Memory, Identity, and Community in Rwanda

Timothy Longman and Théoneste Rutagengwa

Commemoration is necessary, and the work

of memory is indispensibleindispensable."

-Hutu Man, Butare, Rwanda

September 8, 2001

"Ahabaye inkovu hadasubirana."

"A wound does not heal completely."

-Rwandan proverb

Since taking power in Rwanda in July 1994, the Rwandan government dominated by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) has undertaken an ambitious program of social engineering intending to reshape Rwandan society to prevent future ethnic violence in the country. Believing that the 1994 genocide grew out of problems rooted deeply in Rwandan culture, the government has implemented a series of policies intended to foster a unified national identity, encourage respect for rule of law, create a socially responsible citizenry, and encourage a democratic political culture. The government has used trials, public addresses, commemorations and memorialization, school programs, re-education camps, and new changes in the national symbols to shape the collective memory of the Rwandan past, including the period of violence in the early 1990s, and thus to transform how Rwandans understand their social identities. By reinterpreting the country's history, the regime hopes to transform how Rwandans understand their social identities, to deconstruct ethnic identities and replace them with a unified national identity.

While the basic program of fostering national unity and fighting impunity has few critics, other political interests have in practice produced contradictory policies that have continued to create political tensions and to divide the country. While seeking to force the population to come to terms with the 1994 genocide, the government has dismissed accusations of its own engagement in war crimes and human rights abuses, creating a perception of a double standard that has fostered political tensions and further divided the country. Further, government leaders, most of whom come from the ranks of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), are motivated by a desire to stay in power, driven by a strong sense of their own moral rectitude and right to rule and a lingering distrust of the population and view remaining in power as imperative. This creates a situation in which the regime theoretically allows freedom of speech and assembly but in practice uses its authority to persecute using those rights to those who criticize its policies the regime or to organize peaceful opposition to it — or even to articulate a different vision for the country's future — becomes evidence of political irresponsibility and continued divisiveness. The regime has shown considerable intolerance of dissent, harassing, arresting, and even assassinating individuals it perceives see as challenging its control and thereby undermining its efforts to create national unity.

In this chapter, we present the findings of a two-year study of three communities in Rwanda which examined how the competing goals of the RPF-dominated regime are playing themselves out within the Rwandan people and the ways in which they remember the past. Our focus is on the relationship between memory and identity. Using a variety of research methods, we have studied three local communities over a two-year period to understand how the population is responding to the government's social policies. Our particular interest in this chapter is in the narratives of memory and their impact on social identities. In the first section, we present the "official" interpretation of Rwandan history, including recent events, and review the programs it has used to try to shape collective memory of Rwanda's past and the countervailing tendencies within government policy that send a contradictory message. We then turn to the data collected from ethnographic observation, survey research, individual interviews, and focus groups in the three communities to explore how Rwandans are themselves discussing what happened in their country in 1994, what caused the violence, how to achieve reconciliation, and what all of this means for group identities.

The Research Project

The research for this chapter was conducted at two levels. First, at the national level, we have monitored the local and international press, particularly the radio, for speeches, official statements, laws passed, and other official declarations,. We also have examined government reports and publications and other documents for indications of the official interpretations of Rwandan history's past. Interviews also were conducted with numerous governmental officials; political party leaders, religious leaders; and representatives of civil society, including human rights organizations; and survivors of the genocide and their organizations for genocide survivors, including ministers or other representatives from the Ministries of Local Government and Administration, Internal Security, Foreign Affairs, Youth, Sports, and Culture, Education, and Finance; the attorney general; members of the Supreme Court; the heads of the Electoral, Constitutional Reform, and Legal Reform Commissions; the leaders of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, the Rwandan Democratic Movement, the Social Democratic Party, and the Christian Democratic Party; representatives of the National Unity and Reconciliation and Human Rights Commissions; Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim religious leaders; and leaders of groups for human rights, economic development, genocide survivors, the Twa minority, women, and youth.

In addition to this national-level research, we have conducted local case studies of communes in the three study communities. that are representative of several of the important vectors of diversity in Rwandan society. Although an administrative reform in early 2001 created new local government units known as districts, we chose to work with the units, known as communes, that were in place at the time of the genocide, known as communes,[1] both because the political organization of the districts remained in flux throughout the period of our research and because the genocide was organized by commune. The three communes we studied–Ngoma, Mabanza, and Buyoga -- reflect the diversity of Rwanda according to region, level of urbanization, ethnic distribution, and experience during and after the genocide. and after. Ngoma is located in the south of the country and Rwanda’s second largest city, Butare, home to the national university. Ngoma was the commune for Butare, Rwanda's second largest city and home to the national university, and is located in the south of the country. Our other two case studies were in rural communes: The other two case studies were in the rural communes of Mabanza in the central-western prefecture of Kibuye, and Buyoga in the northern prefecture of Byumba.

These three communes also experienced the violence in 1994 in distinct ways. Since much of Buyoga was in the demilitarized zone that fell rapidly under RPF control, only a few sectors experienced genocide, but there were extensive massacres carried out by the RPF. Ngoma (Butare) experienced both the genocide and post-genocide massacres and revenge killings, while Mabanza experienced the genocide but, as part of the French controlled Zone Turquoise, few massacres or revenge killings. In addition, Finally, the ethnic composition of the communes is varied. Butare, as an urban center, has attracted many Tutsi refugees returning returned to Rwanda from exile, as well as many Tutsi genocide survivors from throughout the region. Mabanza has a substantial population of genocide survivors, but few repatriated Tutsi, while Buyoga has only a small number of Tutsi, whether survivors or repatriated refugees.[2]

In each of these communes, we employed a range of data collection methods. Focusing on a selection of sectors within each commune,[3] we interviewed 25-35 individuals in each community, and we conducted focus group interviews in each commune with genocide survivors, women, youth (18-30), and older adults (55 and older).[4] A total of 104 individuals participated in the focus groups. The survey discussed in chapter 8 focused on these three communes plus one additional commune, Mutura, in the nort, with at least 500 surveyed in teach community. The education project discussed in chapter 12 also covered schools either in these or in a neighboring commune in the same prefecture.) Finally, we conducted ethnographic observations in each community, including visits to genocide memorials, and massacre sites, gacaca trials, and polling stations.and observation of gacaca and of elections.

