumanize others before they can commit violence against them. Evil isn’t a subjective idea; sometimes it exists, and sometimes we must meet violence with violence. Deciding when that action is required can be problematic. Extreme morality limits our political options.
What is natural? If we can do it, it’s natural. If it’s good or bad is subjective. We can’t see things in black and white, Axis of Evil, if you’re not with us, you’re against us. We were good, they were bad. Tendency to create enemies has made us blind to the complexities of our actions.
Morality of good and evil—Hutu thought that Tutsi were evil. Needed to exterminate them. We in the west have a long way to go before we understand Africa and its colonial legacy.
Answering extremism with extremism isn’t the answer. We must be proactive and preventative.
Apocalypse Now: Civil Society, Weapons, and Fear in Modern Genocide
Genocide and public health: 1999 death rates in Rwanda. 40,000 pp died of HIV .6% of susceptible population died. 1,200 died/yr. Genocide: 10.2% of entire population. Couldn’t calculate susceptible population. Mortality rate: 12,750/100,000/yr. Leading cause of death in Africa in 1994 was the Rwandan genocide.
9,500/100,000 2004 in Darfur death rate.
Long term health effects: PTSD, depression, intergenerational transmission of psychological disorders
Violence prevention. It’s low cost, high efficiency. Rebuilding is high cost, low efficiency. After genocide, everyone rushes in after the event and start looking at the victims. Shift the trend back and look before the event at potential perpetrators, we don’t look at leaders or those developing the paradigm ;we look at average people who are susceptible to bad influences. Based on research done in the past. 144 adolescents who were very violent. Interviewed to find out why violence was useful. 12-step program on generating alternatives to violence. Afterward, they had fewer resort to hostility. Those kids had fewer parole violations later.
While genocide is planned by kingpins, it is committed by average people. Social change comes from the top, but can also come from below. Work with individuals and communities directly.

Phase 1: retrospective analysis in Rwanda
Phase 2: prospective analysis in high-risk jurisdictions
Phase 3: development/implementation of programming
Phase 4: program testing and refinement
We focus on the perpetrators instead of the survivors because to protect the survivors, we must prevent people from acting again.

Autocratic government
History of ethnic hatred: taught in schools churches, administrative areas
Economic crisis: structural adjustment late 80s early 90s, coffee collapse.
War: one army, two aims
Idle threats of intervention from internationals
Youth bulge: major population growth was 15-25. Unemployed.
Hatred of Tutsis. Taught before independence but stressed after independence. Evil people, cruel and hypocritical. Believed they deserved to be killed.
Became like monsters with no remorse.
**Rwanda was suffering from an intensely militarized civil society who were told they would be killed enslaved by people invading the country. Had to protect themselves, defend, with no rules of engagement. “Our leaders were telling us that if the Tutsis took control, they would put us into slavery and we would be killed.”
People were also afraid of the Interahamwe and ruling authorities. People would have considered them an enemy of the nation.
“Tsunami Effect” people were completely overwhelmed by what was happening. They were recruited. “Government didn’t control anything and we believed we were all going to die.” People felt socially overwhelmed.
3 of 40 male respondents said they didn’t believe what was happening…it was like judgment day. Thought it was the Biblical apocalypse.
Youth: defiance of parents, acting impulsively, defending “manhood,” trying to achieve enough material security to get married and have a family.

The Perfect Storm of genocide: pressures: militarized civil society, self-community defense; fear of ruling authorities; hatred; greed; youth bulge; tsunami effect. Youth are very susceptible to messaging.

Rwanda is at a crossroad. Model security and prosperity. Now in a position to move forward on how to discuss, teach , move beyond genocide. Emphasize victims, give hope and identity to all Rwandans—to bystanders, etc. but certainly people born after the genocide. Engage opinion leaders; Include the social sciences as well as politics and law.
One national blueprint for what the organizational vision is for recovering from genocide. Should be taught in schools and churches. Must be targeted messaging for different age groups. Don’t guess. Talk to people and use data. Can’t change behavior unless you know what people think. Involve the media, be provocative. Coordinate NGO messaging under a national agenda. One governmental message where everyone is working together. Rwanda has shown us a path to success.

