Dialog between Jean-Pierre Karegeye and Boubacar Boris Diop concerning the Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda | The New Occasions

Why does it appear that the genocide deniers have perked up? What can we make about African indifference on this topic? This dialog between author Boubacar Boris Diop and scholar Jean-Pierre Karegeye was first revealed in French in Seneplus, Beninplus, and Cameplus. On this English model, authors prolonged their dialogue on Cesaire’s thought.

Jean-Pierre Karegeye teaches in the USA. He has revealed extensively on francophone African literature, the Tutsi genocide, baby troopers and non secular extremism. He just lately co-edited a guide, Faith in Battle and Peace in Africa (Routledge, 2020). He’s additionally within the theoretical frameworks and moral dimensions of testimonial narratives.


Within the following interview, he chats along with his buddy Boubacar Boris Diop, a Senegalese author, writer of a number of novels together with Murambi, The Ebook of Bones, concerning the Tutsi genocide, a subject on which he has additionally revealed many articles during the last twenty years.


Boubacar Boris Diop: Jean-Pierre, sometimes the genocide towards the Tutsi of Rwanda makes the headlines once more, however solely briefly. And very often it’s only for caparisoning the genocide’s significance, and even rewriting its historical past when a brand new movie or guide is launched, or a political occasion happens such because the arrest of Paul Rusesabagina. For this reason, for a while now, after I speak to my Rwandan associates about their nation, I need to ask them a quite simple query, a query that may be summed up in a number of phrases: “What is going on on? Why does it appear that genocide deniers, from whom we haven’t heard in years, appear to have perked up out of the blue?” I wish to know the way somebody such as you, a Rwandan mental who’s primarily involved by this tragedy and who is understood to have thought and written loads concerning the genocide towards Tutsi in Rwanda, feels about all this.


Jean-Pierre Karegeye: Thanks very a lot, Boris. I wish to begin with the final a part of your query, the truth that I’m a Rwandan mental. Everybody will simply perceive that my notion of Rwanda can’t be that of a researcher who stands distant from the article that he’s observing. That’s not possible for me. I inhabit Rwanda as a lot as Rwanda inhabits me with its previous and current, the place the horrors of the genocide and the hopes of a whole individuals intertwine. I’d even add that the future of my homeland haunts me and that I really feel like every of my compatriots, in addition to Rwanda’s soul, in fixed revival. “What’s taking place?” you ask. Your perplexity echoes that of the Rwandan historian, José Kagabo, who, questioning concerning the legacy of the genocide, requested the next query: “The place did what occurred in 1994 go?” This was in 2014, in his introduction to a particular concern on the Tutsi genocide within the journal Les Temps Modernes. Linking the 2 questions, his and yours, we come to this conclusion: After the genocide comes the denial. I additionally understand that “by no means once more” stays a pious hope, and that the world, Africa, and Rwanda’s neighboring nations have discovered nothing from this immense tragedy. What’s harmful is the hatred towards the Tutsi that’s sweeping by means of the Nice Lakes area. The pyramid of hate created by the Anti-Defamation League exhibits a exact hyperlink between genocide and hatred.

Boubacar Boris Diop: The “Anti-Defamation League” was created to struggle antisemitism. Are you able to elaborate a bit of extra on the pyramid of hate in Rwanda particularly?

Jean-Pierre Karegeye: Sure, the “Anti-Defamation League,” created in 1913 by Sigmund Livingston, has traditionally fought towards anti-Semitism and has since dedicated to justice and truthful remedy for all. Its pyramid of hate or discrimination is constructed on 5 ranges, beginning with cultural biases and escalating with genocide on the prime.

I additionally consider that we can’t separate hatred from genocide denial. One of many nice issues about this group is its dedication to legal guidelines that punish hate crimes. For instance, it was concerned within the adoption of the 2009 US Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

While you deny genocide, you proceed to harass survivors wherever they’re. It provides insult to harm. People who deny genocide twist the identical machete into the unhealed wounds of survivors.

