Over 16 years after the genocide, Rwanda’s local communities remain severely affected by the experience of violence and attempts to overcome the legacy of this past represent a major challenge. Unsurprisingly, people who lived through the genocide against Tutsi and moderate Hutu, and through the 1990–94 war between the Habyarimana government and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), remember their past differently with their memories being informed by their role then and their current situation. However, the Rwandan memoryscape is not simply informed by recollection, it is also shaped by forgetting. Although at present the deliberate eclipsing of particular memories, what I term chosen amnesia, may be essential for enabling community cohesion and facilitating the coexistence necessary for the intimacy of rural life in Rwanda, it also impedes the social transformation that would render ethnicity-based violence impossible, as it prevents the social cleavages that allowed the genocide to occur from being challenged.
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- Between Pragmatism, Coercion and Fear: Chosen Amnesia after the Rwandan Genocide
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