The research was affected by several limitations. Since the study covered only three communes, it obviously has certain geographic limitations. Even so, we believe it is representative of the Rwandan population as a whole. , but we felt it important to have greater depth in our research, and the communes were selected to represent the most important aspects of Rwandan social diversity. Moreover, the political climate, violence, and restriction of civil liberties in Rwanda at the time of the research hindered open discussion of certain politically sensitive topics in the individual interviews and focus groups. created the greatest limitations for the study. The topics discussed were politically sensitive, and although Rwanda has made some important advances toward the development of a democratic political system, civil liberties remain seriously restricted and politically motivated violence continues to stifle free expression. Hence, participants in both the interviews and the focus groups demonstrated some reluctance to speak frankly. We found this reluctance most pronounced in Buyoga, where RPF repression was most widely experienced. Nevertheless, the diversity of methodologies used and the fact that the research was activities were carried out by several distinct research teams created a wealth of data and helped to correct these limitations. that helped to correct for the politically sensitive nature of the topics discussed.

Creating an Official Memory

The Rwandan government program for reshaping Rwandan society grows out of a particular interpretation not only of the tragic events of the early 1990s but of the century of history that led up to the 1994 genocide. According to the historical interpretation promoted by the government, Rwandan society was essentially unified before the arrival of colonial rulers and the Catholic Church which transformed Hutu, Tutsi and Twa into three distinct ethnic groups.. Until then, these The categories Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa had limited social significance, representing mere occupational divisions but not status differences. The three groups were unified by religion, language, loyalty to one king, and social and economic interdependence. crosscutting clan membership, and the unifying influence of the king, and they lived in social and economic symbiosis. Conflicts that arose within the Rwandan kingdom largely reflected other lines of social demarcation such as clan. It was colonial rule and the Catholic Church that divided Rwanda's population and transformed Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa into ethnic identities.

According to the International Crisis Group, this official narrative is widely accepted by Tutsi who have returned to Rwanda since the genocide and now dominates the country’s post-genocide social, political, and intellectual life[5], and it can be found in a variety of documents. Many of this group of formerly exiled intellectuals now occupy university, governmental, and religious posts in Rwanda and have has undertaken the project of reinterpreting and rewriting Rwanda's history in various domestic publications, including the such as the journal Cahiers Lumiere et Societé published by the Dominican Center. These authors review the rich historiography of Rwanda for evidence of the essential unity of Rwanda's pre-colonial population and the role of colonialism in creating divisions. For example, in an article on "The Family as the Principle of Coherence in Traditional Rwandan Society," Déogratias Byanafashe writes of the consolidation of the state of Rwanda under the Nyiginga dynasty,

The result of this centralism and this uniformization of the management of the country was a consciousness of the population's unity. "One king, one law, one people," that was Rwanda in this pre-colonial "nyiginya" period. This step of development of the country was the supreme realization of Rwanda as a family whose members were named the Rwandans or Rwandan people. In fact, it required the recent colonial intervention to break this people into three sections called "ethnicities."[6]

A similar line is pursued in picked up in the report of a presidential commission entitled The Unity of Rwandans which formed that was part of the "Village Urugwiro" discussions on Rwanda's future held in 1998-1999. The authors, both politicians and intellectuals, write that:

The King was the crux for all Rwandans. … [A]fter he was enthroned, people said that "he was no umututsi anymore," but the King for the people. … In the programme of expanding Rwanda, there was no room for disputes between Hutus, Tutsi and Twas. The King brought all of them together.[7] … .

According to this narrative, the divisions imposed on Rwanda by colonial rule were the root cause of the 1994 genocide. In this narrative, the attacks against Tutsi that took place in 1959 that and began the exodus of Tutsi into exile were not a "revolution" as previously claimed but the first instance of genocide, and they are directly attributable to the cynical manipulations of Catholic missionaries and colonial administrators who wanted to guarantee continued influence even after formal independence.[8] In the 1960s,Tthe post-colonial governments continued to use ethnicity as a wedge, falsely teaching that Tutsi were foreign invaders who had always subjugated and exploited the Hutu majority. According to the current Rwandan government, these false teachings created hatred of the Tutsi among the Hutu, who came to view Tutsi as less human and less deserving of basic rights. At the same time, the authoritarian regimes encouraged obedience and docility from the population. In the view of the government, this combination of an ideology that fostered ethnic hatred and an obedient population were key to the 1994 genocide,[9] which is the defining event in the history of Rwanda and represents the culmination of the failed policies of international exploitation, ethnic division, and authoritarian government.

Given this interpretation of Rwandan history and the sources of genocide, the current Rwandan government elite believes reconciliation can only take place once requires the country to "recovers the national unity"[10] that existed in pre-colonial Rwanda. In short, the Rwandan people must People should reject the myth of ethnicity and, in the words of President Paul Kagame, instead put "Rwandan citizenship first."[11] This official view also holds that reconciliation also requires the development of a democratic political culture, so that people will think independently and be resistant to irresponsible leaders who want to manipulate them to undertake future ethnic violence. The Rwandan people need to develop "respect of human rights,"[12] which requires the population to take responsibility for their actions during the genocide and to judge those who participated in atrocities in order to fight impunity.

Since 1994, the government has introduced used a variety of social programs to promote these ideas. methods to promote these ideas. Solidarity camps, called ingando, have been established throughout the country for the "re-education" of , are intensive re-education programs that politicians, entering university students, returned refugees, and released prisoners, among others. , who have been required to attend for one to three months. In addition to providing paramilitary training, the camps use spend much time discussing Rwandan history and the genocide, as participants are encouraged through a teaching method that emphasizes leading questions and discussions similar to a Maoist struggle session in an effort to encourage participants to embrace the government interpretation of Rwandan history and the genocide. the past. Memorials at massacre sites and annual commemorations also are used to preserve the memory of the genocide and to show the dangerous results of ethnic divisions. In a number of massacre sites, bodies of victims have been left exposed, displayed either in the rooms where the massacres took place or in semi-enclosed tombs. Each year, a national gathering is held on April 7 at one of these sites, where the president and other dignitaries present speeches about the genocide and how to avoid similar future tragedies. An annual national Day of Heroes highlights courageous individuals, primarily those who have fought ethnic division. Trials, both at the national and local level, national trials and the new gacaca courts, are important tools for asserting the reprehensibility of the genocide and the demonstrating that persecuting Tutsi has negative consequences.[13] The government in 2001 adopted a new flag, new national anthem, and new national seal, claiming that the old national symbols had associations with the genocide and new symbols could mark a break with the past.[14]

 

Contrary Tendencies

While the desires to promote national unity and foster responsible citizenship have motivated many government policies, other interests have tempered the government's social agenda. The RPF leadership has a strong desire to hold onto power, which pushes them to maintain tight control on the political system even as the government creates limited democratic openings. They see themselves as enlightened leaders who liberated Rwanda from tyranny and ended the genocide, and they regard criticism and disagreement as indicators of a lack of political maturity and a continuing "divisionist" ethic. While supporting free political choice in principle, the regime is not yet confident in the population. In practice the only choice that can demonstrate the population's maturity for democracy is to choose the RPF. These concerns lead the government to continue to use considerable political repression and to retain tight control on the inner circles of power, even as they talk about democracy and civil rights and maintain a government that appears diverse on the surface.[15]