Boubacar Boris Diop: This leaves me sincerely and deeply puzzled. I wish to come again so far, I imply to the genocide denial that’s each unapologetic and insidious lately. Why now? And why is it out of the blue overtly gaining momentum once more?

Jean-Pierre Karegeye: It’s a undeniable fact that genocide denial is overtly getting stronger these days. It’s true that with the victory of the Rwandan Patriotic Entrance and the creation of the Worldwide Legal Tribunal for Rwanda, that the genocidaires needed to maintain a low profile. In a means, they hid out whereas ready for higher days till they may return to the general public sphere. Or maybe we underestimated their underground work. Social media now offers them nice visibility, and it exhibits, nearly three a long time later, that the world’s indifference in the course of the genocide has remained intact.

Boubacar Boris Diop: But, like many individuals who’ve labored on the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda, I used to be sure at one level that the query relating to who the perpetrators have been and who the victims have been had been definitively settled… Was it simply an phantasm?

Jean-Pierre Karegeye: Not essentially. We are able to say a minimum of although that the dividing line between the perpetrator and the sufferer was clearly drawn. This goes again to Primo Levi, who is obvious on this: “The oppressor stays what he’s, and so does the sufferer; they don’t seem to be interchangeable.” Genocide itself created the 2 classes. Confusion or the reversal of roles is likely one of the methods of genocide denial. What stays, then again, is that this genocide denial that represents a shift, not a rupture, in genocidal paradigm. Though it might appear paradoxical, genocide denial is a proof of genocide. It affirms what it denies. In different phrases, there would have been no genocide denial had there been no genocide. Genocide denial doesn’t come from nowhere.

Boubacar Boris Diop: What position ought to analysis play on this consciousness? What do you consider investigations and clarification work accomplished by artists of assorted origins and intellectuals from varied scholarly disciplines?

Jean-Pierre Karegeye: For me, they’re firstly women and men of excellent will. They reacted to the Rwandan tragedy by inserting themselves on the highest human degree. A lot of them performed a decisive position. I’m considering for instance of the mission “Writing as Obligation to Reminiscence”, of your novel, Murambi, The Ebook of Bones, of Koulsy Lamko’s guide, A Butterfly within the Hills, in addition to of publications by students and survivors. I consider that the fictional works that resulted from the “Writing as Obligation to Reminiscence” mission have significantly contributed to instructing concerning the genocide in European and American universities.

However the standing of intellectuals or artists doesn’t matter a lot. They primarily are, above all, “human beings of excellent will.” Furthermore, everyone knows that some intellectuals and artists took half within the genocide and that others grew to become advocates of genocide denial. Léon Mugesera has a Ph.D. in linguistics from Université Laval in Quebec Metropolis and Ferdinand Nahimana, co-founder of the sinister RTLM, the Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines, has a Ph.D. in historical past from Université Paris-Diderot. Charles Onana is now a physician because of his genocide denial tropisms. He defended his thesis in Lyon in 2017 on “Opération Turquoise”. There may be a lot to be mentioned concerning the relationship of, on the one hand, the genocide and, on the opposite, rationality, ethics, and aesthetics.

Boubacar Boris Diop: The very fact is, the tiniest particulars of the 1994 genocide ended up being recognized by nearly everybody. And since then, the historic sequence began by the primary killings of 1959 in Rwanda has revealed all its secrets and techniques to us. We are able to thus conclude that the bloodbath of greater than 1,000,000 human beings ended up imposing itself as a large, plain actuality on the common conscience.

