Posted by Anne Salzman '14
Post-genocide Rwanda continues to deal with the challenge of reconciling a nation of traumatized Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa twenty years after the genocide. My study examines the success of the reconciliation process, through an analysis of the post-genocide labels applied to Hutus and Tutsis and Twa, and suggests structural changes to further the reconciliation process. One of the main barriers to the success of the reconciliation process is the label “victim,” “perpetrator,” “bystander,” and “survivor” that index the ethnic labels of Hutu and Tutsi. Based on two ethnographic research trips to Rwanda (January 2013 through May 2013, January 2014), my research looks at the government’s principal reconciliation initiative, the gacaca courts. It argues that the gacaca courts, as well as the post-genocide labels used, were central to the initial success of the reconciliation process, but now, 20 years later, serve to divide the population along the ethnic lines they were created to eliminate. My ethnographic research contributes to the larger debates on reconciliation initiatives, and also to a broader understanding of the complexities of conflict resolution processes.
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