The 1994 Rwandan Genocide (GSP 2:3)

The 1994 Rwandan Genocide (GSP 2:3)

ISSN: 1911-0359
E-ISSN: 1911-9933
This Journal is online at: GSP Online and Project MUSE
Price: $20.00
Theme Issues
The 1994 Rwandan Genocide Volume 2, Number 3 / November 2007

Fourteen years have passed since the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, during which an estimated 500,000 to 800,000 (or more) Tutsis and moderate Hutus died at the hands of extremists Hutus. Rwanda is still in the process of recovering from the genocide, which not only resulted in vicious and mass murder but virtually destroyed the country’s infrastructure. Like any nation reconstituting itself in the aftermath of genocide, Rwanda is experiencing growing pains. Survivors continue to suffer the ill effects of what they were subjected to, witnessed, and lost. Many of the women who were raped now have AIDS. Those who gave birth to what are commonly referred to as ‘‘rape babies’’ face additional psychological turmoil and, in many cases, are ostracized by neighbors, friends, and family members. Many of the babies have been maltreated, neglected, and even left to their own devices to eke out an existence on the streets. Orphans fill orphanages, where many of the youngest children are raised by the
‘‘older’’ (often teenage) orphans. Groups of widows have banded together to provide mutual support and get back on their feet while dealing with the absence of beloved husbands and children. Many individuals are so scarred by what they experienced and witnessed that they are not able to function and carry on normal lives. The medical and social-services communities are stretched so thin in attempting to provide assistance to those in need that people often fall through the cracks or simply do not receive the treatment they need in order to fully regain their health (whether physical or psychological). Some 100,000 alleged perpetrators still remain in Rwandan prisons. Three different court systems—the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (Arusha, Tanzania), the national courts of Rwanda, and gacaca
(the adaptation of precolonial mediation and reconciliation processes to try, today, those who are suspected of having carried out the killing and mass rapes) are currently in operation.
At the same time, Rwanda has made a remarkable comeback. The country is, for the most part, peaceful, and the people, for the most part, seem to get along, even if their daily dealings with one another—particularly between those who considered themselves Tutsi and those who considered themselves Hutu during the genocide—are often tentative, if not tenuous. The national government has mandated that Rwandan citizens are no longer Tutsi, Hutu, or Twa, as they were prior to and during the genocidal period, but ‘‘simply’’ Rwandans. Some, and possibly many, look askance at such a mandate, considering it naı¨ve at best and repressive at worst, but many others seem to believe that, over time, it may be the best way to prevent future incidents of mass violence. Time will tell. Over the past fourteen years a massive amount of scholarship (including journal articles and books) has been published on various facets of the Rwandan Genocide. Some of it has provided a clearer understanding of how genocide unfolds—in particular, how masses of people are induced to take part in the bloody and brutal killing of former neighbors, friends, and even loved ones.

This special issue on Rwanda includes three articles based on field research
conducted in the hills, fields, and towns of Rwanda. The first, ‘‘A Calamity in the Neighbourhood: Women’s Participation in the Rwandan Genocide,’’ is by Reva Adler, Cyanne E. Loyle, and Judith Globerman; the second, ‘‘Interethnic Marriages, (from Editor’s Introduction by Samuel Totten)

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