Jean-Pierre Karegeye: I sense in your phrases a willingness to stay optimistic concerning the human race regardless of every little thing. I don’t share your optimism; in my view, the concept humanity has lastly realized the extent of the genocide of the Tutsi needs to be put into perspective. Consciousness of the horrors of the genocide was made attainable above all by the victory of the Rwandan Patriotic Entrance (RPF). This was not solely a navy victory. It additionally unveiled the lies and forgeries of the genocidal ideology, forcing its theorists to stay speechless within the face of survivors’ testimonies, which got here to be thought of as professional, truthful and accepted by all. The RPF’s victory was firstly of the rehabilitation of that means. At what level is that this common conscience presupposed to have appeared? When the genocide in Rwanda was formally acknowledged and an Worldwide Legal Tribunal was established? It was, as soon as once more, after the victory of the RPF. To quote only one instance, common conscience has by no means challenged us concerning the Herero genocide in Namibia by the Germans. However I don’t lose hope. Common conscience in direction of the genocide is shaped, like different issues, by means of training on values simply as a lot as by means of the frequent struggle towards genocide denial.

Boubacar Boris Diop: What are the totally different types of denial of the Tutsi genocide?

Jean-Pierre Karegeye: There are a number of. Not less than 5. Usually talking, the primary type of genocide-denial is expressed by means of the notion of inter-ethnic warfare. It’s a principle that considers genocide as a violent confrontation between communities. This principle of inter-ethnic warfare goals to invalidate any concept of planning. It additionally erases the dividing line between victims and executioners, which results in arguments akin to: “There should not victims on one aspect and executioners on the opposite.” That is additionally the reason given by those that deliberate the genocide. Denying the information allowed them to disclaim their apparent duty. The second type of denial explains every little thing that occurred after the airplane crash of April 6, 1994, with a genocide denial syllogism. We function right here by substitution and analogy within the following assertion: “The RPF killed President Habyarimana. The loss of life of President Habyarimana is the reason for the genocide.” Subsequently “the RPF is answerable for the genocide.” It angered the individuals, and lots of needed to get revenge on the executioners, that means the troopers of the Rwandan Patriotic Entrance (RPF) and by extension all of the Tutsi. This type of denial doesn’t essentially deny the genocide however seems to be for culprits elsewhere. The third method to genocide denial compensates for the bounds of the second. Confronted with the popularity of the Tutsi genocide by the worldwide neighborhood, genocide denial subtly redefines itself by means of the inflation of genocides, which we see in statements of “double genocide” or a number of genocides. For this reason Louis Bagilishya speaks of an “ecumenical genocide.”  The fourth type of genocide denial is ideological and institutional. It’s deployed in institutional areas. It’s, for instance, the realpolitik that prevented the Clinton administration from utilizing the phrase genocide for concern of feeling obligated to intervene in Rwanda after the loss of life of sixteen American troopers a number of months earlier than on African soil in Mogadishu. That’s the well-known Somalia syndrome. French governments proceed to disclaim the duty of the French state. A extra critical case is that of the Catholic Church. There are those that consider that the Church is the image of all human virtues and that it can’t have been straight answerable for something. Accepting its duty would go towards the concept of the holiness of the Church. Thankfully, it’s attainable to acknowledge the sins of the Church by means of its followers with out questioning the holiness of Christ. I feel that John Paul II and Pope Francis have been very clear relating to the sins of the genocide. Lastly, there’s an extension of denial that consists of denying Rwanda success story or attacking Rwanda and Rwandans the place it hurts: denying the genocide.

Boubacar Boris Diop: What strikes me is that, amongst different issues, we’re coping with a sort of paradoxical genocide denial that affirms the fact of the horror rather more than it denies it. It doesn’t say that genocide didn’t occur; quite the opposite, it argues that everybody has killed everybody, which makes the tragedy a zero-sum sport. And, in fact, out of vainness, we invoke freedom of speech, the braveness to say out loud what others mutter to themselves. It’s disturbing to notice that genocide denial is well expressed in locations the place it needs to be condemned as a substitute.

Jean-Pierre Karegeye: It’s precisely that, sadly. A Catholic priest concerned within the genocide, who has turn out to be a genocide denier, nonetheless says mass with no qualms; politicians within the nations neighboring Rwanda compete, not in presenting  social initiatives, however by denouncing  Tutsi inhabitants from their nations in portraying them as “dangerous and foreigners,” within the hope of being re-elected; Western universities welcome genocide denial theories; the so-called mainstream media begins denying the genocide once more, which occurred for instance when BBC broadcasted a despicable documentary.

