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Posts tagged "genocide"


…a series of environmental portraits made in Rwanda of women that were brutally raped during the Rwandan genocide and the children they bore from those brutal encounters.


Interview with Burkinabe filmmaker Fanta Régina Nacro on her film The Night of Truth that, “confronts the issues of genocide and reconciliation in African countries”, as well as the universality of ‘barbarianism’ which has no regard for skin colour, and the events that led to the making of this film.

For those of you in the United States, you can watch the film here.

Definitely a must-watch.

[French w/ English subtitles]

In 1903, after 20 years of colonization, 712 European women lived among 3,970 European men in German South-West Africa. What to do? Rape. Although rape by German men of Herero and Nama women was common, prior to 1904 not a single case of a white man raping an African woman came before a German court. This became particularly acute in the attempted rape, and then murder, of Louisa Kamana.

Louisa Kamana was married to the son of Chief Zacharias. The two gave a ride to a German settler, who, that night, “made sexual advances” on Louisa Kamana. She refused. He killed her. The Court acquitted him. The case was appealed, and the settler was given three years in prison. Rape and murder of Herero women were common occurrences. The case only went to trial because a Chief’s family was involved, and no one among the Herero thought three years made up for a Herero woman’s life and dignity.

That’s the story of the genocide as well. Women and children were targeted. When the Herero were ‘allowed’ to escape into the Kalahari Desert, it was assumed most would die. It was also assumed more women and children would die. That assumption was correct. The German authorities explained that Herero women and children had to die because they carried dangerous diseases. Meanwhile, the German press shrieked that Herero women were ‘black amazons swinging clubs and castrating their foes’.

And so good riddance.

Excerpt from, German amnesia and Herero women, by Dan Moshenberg at AIAC

This week President Kagame officially closed the Gacaca tribunals.

While Rwandan authorities celebrate the virtue of these community courts intended to bring genocide criminals to justice, unresolved feelings plague the survivors - both those whose loved ones were killed and those whose loved ones were convicted.

Regret weighs heavy on Madeleine Umuhoza. “I still don’t know where my husband’s body was dumped,” says the 45-year old woman from Gatsata. “Our house was attacked at the start of the genocide by a group of young people armed with bows and arrows. We all ran in different directions. I survived by hiding in a swamp, together with other Tutsi escapees. I haven’t seen my husband ever since.”

Among genocide survivors, her story is unfortunately not unique. “I blame myself for not saying goodbye,” she says, on the verge of tears.

When they were introduced in 2001, Gacaca courts nourished a hope that survivors would finally be able to bury their lost relatives with dignity. The community justice system relied on the confessions of genocide culprits in exchange for a substantial reduction of their sentences. The perpetrators were expected to admit to their crimes, name their accomplices and point to where they left their victims. But many chose to remain silent.

That silence has been denounced by Donatilla Mukantaganzwa, former secretary-general of the National Service of Gacaca Jurisdictions, from the very start of the process. In fact, she believes it was one of the main obstacles tribunals from which the country expected “the truth to come out”.

Left with little

One survivor who managed to find the bodies of her parents and two brothers before the Gacacas system was introduced is Léonilla Nyiransabimana. Although her father owned a house and a car - enough to be counted among the wealthy in Kigali during the genocide - she now lives in poverty.

"The house was ransacked and the doors, windows glasses and roof were all stolen. The car is nowhere to be found," she explains. "Thanks to aid from the government, I managed to rebuild a shelter on the ruins of the house. But I am almost starving to death in there."

This home that Nyiransabimana describes is one she must share with many other genocide survivors. She says: “The people found guilty of destroying my family’s property have nothing to offer but repentance. What will become of me?”

The implementation of restitution or compensation provided in Gacaca law is further complicated by the fact that the perpetrators are themselves poor. What’s worse, the organic law covering the courts, despite numerous amendments, had no provisions for the compensation of physical and emotional damages.

(read more)