The government is particularly sensitive to implications that it is itself guilty of human rights abuses or that it is discriminatory. Although abundant evidence implicates the RPF for carrying out massacres as it advanced across Rwanda in 1994, in the months immediately after taking power, and in its two military incursion in Congo,[16] the government vociferously rejects any suggestion that it has engaged in systematic human rights abuses. Government officials claim that such abuses were carried out by renegade troops in violation of official RPF policy whatever abuses their troops may have engaged in were in opposition to official policy, were not systematic, and have been dealt with already by the RPF and, as such, , thus they have no moral equivalency to the genocide.[17] While maintaining numerous genocide memorial sites, there is not a single site commemorating the victims of RPF massacres, though research clearly indicates that tens of thousands of people were killed in such attacks.. Government officials rarely, if ever, refer to RPF massacres in their speeches, and very few trials for involvement in massacres of those allegedly responsible have been held. Moreover, the gacaca courts are expressly forbidden from treating cases of human rights abuses allegedly perpetrated by the RPF or its supporters.

Those who criticize the RPF for its human rights abuses or for its perceived record of exclusion are accused of sowing division and brutally silenced. For example, when the organization for survivors Ibuka began to articulate criticisms of the regime for failing to adequately address the needs of survivors, one of the group leaders was assassinated and all of the other leaders fled the country under threat. More recently, the former president Pasteur Bizimungu was harassed and then arrested after he criticized the RPF for being the cabal of a small minority and formed a new political party that he claimed would be truly inclusive. His party was banned and Bizimungu and those associated with him were thrown in prison. Such actions inhibit These issues challenge the discourse about the war and how to achieve reconciliation, so they RPF tries hard to squelch them, even if their actions contradict their own assertions about how to avoid future violence.[18]

The conduct of presidential elections on August 25, 2003, was revealing. While three candidates were officially allowed to challenge the RPF candidate, President Paul Kagame, in practice these candidates were harassed and prevented from campaigning. While RPF rallies were held throughout the country, other candidates were denied permits to hold public assemblies. Former Prime Minister Faustin Twagiramungu, a moderate Hutu who returned to the country to run for the presidency, was the target of a smear campaign in the state-dominated press, was prevented from running as the candidate of his former political party, and found himself unable to meet with the population. Observers were prevented from monitoring the polling places, and the population widely reported feeling intimidated to vote for Kagame. In the end, the Electoral Commission announced that Kagame won the poll with over 95 percent of the vote.

Popular Narratives of Memory

While the RPF-dominated government has a clear agenda regarding how they want the population to understand the Rwandan past, this agenda is challenged both by contradictions in the RPF’s own program and by the experience of the population which does not always coincide with the official interpretation. Since the Rwandan government is plainly invoking Rwanda’s history selectively and with obvious political intent, Rwanda presents an interesting case study of to study the limits of a government’s ability to shape the collective memory of its citizenry.

Rwandan History

Presenting a detailed account of Rwandan historiography is beyond the scope of this chapter. It is important to note, however, that the account of Rwanda's past offered by most specialists in Rwandan history differs substantially not only from the history taught by those in power prior to 1994 but also from the version of history promulgated by the current regime and its supporters. The pre-1994 governments taught a version of history developed during the colonial era that claimed that the Twa, Hutu, and Tutsi were distinct racial groups that had migrated into Rwanda at different times. The idea that the Tutsi were foreign invaders who had conquered Rwanda several centuries earlier and had since oppressed and exploited the larger Hutu population was a key element in the ideology used to promote the 1994 genocide.[19]

The account of history promulgated by the current regime and its supporters, however, also differs substantially from the view shared by most historians. These differences suggest the degree to which current interpretations of the Rwandan past are also being shaped by ideological considerations, albeit an ideology that may be intended to promote national unity rather than division. For example, the current regime argues that Rwanda was historically unified and that ethnic divisions only emerged during colonial rule, despite substantial evidence to the contrary challenges the idea of the essential unity of precolonial Rwanda.[20] Contrary to the preferred narrative, very few scholars would support the idea that Rwanda was represented a nation-state prior to colonial rule,[21] given the diversity of regional and other identities and the complexity of political arrangements. On ethnicity, the scholarly community is more divided. Nearly all scholars agree that the meaning of Hutu and Tutsi as social categories changed during the colonial period, but many scholars reject the idea that colonial rulers "created" ethnic categories. Catharine Newbury, for example, has demonstrated how the last precolonial regime used ethnic differentiation as a means of dividing and dominating the population of regions being integrated into the Rwandan kingdom.[22], while Meanwhile, Jan Vansina, the dean of Rwandan historians, goes so far as to assert that armed conflicts in the late precolonial period took on an ethnic character.[23] As one of the authors has argued elsewhere, the key impact of colonial rule on identities in Rwanda was to racialize them and remove their mutability.[24]

Despite the contested nature of the historical narrative currently being promoted, we found that the population was remarkably familiar with the narrative. When asked their impression of Rwandan history and of the development of ethnic conflict, most study participants research subjects overwhelmingly reported said that Rwandans were historically unified and that it was colonial rule that had divided them. This discussion in a focus group of youths was typical:

Questioner: Is it true that ethnicity played a role in the genocide?

Speaker 1: Yes, because in times past, there was no ethnicity. Everyone was called Rwandan. The policies of the Whites sowed the problem of ethnicity, the origin of the segregation of Rwandans. If there had been no ethnicity, there would have been no genocide.

Speaker 2: Wherever a Rwandan is, he should be considered as a Rwandan, not as a Tutsi or Hutu.

Speaker 3: In historic Rwanda, there was no ethnicity, but the herders were designated as Tutsi and the farmers as Hutu. And when a herder, that is to say a Tutsi, became poor, when his cattle disappeared, he was called a Hutu and vice versa for Hutu who became rich, they were called Tutsi.[25]

An older Tutsi man, a repatriated refugee, offered a similar explanation:

In fact, the colonizers wanted to practice in Rwanda the politics of "divide and rule." They wanted to destabilize the unity of Rwandans so that they would not be able to achieve the independence of their country one day. … It is in this sense of destabilizing Rwandans that the priests raised to power Mr. Kayibanda and his PARMEHUTU, with its divisive politics.[26]

Despite widespread familiarity with the government’s current "politically- correct narrative" of Rwandan history, participants respondents rarely volunteered historical explanations for the genocide unless asked specifically about history and ethnicity. While the government regards politicians regard the genocide as deeply rooted in Rwandan history, our respondents were more likely to blame the genocide on immediate causes, such as bad politicians and greed. This divergence may be explained in part by the different attitudes toward the role of ideology. While the current regime sees ideology as a key factor that inspired popular participation in the genocide, the people we interviewed saw the genocide as an affair more of the elite, with people participating primarily out of fear and ignorance. People generally agreed that the previous regime had taught a biased version of history that encouraged ethnic hatred and division, but they did not volunteer this as a major cause of the genocide, at least not at the local level.