Boubacar Boris Diop: This documentary by BBC, Rwanda, the Untold Story, made the yr 2014 a landmark date. Prefer it or not, this channel has the fame of being goal, which is a picture that it has all the time tried to protect. But, it had no drawback insulting greater than 1,000,000 lifeless Africans. However it doesn’t matter ultimately that BBC has proven, by means of such a vile manufacturing, the extent that sure media reputations will be overrated. The one factor to be remembered, alas, from the printed of this mindless movie is the liberation of the ‘denier’ phrase, the truth that it’s more and more inviting itself into households. You bear in mind, by the way in which, that we each joined the protest began by Linda Malvern to carry BBC officers to their senses, with out success, in fact, as a result of these individuals don’t have anything to concern from a small African nation. Six years later, the texts and occasions present us that this media episode was removed from being insignificant. In actual fact, it introduced what we’re witnessing now, that genocide denial has turn out to be nearly politically right within the minds of some.

Jean-Pierre Karegeye: Sure, Rwanda, the Untold Story, is the synthesis of genocide denial, and it isn’t the primary time BBC has accomplished this. What shocked Rwandans essentially the most was this documentary’s extreme contempt. President Kagame, who typically opposes contemptuous silence in direction of deniers, reacted with phrases that come again in a number of of his speeches with a number of variations: “With every problem put in our path, we turn out to be stronger, not weaker. Our physique could turn out to be weak, however our spirit won’t ever be weak.” It’s also a means of claiming that those that ended the genocide is not going to be so simply discouraged. Coming again to this movie although, what Jane Corbin did was disgusting. She has desecrated the reminiscence of the genocide, which the United Nations considers to be an necessary technique of genocide prevention. Only one instance! “Murambi” is the title of your novel as a result of, I think about, it’s not possible so that you can really feel detached concerning the historical past of this college. Jane Corbin visited the identical web site for her documentary. She was accompanied by a genocide survivor who knew nothing concerning the journalist’s denial plan. The survivor started to offer proof of the genocide by displaying the stays of kids and ladies killed after being raped. As a comment, Corbin started to complain concerning the grim and unusual presence of the victims’ our bodies. Was she expressing her compassion and the necessity to see the stays of the our bodies buried and handled with dignity? The survivor didn’t hear it that means. He defined that there have been individuals who nonetheless doubted the fact of the genocide and wanted to see what had occurred in 1994. Corbin’s “ethical” remark to the survivor and in such a spot was a starting to the denial of the genocide. Certainly, she used the stays of Murambi’s victims, amongst others, to precise doubts about variety of victims.

Boubacar Boris Diop: You spoke a second in the past concerning the intellectuals who throw themselves physique and soul into falsifying the historical past of the Tutsi genocide. I can point out Reytjens in Belgium, Erlinder within the USA and a sure Philpot in Canada. The checklist is sadly not exhaustive. I see of their attitudes a transparent refusal to study the teachings of historical past, which is sort of the alternative of Brecht who made the selection to warn humanity after the Nazi defeat and to declare, in a sentence that has turn out to be well-known, that one shouldn’t “cry victory out of season” earlier than including, to be extra exact: “for the stomach remains to be fertile from which the foul beast sprang.” The “foul beast” designates, in fact, all Nazism, all of the logics of extermination. Personally, I feel that this hatred that’s by no means disarmed is an enigma. A Rwandan buddy V. informed me that a number of months after the genocide, when Kigali was nonetheless a distraught and wounded metropolis, she got here throughout a gentleman on the street, an previous acquaintance, who whispered to her in an icy tone laden with contempt: “What did you anticipate, then? That we have been going to hesitate to go all the way in which like the opposite instances?” By means of this incident, we see how the defeated really feel powerless and the way their resentment is multiplied tenfold by the defeat, but additionally by their obsession with the ultimate resolution, the concern of not having dared to “go all the way in which.”