Exacerbations ethniques dans les discours du President Gregoire Kayibanda/ Ethnic Exacerbations in the Speeches of President Gregoire Kayibanda

Twa was supposed to be Twa, Hutu was to be worker, Tutsi was to be the leader. In 1963, July 1, anniversary of independence, speech was not partisan, but he said at the end of the speech, “I will finish by speaking to Tutsis. Tutsi hegemony has come to an end. Tutsi should stop creating groups of proud people who are trying to step on the Hutu people. Living on the sweat of others without working themselves. We have to work for ourselves, and those who are educated among you.” At the highest level of the government, it was clear that the government was perpetuating genocidal and ethnic ideology.
28 Jan of 1963. Kayibanda talked to Rwanda refugees. Genocide speech. Genocide has the same roots as fratricide, homicide, etc. Tutsi were spies and sought to change the bright future of other Rwandans. Showed as not contributing to good future of Rwanda. “PARMEHUTU is the party that has come to liberate and save the Hutu.” Never any peaceful ideology, always controversial. He said this in Nyakizu, which did not know ethnic division. In 1966 he said PARMEHUTU had to fight against the hypocrisy of the Tutsi, that the Tutsi had torpedoed the development of Rwanda. Same kinds of speeches made in 1994. On May 1, Labor Day 1967, he said these are the days of Hutus, and you have been bound by ubuhake (feudal hegemony) saying that “it is the day of our ethnic group.” We are liberating ourselves from the undemocratic former rules. Labor Day liberates you from situations like the Great Depression in Rwanda (famine) across the country.
An international Labor Day became now a national party. Ruling Party day. These speeches that were made between 1971 and 1973, he came back to the issue of getting rid of external influences on the culture, namely the influence of Tutsi. He was saying the Tutsi was a foreigner, an external force, not a Rwanda. He used a lot of German words in the speech. Saying culture was that of nobles, using it ironically, saying that Tutsis were considered nobles. The Hutu will no longer be considered as the lower class. Used curse words in his speech to show that the Tutsi would have no more place in Rwanda.
Hypocritical Tutsis are not necessarily the smartest of the people. What you seem to be joking with is a serious issue. You are incompetent, or you act with us to move forward. These are some of the root causes of what happened in 1994, unfortunately no one rose their hand to speak against it.

Negationism in Rwanda
Next to South Africa, Rwanda is the best known country in Africa, but not necessarily for all the right reasons. Rwanda is the case study everyone points to as an international failure. Lots of exhibitions, books, etc. have come out about Rwanda in the past year. And there are many people who deny that some people have tried to pretend that the genocide never happened. Where there is genocide, there is denial.
3 senior bishops in Catholic church have said the Holocaust never happened. Genocide of the Armenians by the Turks. Turkish government punishes any state that recognizes that as a genocide.

5 sources of denial:
1. Hutu Power. Extremists. Deny what happened. Want to do it all over again.
2. There are strong political and religious forces in Europe who continue to perpetuate genocide denial, working with genocidaires.
3. Rwandans who are not exactly genocide deniers, but who are so hateful of the present government that they trivialize the genocide. Greatest example of this is Paul Rusesabagina, who alleged that Kigali today is the same as Kigali in 1994. Patently untrue.
4. French establishment. Enemy of the RPF since it was created, and has done its best to discredit the RPF. French allowed the genocidaires to escape into Congo. Now their denial is manifest (Mitterand said : Le genocide? Ou les genocides? ) in the airplane crash in 1994 which the French want to pin on the RPF to show that the genocide was not preplanned by Hutu power. No one has any real evidence on who shot the plane down. Serious followers of Africa will not say they believe Bruguiere, even though there is no evidence.
5. Rwanda’s own axis of evil. Small group of thugs driven by an extreme paranoid anti-Americanism that leads them to believe that everything that has happened is a big American conspiracy. Only 12 people, but because of the internet, they create a ton of damage.
Bubu, Ellender, Black, Robin Philpot said Romeo Dallaire is a stooge of the USG.

If you listen to Christopher Black, an international criminal lawyer, would believe: genocide is a myth. There was no French involvement in Rwanda. There was no ethnic problem in Rwanda prior to 1990. Before 1994, Rwanda was a semi-socialist country, a model of Africa. The plane was shot down by the Belgians, Americans, the RPF, and with the help of Romeo Dallaire.

Negationnisme au Rwanda post genocide/ Negationism in post-genocide Rwanda

It was a system thought through. Everyone saw it happen in plain daylight. We don’t tell the stories of what we saw. The RPF prevented the genocide from going all the way to the end. Even the Rwandans from the exterior saw that, understood that, and fought. It was the French who supported the Hutu. The genocide was ending and the Zone Turquoise was established; and that’s when the negationism began. Some believe there were interethnic massacres.; not just a massacre of one side.

The Congolese refugees were shown on the media as the refugees of the genocide, when they were actually the killers. Those who disagreed were killed so they didn’t impede the genocide of the Tutsi.

[Then Janet Kagame, First Lady of Rwanda, walked in.]