Furthermore, while most respondents were able to present an account of the government’s current official narrative of Rwandan history, many also expressed skepticism about how history is interpreted and used by those in power. For example, one 50-year-old man in a Kibuye focus group said after a long discussion of Rwanda's history:, "The reason for our preoccupation [with history] is that whoever achieves power wants to refashion the history of Rwanda. There is not consensus and no general national vision."[27] In our survey, 49.2% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement "Whoever is in power rewrites Rwandan history to serve their own interests," while only 21.7% disagreed or strongly disagreed.

The War and Genocide

Explaining the nature and the causes of the violent events that took place in Rwanda in the early 1990s was a major focus of both interviews and focus groups. We asked about the specific events that took place in each community as well as the participants' interpretation of the events at a national level. We found that survivors of the genocide, most of whom were Tutsi, held a substantially different view of the genocide than the Hutu. For example, when we asked "Can you explain in your own words what happened in Rwanda in 1994," genocide survivors almost universally invoked the Kinyarwanda phrase that the government and survivors' organizations have adopted for genocide, itsemba bwoko, literally "to decimate an ethnic group," an expression that did not exist in Kinyarwanda prior to 1994. Hutu were more likely to refer to intambara, the war, ubwicanyi, the killings, or more vaguely ibyabaye, the happenings, or amahano, horror or tragedy. They tended to employ itsemba bwoko, if at all, only secondarily. Some Hutu mentioned as well itsemba tsemba, massacres, implying massacres of Hutu, which very few Tutsi, whether survivors or repatriated Tutsi refugees, mentioned. Nevertheless, the language of most interview subjects regardless of ethnicity indicated awareness of the official explanation of events. One man's response is typical: "They've said that it was a genocide and massacres, so I call it like that as well."[28]

While the official genocide discourse on the genocide emphasizes the mass nature of the violence, participants in our three case study communities interpreted the violence as an affair of the elite, particularly national leaders, while de-emphasizing the role of popular participation. Many people claimed that they had no way of knowing what happened, because they were simple farmers or poor people. Some claimed, like one woman in Mabanza, "Only God knows the reasons. Those who did these things know the reasons."[29] Among those who offered explanations, several factors came up repeatedly. Political explanations for the violence were most common. Many participants mentioned the expansion of political party activity in the 1990-1994 period as something that divided the country and created instability. For example, one young man in Butare explained, "It all got worse with multiparty politics. Then the different members of the political parties confronted each other often and in most cases, this had an ethnic connotation. They said that there were parties of Hutu and those of Tutsi fanatics of the RPF who were in war against the Habyarimana regime."[30] Others talked about the greed for power and "bad governance" in general.

When discussing their own communities, study participants almost universally said that the violence initially came to their community from elsewhere[31]. In Butare, people claimed that the violence began with the arrival of presidential guard troops from Kigali and the intervention of interim president Théodore Sindikubwabo. In Mabanza, people insisted that there had not been militia training and claimed that local violence began with attacks of militia groups from other communes. Many people attributed the violence to the Bakiga, literally, people from the North, a term used derisively to refer to unsophisticated mountain folk, in this case referring to people from Ramba and Gaseke communes in President Habyarimana's home prefecture Gisenyi and to Rutsiro, the Kibuye commune bordering Gisenyi. For example, pPeople in the community of Rubengera reported that the violence began with attacks of pillaging groups that drove Hutu and Tutsi alike from their homes. In Buyoga, people saidclaimed that soldiers fleeing from the RPF's advance on the town of Byumba brought the violence into their commune.[32] Genocide survivors sometimes spoke about the violence beginning with anti-Tutsi massacres in 1959, 1963, and 1973, while most Hutu asserted that ethnic relations were peaceful in their community prior to 1994 — or at least prior to 1990 — and that only the intervention of outside forces led to violence.

While portraying the violence as organized by national elites and initiated by outside groups, most people we interviewed did not deny that people in their communities ultimately did participate in the genocide, but the degree to which they held the local population responsible varied. Genocide survivors were more likely to emphasize local participation and to hold the local population responsible. An, as an exchange between a Hutu man and a Tutsi survivor in one of the focus groups demonstrates this point:

First speaker (Hutu): "The fact that the situation went on for two months showsmade it so that some people from Rubengera [Mabanza], who were weak in spirit, of course, in the end were implicated in the massacres. But the population at the beginning refused to give into temptations."

Second speaker (Tutsi): "I find all the same that we should not minimize too much the role played by the local population in the massacres. There was also a certain complicity evident on the part of some people, because the killers from, for example, Gisenyi or Rutsiro couldn't have known the Tutsi in the Gacaca Sector if people hadn't served to indicate them. That is a sign of the previous existence of a certain mistrust, of interethnic hatred in Rubengera."[33]

Many respondents blamed popular participation ason simple "evil" or "meanness." Others discussed the ignorance of the population, which allowed them to be misled by corrupt authorities. Participantseople claimed that many people were intimidated by authorities into participateding in the killings, for fear of being labeled ibiyitso, accomplices, by the authorities. According to the participants, other factors that contributed to the genocide included radio broadcasts[34] encouraging Hutus to kill their Tutsi neighbors and a general sense of insecurity caused by the displacement of Tutsis fleeing the genocide and Hutu fleeing the advance of the RPF who spread rumors about the RPF attacks. Participantseople also identified greed and poverty as major factors driving participation. For example, an older man in Mabanza claimed that some people exposed their Tutsi neighbors or joined in the killing in exchange for food or calabashes of beer.[36] Significantly, however, few people mentioned hatred of Tutsi as a cause for the genocide. Consistent with the claim that ethnic relations were good prior to the genocide, Hutu in particular tended to attribute the anti-Tutsi violence to non-ideological causes.