Jean-Pierre Karegeye: That’s precisely proper. All of those individuals blamed themselves for not having been capable of kill all of the Tutsi in Rwanda ranging from the primary 1959 massacres. For 35 years, up till 1994, they lived with the sensation of unfinished enterprise. Interested by the ultimate resolution, does it not recommend that the crime is already banal, and due to this fact invisible? Brecht, who you simply quoted, had already written this in 1935: “When crimes start to pile up, they turn out to be invisible. When sufferings turn out to be unendurable, the cries are now not heard.” Historical past appears to repeat itself over and over.

What your Rwandan buddy informed you is completely spine-chilling. You’ll be able to solely think about what my nation can be like if the genocidaires have been in energy at this time. Or reasonably, we don’t even dare to think about it!

Boubacar Boris Diop: What do you concentrate on the actual phenomenon of Western deniers that I simply talked about?

Jean-Pierre Karegeye: You talked about a number of however there have been many others afterwards, like Judi Rever. Why this relentlessness towards Rwanda? For now, I’ll solely level out that the literature that these Western teachers and journalists have on the genocide is predicated on atypical racism, which is a part of what Professor Alexandre Kimenyi calls “the trivialization of genocide” or what Brecht calls “invisible crimes.”  Why Rwanda? Nicely, it’s easy: as a result of Rwanda is in Africa. That’s not all, in fact, however it’s sadly one of many fundamental components.

Boubacar Boris Diop: Additionally they see themselves, I consider, as valiant knights, nearly as martyrs of freedom of speech. If the topic weren’t so critical, we’d snicker at these claims. However there’s a crimson line that their love of freedom of expression won’t ever make them cross. I imply, actual braveness can be to take the Holocaust at face worth, and they’re going to by no means danger that. On the planet as it’s, the slightest sentence that will downplay the Jewish Holocaust, and I’m not even speaking about denying it, can be problematic. And so they know this solely too nicely. Spitting on the our bodies of 1,000,000 Tutsi as a result of there isn’t any danger in doing so – that is known as cowardice.

Jean-Pierre Karegeye: On this explicit level, Aimé Césaire was very clear. He noticed in Discourse on Colonialism that what Europeans don’t forgive Hitler for isn’t the extermination of the Jews in itself. “It isn’t,” Césaire wrote, “crime in itself, the crime towards man, isn’t the humiliation of man as such, it’s the crime towards the white man, the humiliation of the white man, and the truth that he utilized to Europe colonialist procedures which till then had been reserved completely for the Arabs of Algeria, the coolies of India and the blacks of Africa.” He might have added that organizing this crime inside the West itself is a bit more damaging to the picture that the West desires to current of itself.

Of the Holocaust, I feel varied Holocaust Training and Genocide Prevention packages overseas assist to include denial narratives and anti-Semitism.  

Within the case of Rwanda, your common statement on Africa applies to the reception of the genocide towards the Tutsi: “Being black and African stays an aggravating circumstance.” One shouldn’t be stunned, due to this fact, by the acute indifference and contempt of European deniers in the case of one thing that’s not part of their very own house. The liberty they’ve to write down absurdities that appear educated relating to Africa can also be a part of the well-known “white man’s privilege” that’s a lot talked about lately. This nearly completely shaped the bottom of the speech they’d after they “found” and “invented” Africa in response to their fantasies and bias. For this reason the Europeans have extra respect for the victims of Srebrenica or for these of the 2 nice wars than for the lifeless of Rwanda. François Mitterrand knew he was not risking any credibility when he supported the Habyarimana fascist regime and went as far as to declare: “In these nations, a genocide isn’t necessary,” when speaking about Rwanda particularly and Africa on the whole.