The genocide is recent history, only 15 years ago. Today we can talk to the whole world, but there is a sense that no one will ever understand what happened here. The world was sympathetic, but the world is not tender with innocent victims. During the genocide, we were killed for reasons for which we were not responsible. When you are killed for something you can’t help, you are an innocent victim.

After Congo became the center of media attention, Rwanda started to ask why no one understood that the refugees there were being seen as the victims.

Le Negationnisme a l’heure de la surinformation/ Negationism at a time of a surfeit of information

Different forms by which the genocide took place. Interethnic conflict, double genocide, spontaneous genocide? Why do people still think it didn’t happen?

Shedding light on the issue: we have to have a lot of information on something to see it clearly. This clarification was provided by the media, with perspectives, images, etc. We question the witnesses. We collect the responses and we reflect.

For some, it was impossible for people to believe that French soldiers threw Tutsis from their helicopters in a humanitarian mission. Cecil Grenier was on the Mucyo commission. He pre-rejected some witness accounts.

We were inundated with information. Information can kill. Reporters without Borders. Journalists die telling us what is true. According to Guy Tenisse, a journalist here at the time, reported the massacres in Kigali. He never figured out who the target was, and who was targeting. He said that observers wouldn’t have been able to tell—which was not true.

L’Etat Major Francais during the expat evacuation knew the difference between who was killing and who was being killed, but said he didn’t. He knew, and he didn’t prevent the government from undertaking their genocide. He didn’t want the media to know that the French soldiers hadn’t prevented the government from doing what they were doing.

Banalisation et negation du genocide des Tutsi quinze ans après/ Normalization and Negation of the Tutsi Genocide 15 Years Later

Some arguments:
The genocide of Tutsis was pragmatic because the succession of events predicted the genocide
Tutsi genocide was committed by Hutus to prevent a genocide by Tutsis.

Modification of motives and circumstances. Mix up of real and fake, generalization. Creates fake realities. Need to cover up certain things. Manipulation of memories.

Simplification. “What happened in Rwanda was very human. When you are attacked, your first reaction is to defend yourself. You forget you are a Christian.” Former official in Ruhengeri.

Some Hutu say that the airplane being shot down was a signal that they had to defend themselves.

Double genocide. Crimes committed in Rwanda in 1994 against the Hutu in Byumba, Umutara, Bugesera, etc. counts as genocide against innocent Hutu victims by the Tutsi. So the massacres are equivalent in responsibility.

Manipulation of memory. Suppression of witnesses. Murder of witnesses, destruction of victim property to intimidate them.

The stakes are political. It’s at the heart of Rwandan politics. Despite the wealth of information the genocide, negationism continues. It’s fundamentally linked to politics, here and elsewhere.

De la reconciliation face au negationnisme et au revisionnisme du Genocide contre les Tutsi/ Reconciliation in the face of negationism and revisionism during the Tutsi Genocide

During the genocide, as promoted through Kangura, the anti-Tutsi paper, there was an emphasis on purity in all domains. Murder was politically motivated. Tutsis are proud, hypocritical, etc. It was also economically motivated. Started by foreigners, continued by the Rwandans themselves. Fictional history become collective memory. Official speeches, intellectual speakers, politics, cultural influences, media. You can construct a society as a result of negativity.

Les Juridictions Gacaca en lutte contre le genocide et ses derives/ Gacaca jurisdictions in the fight against genocide and related crimes

Reconstruct man to then reconstruct Rwanda. He is persecuted and anguished by the acts of the genocidaires. Reconcile killers and victims to get the nation going again.
Why ?
To know the truth about what happened during the genocide
To speed up the trials of the genocide
To eradicate the culture of impunity: this was really prevalent since 1959, with the first pogrom. Killing, stealing, raping, etc….it was fine, it wasn’t punished.
To reinforce unity and reconciliation among Rwandans

In gacaca, people swear culpability without extortion. There are denunciations, punishment.
What is the solution for the future? Then they swore that they were culpable. And then the reconciliation began. Others refuse to avow culpability. Some commit to leagues of silence. In Butare, some even denounce the witnesses.
There are attempts at corruption. This is very current. Some denounced in the past, but now they say they made a mistake, but in fact they have received something in order to contradict themselves.
There is still a genocide ideology among many genocidaires.
Why Hope?
-Massive mobilization: People are now starting to say what they have been meaning to say for a long time.Then they tell their story and they are immediately more relaxed. The Gacaca councils have helped us to better understand how the genocide functioned. It’s a decisive step. At the end, we find ourselves in front of people, who declare themselves innocent or guilty. Now we have an idea. Not totally precise, but a better understanding, anyway.
The problem is those people who corrupt the process by paying people off, etc.