One significant variation from the official narrative of events was the role that the RPF invasion of Rwanda played in creating a climate where genocide was possible. Many people we interviewed identified the RPF invasion that began in 1990 and the desire for Tutsi refugees to return to Rwanda as an important causal factor. A woman in Butare, for example, claimed that the genocidal spirit began "with the entry of the RPF into the history of Rwanda."[37] In our survey, when asked to describe what happened in Rwanda in 1994, 10.8% of the survey respondents participants chose the response "The RPF waged war against Rwanda." When asked to choose the principle cause of the violence in 1994, 9.2% chose the RPF invasion. It is surprising that people would select these responses, given their controversial nature, but it reflects a widely held sentiment held by many Rwandans that the RPF itself bears some of the blame for the violence that has occurred in Rwanda.

 

Justice, Commemoration, and Reconciliation

The vast majority of study participants The people in our case study communities were nearly unanimous in the perception that Rwanda needed is in need of reconciliation, and they generally shared a common understanding that of the meaning of reconciliation was an effort to bring together victims and the victimizers in order to rebuild community . They disagreed sharply, however, on how reconciliation can be achieved. While nearly everyone agreed that those responsible for the genocide should be investigated and tried and that with the two basic elements of judging those who had done wrong and the need for those who committed offenses to admit their errors publicly and to receive forgiveness, they differed over how these practices should be operationalized. Participants also Furthermore, people disagreed about the effect of commemoration and memorialization, and the need to change the flag, national anthem, and national seal.

As one older man told us, "Reconciliation is part of Rwandan culture. It is for forgetting the wrong committed or suffered. Without this, Rwandans will arrive at nothing." [38] The word for reconciliation in Kinyarwanda is ubwuyonge, which comes from the same root used to discuss setting a broken bone, and this Rwandan concept of bringing together people whose relations have been ruptured is widely shared among the people we interviewed. As one survivor in Kibuye explained, "Reconciliation is the fact that those who did wrong ask forgiveness to those whom they offended and thus the two parties renew their social relations as before."[39] People understand reconciliation to be bringing together the victims and the victimizers in order to rebuild community.

While most participants there is general agreement on the concept of reconciliation, there are subtle differences in how Tutsi survivors and Hutu understand the means of bringing people together. The support for trials of the accused were as a necessary part of the reconciliation process,[40] is extremely high, but they expressed marked differences on the role of trials depending if they were Hutu or genocide survivors. There are actually three concepts here, I think. The first is reconciliation and what it requires, the second is forgiveness and the third is the role of trials.[41]there are marked differences in how each group interprets the role of trials. For survivors, the act of admitting the wrong done and asking forgiveness is essential. Some genocide survivors expressed concern that they are called upon simply to forgive, while they feel it is important for people who did wrong to ask forgiveness:

The problem is that they ask us for reconciliation. It is true that it is necessary, because we can't continue with cyclical massacres. But you feel bad when you see those who killed your family strolling around with impunity. I say this, because it is the case for me. I lost all my family in the genocide. My home was destroyed, and I live badly. But I feel bad when I know that the author of all this lives in Kigali. I know that [when he visits] he arrives at night and leaves early the next day [to avoid arrest]. How can I reconcile with him when he doesn't come to ask my forgiveness or at least to reimburse my goods that he destroyed?

For many survivors said, the role of judicial action was important primarily insofar as it brings people to account for the wrongs they committed and facilitates the process of compensation. They also expressed concern that they were called upon simply to forgive, when it should be those who carried out the killing who should ask for forgiveness:

The problem is that they ask us for reconciliation. It is true that it is necessary, because we can't continue with cyclical massacres. But you feel bad when you see those who killed your family strolling around with impunity. I say this, because it is the case for me. I lost all my family in the genocide. My home was destroyed, and I live badly. But I feel bad when I know that the author of all this lives in Kigali. I know that [when he visits] he arrives at night and leaves early the next day [to avoid arrest]. How can I reconcile with him when he doesn't come to ask my forgiveness or at least to reimburse my goods that he destroyed?[42]

Many survivors seemed less interested in the punishment of those who killed their families and destroyed their homes than in having them come forward and admit their wrong. Survivors also express considerable interest in compensation, both because this is consistent with historical practices of reconciliation in Rwanda and because of the dire economic circumstances in which many survivors live. (Naomi Roht Arriaza examines the role of reparations in post-war societies in Chapter ----.). Survivors expressed generally negative attitudes toward trials in classical courts because they neither require penitence on the part of the convicted, nor facilitate face-to-face contact between the victims and their victimizers or a , and lack means for providing compensation., survivors expressed generally negative attitudes toward trials. In contrast, many survivors felt that gacaca could encourage positive confrontation with the accused and could help bring reparations, though many expressed concerns about gacaca as proposed. At the same time, a substantial number of survivors we interviewed also expressed support for seeing those who had wronged them punished, but this generally seemed a secondary concern.

Meanwhile, the Hutu in general expressed greater support for judicial action whether in classical or gacaca courts. , but they emphasized the role that trials, whether in classical courts or gacaca courts, could play in releasing the innocent. When they spoke of judging the guilty, many Hutu seemed to emphasized the need to individualize guilt by the importance of identifying those who were actually responsible for the wrong done and thereby eliminating collective guilt. Their principal concern, however, was the release of the innocent. Many Hutu spoke of the need for wrong doers those who did wrong to come forward and to ask forgiveness, but they tended to see forgiveness as something of an obligation for survivors. At the same time, only very few Hutu saw a relationship between reparations and reconciliation. This was confirmed in the survey, very few Hutu spoke of reparations or compensation as an aspect of reconciliation. Only 25.6% of Hutu respondents agreed or strongly agreed that trials should be concerned with providing reparations.

Study participants Respondents were deeply divided over the role impact of genocide memorials and commemorations played in on reconciliation. Many said they expressed a belief that memorials and commemoration served an important function in keeping alive the memory of the violence that Rwanda had experienced. The comments of genocide survivors in a focus group in Butare, were typical:

Speaker 1: You can't forget the genocide and its consequences. These are living facts of what was committed in the light of day. Children who are born today ought to learn that Rwanda experienced a massacre and that it is bad. Forgetting is not possible., but I want commemoration to continue and to be done regularly.

