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Articles tagged "Rwandan Genocide"

Cyarwa cya nyarwaya

Cyarwa is the birthplace of my mother. She left when she was two years old and came back when she was forty, accompanied by her older brother. This poem is the story of their return after years of shared exile, in Burundi, Belgium, Ivory Coast, and France. Your daughter returned this morning Your son embraced you once again Cyarwa cya nyarwaya Your stories flow in the blood of my dear ones Your roots are written in the lines of our hands Cyarwa cya nyarwaya You, the land of my grandfather...

From “A Butterfly in the Hills”

Novelist and playwright Koulsy Lamko came to Rwanda in 1998 as part of a project entitled "Writing by Duty of Memory," which brought a dozen African writers to Rwanda and provided each with a commission to write a text. The authors interviewed survivors, met with perpetrators, and visited many memorial sites. Most of these sites were churches where Tutsi had fled, hoping to find protection and refuge. During the genocide in 1994, however, there were no sacred places. Four years after the...

A Coward’s Repentance

He had been watching me for a while, but I hadn't noticed him.  I was busy chatting with my cousin Astrida on the doorstep of her store in the center of the capital.  In Kigali, to greet an acquaintance means to ask her what is happening in her life at the moment.  Has she had children since...  No one says the word "genocide" in this context; people tend to say "since then," and right away the other person understands the reference to that catastrophic spring. ...

Writing Genocide: Poetry and Prose from Rwanda

Genocide is a specific type of crime, determined not only by the actions of the killers but also by their goal. The 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide emphasizes that the crime is characterized by the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group."  In many cases, killers try to eliminate any trace that the victims ever existed, destroying family photographs, burning belongings, and burying the remains of their...

Rwanda: The Flame of Hope

1 The sunny side of life Recently one evening, as trails of ochre tinged with mauve kept stretching late into the sky of Mantua, I found myself face to face with Predrag Matvejević, the writer from Mostar and host of the writers' conference. He was alone with a bottle of red wine, looking grim. The man who had gone all over the now defunct Yugoslavia seemed to carry the disappearance of a part of the world on his slumped shoulders. In a moment of extremely lucid weariness, he...

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