Le Negationnisme en France: Modes d’Expression et d’operation/ Negationism in France : Modes of Expression and Operation

Institutional lines, legal lines, media. How did it operate? By mobilizing internal actors. Recruitment of vectors, Rwandan people, in order to perpetuate the perverse idea of negationism.
French beliefs:
-The French say that there was only a Hutu genocide, that 4 million Hutus died at the hands of the FPR, Kagame’s rebel army.
-Kagame’s rebel army infiltrated the Hutu military and committed the most killings, leaving them in the road so the media would see.
-Hutus are passive, could never kill. The Tutsi rebel army, however, was called the Khmer Noir.
-The FPR was responsible for all killings from 1990-1993.
-The current system is being influenced by the Anglo-Israeli coalition, who wants to take over the Francophone areas in particular.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

International Symposium on the Genocide Against Tutsi (Day 1)

One of my main reasons for returning to Rwanda when I did was to attend the International Symposium on the Genocide Against Tutsi. Since I was there (and was relatively attentive), I decided to take informal conference notes. It occurred to me that someone might be interested in what was said, so I have decided to post them here. Days 2 and 3 are long.

My usual string of caveats: I recorded what I heard as faithfully as possible. I listened to the translator when presentations were made in Kinyarwanda, but not for presentations in French; those I took notes from directly. My notes can be kind of messy, but I tried to make them as logical as possible. :)

I am posting them by day of the conference!

International Symposium on the Genocide Against Tutsi: “15 Years after the Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda. Stakes, Challenges, and Future Prospects.”

April 4, 2009

Aegis Trust showed a documentary on the genocide called “Hoping for a Home.”

Launch of the "One Dollar Campaign" that will run for 100 days and will help to build homes for genocide orphans. Build a hostel for them during the holidays because they are embarrassed when their friends and other students leave for the holidays but they have to stay at school because they don’t have family. One girl at university described how her fellow students packed and left, and she also packed and walked around as if she, too, was leaving, because she was too embarrassed by the thought that she had nowhere to go.

Idea was generated because many young women survivors were found to have prostituted themselves in order to earn money, and their school marks had been suffering so they couldn’t get into university. So hostels were created for them so they had a place to go and they also had tutoring. From that, people thought to create a hostel for the genocide youth.

Chose one dollar because every Rwandan can give one dollar.

Run by the Rwandese diaspora. Also called “Agaseke” after the Rwandan baskets.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Murisanga! Feel at home.

It’s good to be back. It was hard to explain to my colleagues at school that I wasn’t excited to go to Rwanda. Excited wasn’t exactly the word I would use to describe the feeling of returning—as my fifth time in Rwanda, it felt more like I was just going home. There’s a strange comfort in the sights, smells, and sounds of this place. Landing at Kayibanda airport, I felt like I was a full human again.

I don’t have much time here, but have a lot to do. The conference on the genocide lasts for three days, and this Tuesday, April 7, is the official day of mourning. While I’m here, I also have to see my friend Faycal (the pop singer) and my Rwandan family in Kigali. Today, I stopped by the newly-opened Peace Corps office to say hello to the staff and drop off some magazines for the Volunteers, including the latest Vanity Fair. When I was living in the north, I made a pilgrimage to Kigali’s Librarie Ikirezi, where I spent 7,500 FRw ($15--ouch) on a Vanity Fair and read it cover to cover by candlelight, memorizing every word and studying every photo.

After visiting the office, I took shelter from the torrential April rain at the MTN Center and had a Rwandan buffet for lunch. Such buffets are typically comprised of salad, a long series of starches (rice, fries, fried bananas, fried plantains, sweet potatoes, and pasta) and then isombe, beans, some meat (usually beef) and tomato-based sauce. I regrettably took a large portion of isombe, and was reminded that it is an acquired taste. Bitter, green, and a bit pasty, isombe is prepared with cassava leaves. It looks vaguely like spinach, but that’s where the comparison ends. After I forced it down, I nearly broke a tooth on a rock I found in my beans. Eh, well.

Before leaving, I popped by Café Bourbon for an ikawaccino (their answer to the Starbucks Frappuccino). While making small talk with the woman behind the counter, I discovered that they have opened a Bourbon Café selling Rwandan coffee in Boston, and soon they will be opening one in Washington, D.C. Let me just repeat that, if only for my own benefit: there will be Bourbon Coffeeshops in Boston and in D.C. Now I don’t have to go all the way to Rwanda to restock my coffee supply! Score!

Now I’m relaxing at my friend Victoria’s house in the middle of a thunderstorm. The rain is pounding so loudly that we can barely hear, and it’s glazing the windows as if we were in a car wash. It’s nice to be home.