Speaker 2: Another thing is that the fact of remembering our innocent victims is in itself a moral obligation. One should construct and manage memorial sites in a more impressive fashion, in a fashion where everyone would notice and understand their significance.[43]

Others, however, expressed objections to such commemoration on several grounds. Some felt that memorialization was divisive, filling survivors with anger and Hutu with fear and shame. For example, one woman in Butare whose children died of disease in a refugee camps in Zaire reports,

For me, to commemorate the genocide, I don't find it useful. Even those who did not see the genocide [implying the repatriated Tutsi], when they talk about it all the time, it makes it seem like it will happen again. … When others go to the site to commemorate, I stay home and think about what I have lost. What happened to me has no place in this [official] commemoration, because my children died differently and elsewhere.[44]

Others expressed concern that continually reminding people of what happened keeps injuries fresh and prevents victims — and the society — from moving on. For example, one woman in Butare claimed, "The commemoration done each year could damage the process [of reconciliation]. Hearts remain injured with this repeated commemoration."[45] Interestingly, while Tutsi were generally more supportive of commemoration and memorialization, attitudes did not break down clearly along ethnic lines. For example, a genocide survivor in Kibuye offers similar concerns about commemoration:. "To continue to talk about what happened risks infecting your children, who didn't even see it. It is better that they don't hear that there were others who killed with machetes."[46] In the survey, we found a significant difference between Hutu and Tutsi in their attitudes toward memory, with 70.1% of Hutu agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement, "It is better to try to forget what happened and move on," compared with 43.4% of Tutsi who agreed or strongly agreed.

While participants in the focus groups debated the merits of commemoration, they also impart diverse meanings to commemorations and memorial sites. Survivors almost universally believed that these events and sites were intended to honor their suffering and loss. Meanwhile, Hutu, meanwhile, were divided in their interpretations. Some expressed anger or frustration over the one-sided nature of commemoration which focused , that focuses on the suffering of Tutsi while ignoring the suffering of Hutu.[47] Others recognized that the sites focus on the Tutsi but feel that this is just, given what happened in the country. [48] Many other Hutu simply interpret the commemorations and memorials in an inclusive fashion. For example, a Hutu woman in Rubengera Kibuye whose husband was in prison under accusations of participation in the genocide explained:

Personally, I commemorate what happened. I think I have suffered like others have suffered. I suffer because I can't raise my children well. … (Not sure I understand what is being said in this sentence.)I find that what I had happen has a place in the commemorations, because we commemorate the suffering that everyone suffered. If it hadn't been for the war, we wouldn't have suffered.[49]

An older man in the same community expressed a similar generalized interpretation of commemoration. "We should not forget that a genocide was committed against members of the Tutsi ethnic group and that thousands of innocent Hutu also died are dead in exile in Zaire. It is thus necessary each time to remember this, so that such filth is never reproduced."[50]

People were also divided over the changes of the national symbols. Many survivors made claims similar to those of government officials[51] that the old national seal, which contained a machete, brought back negative memories of the machetes used to kill during the genocide, and that the mention of ethnicity in the national anthem was dangerous, and many Hutu were sympathetic. Others, however, regarded the changes as a cynical political manipulation with little serious impact on the society, as this participant said.:

Personally, I find that Rwanda risks continuing to have problems if each politician who gets into power has to change all the symbols of the country. I am afraid that what we praise today will be repudiated by another regime! I don't even see why they changed the symbols. I find that Rwandans are used to accepting whatever the authorities decide. As for myself, I would hope that Rwandans would adopt the only and the same symbols once and for all! We need something lasting.[52]

 

Memory, Identity, and Culture

Our research with the population in three local communities in Rwanda provides a mixed picture of the Rwandan government’s ability of the government to reshape memory and culture after mass violence. On the one hand, we found that the government has done a very good job of disseminating its message about Rwandan history and culture. People we interviewed were widely aware of the government's interpretation of Rwanda's essential unity in the precolonial era and the artificiality of ethnic identities. They also knew the new term used for genocide, and nearly everyone condemned spoke to condemn the violence. that took place. On the other hand, many people felt seemed to feel that the ruling elite were manipulating remembrance of the genocide calls to remember the genocide and to come together for national unity to maintain have been cynically manipulated by the ruling elite who are more concerned with their own positions of power rather than with truly unifying the country. People felt severely constrained in their ability to discuss openly the social and political situation in Rwanda. As one person in Kibuye told us:, "We can't speak freely, only in whispers. It is this fear that stays in people's hearts. They are afraid that if they speak about ethnicity, they may be accused of supporting hostilities."[53] A few participants, small number of people we interviewed, particularly genocide survivors, openly criticized were willing to criticize the current regime directly, but most others challenged the regime only indirectly. Participants often In our interviews, people often prefaced their responses with statements such as "we have been told" or "I have heard on the radio," while later in the interview they responses later in the interviews revealed that their own ideas about history, ethnicity, reconciliation, and other issues were not in complete accord with the official positions.

Ultimately, it becomes clear that while the current regime has been able to dominate public discourse about what went wrong in Rwanda and how to achieve reconciliation, alternative narratives are being formed privately. The regime's attempts to fashion a collective memory of the violence of 1994 war and genocide have been undermined by the perception that the presentation of the past is self-serving. Most people publicly espouse essential elements of the official discourse, yet they mix it with elements drawn from the discourse of the previous regime or from their own experience.

For example, Indeed, ethnicity clearly remains a central factor for Rwandan social identity. Some study participants people with whom we spoke sincerely and forcefully reject ethnic differentiation because of the suffering that it has brought upon the country. Yet for many, ethnicity remains central. As one older woman in Kibuye said, "It is true that in the official documents like the identity card, the ethnic label has been eliminated. Yet the truth is that this ethnic label remains in people's hearts."[54] Many Hutu resent the fact that their experience of suffering is excluded from official discourse.

There will be no reconciliation between Hutu and Tutsi, because Tutsi have a tendency to see themselves as the only survivors, the only victims of the genocide. When a Hutu dares to say that he is also a victim, he is quickly blamed and made to feel uneasy. So, how can there be reconciliation in such a situation?[55]

Even those who sought to reject ethnic labels found it difficult to leave them behind. Several times in our interviews, participants when we interviewed people they would refuse to give their ethnic identity, claiming that ethnicity no longer exists. Y, yet later in the interview when we asked if they had relatives from another ethnic group, they would freely volunteer that they had a Hutu sister-in-law or a Tutsi mother.

Continuing ethnic consciousness does not necessarily mean that ethnic hatred remains strong or an ideology of ethnic division continues to hold sway. Instead, it may reflect the fact that people continue to relate to society differently depending upon their ethnic background. Certainly, Hutu and Tutsi experienced the violence in 1994 very differently. But the substantial divergence in responses in our research between Hutu and Tutsi, especially the survivors, provides in itself evidencesuggests strongly? that the two groups continue to experience the current situation differently.

In post-genocide Rwanda, Tutsi genocide survivors generally feel more free to speak, but many of them feel that they lack real influence in a regime that is dominated by former refugees who were not in Rwanda at the time of the genocide. They also Many survivors feel that the government is not adequately addressing many social and economic problems, including the problems such as insecurity and poverty. that they face are not being adequately addressed. Most Hutu feel limited in their ability to speak freely, particularly to express criticisms, because of fears that they will be accused of participating in the genocide or of promoting division. Those who have dared to claim publicly that the regime is exclusionary and favors a particular ethnic group have faced dire consequences, as with the case of former President Pasteur Bizimungu who was denounced and then arrested.