Boubacar Boris Diop: This extraordinary sentence by Mitterrand, reported by journalist Patrick de Saint-Exupéry, has by no means been denied. For me, it’s the French equal of Donald Trump’s “shithole nations,” and when you concentrate on it, it’s rather more critical. Coming again to Césaire, this sentence from Discourse on Colonialism earned him assaults of utmost virulence and accusations of anti-Semitism, however, sadly, his guide stays as topical because it was in 1954… When the “Regulation on the Constructive Points of Colonization” was handed in France, Césaire himself publicly invited the deputies of the Palais-Bourbon to reread Discourse on Colonialism. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Jean-Pierre Karegeye: Concerning these accusations towards Césaire, a clarification is required. The Martinican poet by no means left room in his considering for the slightest ambiguity concerning the Holocaust. He spoke of colonial practices. He additionally had a common understanding of the situation of the Negro. In Pocket book of a Return to my Native Land, whereas asserting himself as a profound Negro, he identifies with all of the victims all around the world: “I’d be a jew-man, a Kaffir-man, a Hindu-man-from-Calcutta, a Harlem-man-who-doesn’t-vote.” In one other stanza, he desires to be “a pogrom-man.” I feel we have now to reread Césaire taking into consideration that his place to begin in addition to his tenet are primarily based on the situation of black individuals, racism towards blacks. His situation of “basic negro” opens him to the misfortunes of others. In 1998, he declared: “The negro can also be the Jew, the foreigner, the Native American, the illiterate, the untouchable …”. He thus understands the Jewish query nicely. Relatively, he exhibits that Europe has by no means repented its crimes and that the Holocaust is a end result of the thousand-year historical past of the West. By the way in which, Frantz Fanon reminds us Césaire, in his Black Pores and skin, White Masks, when he declares: “Anti-Semitism touches me within the flesh”. He additionally speaks of the Jew as ” a brother of misfortune.”

That mentioned, I’m tempted so as to add that the West usually evokes the Holocaust as if the crime had taken place elsewhere. Have you learnt, for instance, that the Christian West has lengthy accused the Jews of being a deicidal individuals? Lengthy earlier than the Holocaust, that’s to say from the seventh century till 1959, the Catholic Church would pray each Good Friday for “the perfidious/infidels Jews.”

Boubacar Boris Diop: Would you say at this time that studying Césaire has given you a greater understanding of the mechanics of genocide?

Jean-Pierre Karegeye: Here’s what I’d say. Césaire is necessary for analyzing the colonial genocide and for establishing the hyperlink between the genocide towards the Tutsi and the Negro situation. Césaire additionally allowed me to grasp the “pseudo-humanism” of the West and to understand that it has discovered nothing from the genocides which can be rooted, amongst different issues, within the dogma of a pure race. It’s also in Césaire’s work that we discover some situations of dialogue between the Holocaust and the Tutsi genocide. Aside from Césaire, the Holocaust literature and the historical past of anti-Semitism are, in my view, important for understanding the mechanisms of genocide.

There may be one other level that I wish to insist on, and it considerations researchers like Filip Reyntjens, who’re a part of the old-fashioned of thought and do nothing however recycle the “colonial library,” to cite Mudimbe right here. As stunning as it might appear to a rational thoughts, the Tutsi extermination mission was primarily based on the ethnological narratives of the final centuries which have established the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa as inert objects of scientific analysis. This isn’t clearly all of it, since some have been at their finest with the Habyarimana regime. As soon as once more, one should point out the Reyntjens, who co-wrote the Rwandan Structure, which was as vile because the one written by the supporters of apartheid in South Africa. Defeating such a regime additionally means deconstructing the condescending colonial considering that gave genocide ideological help. Old skool intellectuals like Reyntjens don’t settle for that the wheel of historical past has turned towards them. This new Rwanda through which they’ve misplaced all their privileges is just unacceptable for them. Many journalists and researchers exist solely by means of their ludicrous “invention” of Africa. Judi Rever, Robin Philpot and some others know completely nicely that with out their denial of the genocide, they might not exist. If the phrase “Rwanda” have been to be faraway from their writings, nothing can be left of them. They devise themselves by inventing Africa. Who nonetheless talks about Pierre Péan and Stephen Smith?