The current government’s repressive tactics undermine attempts to democratize the attempt to change Rwanda’sthe country's political culture. Rather than creating responsible citizens, the regime is in some ways encouraging the type of obedience that was a factor in public participation in the genocide. One young man's ethnic self-identification is a troubling indication of the degree to which Rwandans may seek to follow the messages they are told:. According to him, "When I was still in athe refugee camps in Zaire, they told us that we were Hutu. Today on returning to my country, they say that there are no longer Hutu nor Tutsi. So, it is perhaps best to say that I was Hutu until January 1997, and I am Rwandan since I returned to Rwanda."[56] Whether he actually believes that his identity has changed is unclear, however, his effort to adapt to the message of the regime — at least publicly — is common to many of the people we interviewed.

Yet if people still find that ethnicity is important, they also do not see it as the continuing source of their conflicts. We found the vast majority of participants wanted an overwhelming desire on the part of those we interviewed to find means to avoid future ethnic conflicts, and many of the people felt that the population, if left to its own devices, would be able to achieve reconciliation and maintain peace. As one older man in Kibuye claimed:

We folks in the countryside, we have already achieved our reconciliation. The survivors and others share everything together and have even started marrying one another again. But at the same time, we see problems at the top. The ruling class has not arrived at reconciliation even though it is at the base of this war that has ravaged Rwanda. It [the ruling class] ought to shine as an example. It is enough to hear all the time of someone going into exile, that some other has been arrested, to see that they still need to reconcile at the top. We here have no problems.[57]

Indeed, our survey found that In our survey, 76.7% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, "If Rwandan leaders would leave the population to themselves, there would be no more ethnic problems."

Conclusion

It is too early to know the long-term impact of the Rwandan government’s efforts to shape memory, identity, and culture in Rwanda. If public discourse remains strictly controlled, it may be that younger generations will be more thoroughly influenced, particularly if programs such as solidarity camps continue to be implemented.[58] However, if leaders act in ways that seem to contradict their own arguments and interpretations, the effect of their efforts at social engineering seems likely to be reduced. If , for example, the government continues to act in ways that some see as ethnically discriminatory or exclusionary, people will fail to be convinced that ethnicity no longer exists. If the government continues to call on the people to take responsibility for their actions during the genocide, but yet fails to take responsibility for its own war crimes and human rights abuses, people will likely continue to mouth the messages of justice and unity in public while privately decrying continuing injustice and inequality. Clearly, the case of Rwanda indicates that a government can effectively dominate the discourse of memory and reconciliation. It is yet to be proven, however, whether this domination can create a collective memory or bring about reconciliation.

 

[1] Until 2001, Rwanda was divided into 12 prefectures with each prefecture divided into communes, sectors, and cells. The 2001 reforms changed the name of the regional units to provinces but with few changes to their territorial limits, while the 165 communes were consolidated into 106 districts. Sectors and cells were not changed as sub-communal political units.

[2] In our survey, Ngoma was 54.9% Tutsi, 42.7% Hutu, and 14.7% other or no response; Mabanza was 81.4%, 15.7% Tutsi, and 15.9% other or no response; Buyoga was 6.6% Tutsi, 88.0% Hutu, 14.0% other or no response.

[3] We focused our research in the sectors of Cyarwa-Cyimana, Cyarwa-Sumo, and Matyazo in Ngoma; Rubengera, Gacaca, Nyarugenge, and Kibirizi in Mabanza; and Zoko, Mutete, Muranzi, and Burenga in Buyoga.

[4] We conducted four focus groups in Buyoga and Mabanza but five in Butare.

[5] We realize that this assertion is controversial, and we do not mean to imply that no efforts have been made at inclusion of various segments of the Rwandan population. However, both because of the death or exile of many people who were in Rwanda in 1994 and because of the continuing hold on power of the RPF, repatriated Tutsi do hold most of the key posts in the government, industry, education, and religious institutions. Cf., International Crisis Group, "Rwanda at the End the Transition: A Necessary Political Liberalisation," Brussels: International Crisis Group, November 13, 2002, which includes an annex of the key figures in Rwandan politics and society.

[6] Déogratias Byanafashe, "La famille comme principe de coherence de la societé rwandaise traditionelle," Cahiers Lumière et Societé, no. 6, August 1997, pp. 3-26, citation p. 20. This and all translations from French done by the authors.

[7] Republic of Rwanda, Office of the President of the Republic, The Unity of Rwandans: Before the Colonial Period and Under Colonial Rule; Under the First Republic, Kigali, August 1999, p. 6.

[8] The Unity of Rwandans, for example, seeks to demonstrate the hand of the church in writing the 1957 "Hutu Manifesto," an important document in the assertion of Hutu social and political rights. Ibid., pp. 42-46. Similarly, Jean Nizurugero Rugagi, "Décolonisation et démocratisation du Rwanda," Cahiers Lumière et Societé, no 7, October 1997, pp. 43-54, completely denies any Hutu initiative in the move toward political influence. "The Administration needed practical arguments to turn the masses away from the Tutsi authorities at to attract their sympathy at the same time. The ploy was not difficult to invent. It was only necessary to create popular discontent and to create at the same time voices that directed this discontent on the backs of the Tutsi authorities" (p. 49).

[9] Cf., Paul Rutayisire and Bernardin Muzungu, "L'ethnisme au coeur de la guerre," Cahiers Centre Saint-Dominique, no. 1, August 8, 1995, pp. 68-82; Antoine Mugesera, "A l'origine de la desintegration de la nation rwandaise," Les CahiersEvangile et Societé, June 1996, pp. 46-58; and the December 1996 issue of Les CahiersEvangile et Societé devoted to "Les ideologies."

[10] Office of the President The Unity of Rwandans, p. 64.

[11] Ibid., p. 63.

[12] Ibid., p. 63.

[13] For statements of the government position on trials, see Gerald Gahima, Attorney General, "Re-establishing the Rule of Law and Encouraging Good Governance," address to 55th Annual DPI/NGO Conference, New York, September 9, 2002; Richard Sezibera, Rwandan Ambassador to the US, "The Only Way to Bring Justice to Rwanda," The Washington Post, April 7, 2002.

[14] The Minister of Local Administration, for example, told us that it was decided to change the national symbols, "because not all Rwandans found themselves in these symbols," and because they symbolized negative things and encouraged division. Interview in Kigali, June 8, 2002.

[15] International Crisis Group, "Rwanda at the End of Transition," presents a detailed account not only of the harassment of non-RPF politicians and civil society members but of the degree to which RPF members retain the key positions in government. A similar documentation of the distribution of power is presented each year in the annual S. Marysse and Filip Reyntjens, eds. L’Afrique des Grands Lacs, Paris: l’Harmattan. While many ministers are either Hutu or non-RPF, they are always backed up by an assistant who is Tutsi RPF.

[16] Cf., Alison Des Forges, Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda, New York: Human Rights Watch, 1999, chapter on the RPF; Gerard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis, New York: Columbia University Press, 1998, chapter 10; Filip Reyntjens, La guerre des grands lacs : alliances mouvantes et conflits extraterritoriaux en Afrique centrale,Paris: L’harmattan, 1999.

[17] In a speech in San Francisco, for example, President Paul Kagame strongly rejected the assertion that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda could try members of the RPF, claiming that if there were any evidence of abuses by his troops, the government of Rwanda could deal with them itself. Speech at Commonwealth Club, March 2003.

[18] A report critical of Rwanda's human rights record issued recently by Human Rights Watch was greeted by the government with vociferous condemnation, as they accused HRW of encouraging division without refuting the facts presented. They apparently also pressured the civil society into issuing condemnations of the report.

[19] On the ideology of the 1994 genocide, see Jean-Pierre Chrétien, ed. Rwanda: Les médias du génocide. Paris: Karthala, 1995, and Des Forges, Leave None to Tell the Story.

[20] David Newbury, "Precolonial Burundi and Rwanda: Local Loyalties, Regional Royalties," The International Journal of African Historical Studies, 34, no. 2 (2001): 255-314, presents an excellent review of the literature on precolonial Rwanda and Burundi.

[21] The idea of Rwanda as a nation-state is advocated, for example, by Gamaliel Mbonimana, "Le Rwanda Etat-Nation au XIXe Siecle," paper presented at Seminar on the History of Rwanda, Butare, December 14-18, 1998. Mbonimana is currently chair of the department of history at the National University of Rwanda.

[22] Catharine Newbury, The Cohesion of Oppression Citzenship and Ethnicity in Rwanda, 1860-1960. New York, Columbia University Press, 1988.

[23] Jan Vansina, Le Rwanda ancien: Le royaume nyiginya, Paris: Karthala, 2001.

[24] Timothy Longman, "Documentation and Individual Identity in Africa: Identity Cards and Ethnic Self-Perception in Rwanda," in Jane Caplan and John Torpey, eds., Documenting Individual Identity: The Development of State Practices in the Modern World, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.

[25] Focus group of youths, Cyarwa, Butare, June 15, 2002.

[26] Focus group of elders, Cyarwa, Butare, June 15, 2002.

[27] Focus group of elders, Mabanza, Kibuye, August 10, 2002.

[28] Interview in Cyarwa-Cyimana, Ville de Butare, Butare, September 7, 2001.

[29] Interview in Gacaca sector, Ville de Kibuye, Kibuye, December 7, 2001.

[30] Interview in Cyarwa-Sumo, September 9, 2001.

[31] It is interesting to note that in the Balkans, as well a common assertion was that the violence was brought to communities form the outside. See Anthony Obershall (2000), The manipulation of ethnicity:from ethnic cooperation to violence and war in Yugoslavia. Ethnic and Racial Studies 23(6).

[32] This tendency to attribute violence to people from outside is consistent with research that one of the authors conducted in 1995-96 in Butare, Gikongoro, and Kibuye for the book Des Forges, Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda. Many genocide survivors also agreed with this explanation of external intervention.

[33] Focus group interview with elders, Mabanza, Kibuye, August 10, 2002.

[34] For example, a woman in Mabanza claimed that when they said on the radio "'Radio Rwanda only encouraged people with bad faith in acts of massacres. They said, 'In Bugesera [a region where massacres in occurred in 1992] they have finished. What are you waiting for?'" Focus group interview with women in Mabanza, August 10, 2002.

[36] Focus group interview with elders in Mabanza, August 10, 2002.

[37] Interview in Matyazo, Butare, August 17, 2002.

[38] Focus group of survivors, Mabanza, Kibuye, August 10, 2002.

[39] Focus group of survivors, Mbanza, Kibuye, August 10, 2002.

[40] 96.8% of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement "It is important for those who committed crimes during the war to be tried."

[41] Focus group of survivors, Mabanza, Kibuye, August 10, 2002.

[42] Focus group of survivors, Mabanza, Kibuye, August 10, 2002.

[43] Focus group of survivors, Matyazo, Butare, August 17, 2002.

[44] Interview in Cyarwa-Cyimana, August 22, 2001. The woman lost two children to disease in a refugee camp outside Bukavu, Zaire.

[45] Focus group of women, Matyazo, Butare, August 17, 2002.

[46] Interview in Gacaca, Mabanza, Kibuye, August 23, 2001

[47] One woman in Kibuye, for example, told us, "It would be better to forget. On both sides, there were victims, and so it is better to forget and think about the future." Interview in Mabanza, Kibuye, August 23, 2001.

[48] One man, for example, says "I find that the memorial sites are necessary and that all the ethnicities should think about them in the same manner. I see that at the time of the anniversary of the genocide, all the ethnic groups participate in ceremonies of commemoration. I think that this is a good thing, because we have the chance to pray and to meditate on for a collective memory of these people who, after all, were savagely killed even though they were innocents." Focus group of elders, Mabanza, Kibuye, August 10, 2002.

[49] Interview in Rubengera, Kibuye, August 23, 2001.

[50] Focus group of elders, Mabanza, Kibuye, August 10, 2002.

[51] For example, the Minister of Local Administration, who was ultimately in charge of changing the symbols, explained to us at length the negative connotations of the old symbols and their exclusionary and injurious implications. Interview in Kigali, June 8, 2002.

[52] Focus group of elders, Mabanza, Kibuye, August 10, 2002.

[53] Interview in Rubengera, Mabanza, Kibuye, August 24, 2001.

[54] Focus group of elders, Mabanza, Kibuye, August 10, 2002.

[55] Focus group of women, Matyazo, Butare, August 17, 2002.

[56] Interview in Cyarwa-Cyimana, Butare, September 9, 2001.

[57] Focus group of elders, Mabanza, Kibuye, August 10, 2002.

[58] For example, a Hutu youth leader in Byumba who had attended several solidarity camps was able to present a nearly perfect version of the government account of Rwandan history and the genocide, and he seemed to have no doubt that the version was true. Interview in Buyoga, Byumba, January 24, 2003.