Boubacar Boris Diop: No one, in fact. There may be already nothing extra to say about these individuals. Allow us to now flip our consideration to the research of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda by African intellectuals. Should not we speak, of their case, about silence – an ungainly silence – reasonably than energetic genocide denial? By this I imply that if we depart the nations straight involved by the tragedy apart, Rwanda, DRC and Burundi, nearly no African mental has something to say concerning the topic. “Rwanda, writing as Obligation to Reminiscence,” that you simply talked about, is an exception, which needs to be put into perspective in lots of respects. In fact, even at this time, nearly thirty years later, after I converse of the genocide of the Tutsi in African universities, the youthful ones have completely no concept what it’s all about and their professors solely vaguely bear in mind some tv footage of the 1994 massacres, nothing extra. How can such an indifference be defined? I usually refer, out of desperation, to what Mongo Beti calls “the behavior of unhappiness.” It is sensible, however it isn’t sufficient. I consider that the shortcuts of Afro-pessimism are for a lot of within the picture that Africa displays to the world. No matter occurs on the continent is blamed on Africans’ congenital flaws and nearly by no means on particular social and political mechanisms. The Tutsi genocide is thus learn as a narrative of black individuals killing one another “as soon as once more,” for no different purpose than an atavistic style for blood. This implies: nothing new beneath the solar.

Jean-Pierre Karegeye: Your statement of African intellectuals is necessary, as a result of we have now our share of duty, if solely due to our silence throughout and after the genocide… I’m not a kind of who thinks that “saviors of the savages” are the only reason for all our issues. You additionally simply repeated what you wrote in Africa Past the Mirror, particularly – and I quote from reminiscence – that “among the many uncommon cries of indignation heard in the course of the genocide, hardly any got here from Africa.” In line with Eboussi Boulaga, this silence from African individuals is because of the truth that we’re not used to valuing our personal lives. The factor is, many African individuals have a disembodied studying of occasions that occur on the continent. What do African intellectuals take note of essentially the most? A speech by Macron on Francophonie or on Africa or a tweet by Trump on electoral fraud in the USA. These problem them rather more than matters like genocide denial, the non secular extremism that’s placing a number of African nations, the Anglophone query in Cameroon, the present warfare in Ethiopia…And I’m solely mentioning the battle zones.

Boubacar Boris Diop: In Rwanda particularly, how is the reconciliation course of going?

Jean-Pierre Karegeye: After its political and navy victory, the RPF by no means gave in to the slightest concept of revenge. The struggle towards genocide denial and genocidal ideologies is likely one of the pillars Rwandan reconstruction. One factor, as an illustration, that’s not talked about a lot is the abolition of the loss of life penalty in Rwanda in July 2007. In all places on the earth, such a step needs to be hailed as a victory for humanity; within the Land of a Thousand Hills, after a genocide, it’s merely distinctive. The profoundly humanistic and reconciling message is the next: extremists justified the extermination of multiple million Tutsi by the loss of life of a single particular person, President Habyarimana. The 2007 legislation, then again, merely signifies that even the extermination of 1 million harmless individuals doesn’t enable the killing of a single genocidaire.

I’m proud to see the Rwandan individuals defying destiny like they’re and echoing President Kagame’s basic selections, together with the three rules he listed on the twentieth Genocide Memorial: “to remain collectively, to be accountable to ourselves, and to assume huge.”

We are able to stay collectively and forgive with out erasing the previous as a result of, as George Santayana so rightly says, “those that can’t bear in mind the previous are condemned to repeat it and make the identical errors.” Commemorating the genocide can also be a technique to forestall it from taking place once more. I just like the Sankofa picture that comes from West Africa, I consider from the Akan tradition. This legendary hen that walks or flies with an egg in its beak and retains its head stubbornly turned in direction of the place it comes from. It’s a elegant image of the dialectical relationship between the previous and future.

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