Representing Rwanda

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Title: Representing Rwanda Anthropology's Role in Witnessing Genocide
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Language: English
Creator: Collins, Kaitlyn
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2010
Publication Date: 2010


Subjects / Keywords: Genocide
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Abstract: The academic scholarship available on genocide is limited. Alexander Hinton is one of the few anthropologists who has written extensively about genocide; his writing explores the roles that anthropology can play with respect to genocide from both a preventative and a prescriptive perspective. Using Hinton�s work as a foundation, this thesis will explore the role that anthropologists can play in preventing genocide, investigating the connections between everyday practices of violence and more extreme derivatives of violence. I will focus my lens on the Rwandan genocide, using this as a template to evaluate anthropology�s place in the study of genocide due to the specific racial worldview that contributed to the genocide. This thesis will also include an analysis of the popular film Hotel Rwanda in order to examine the effects of visual representations of genocide.
Statement of Responsibility: by Kaitlyn Collins
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2010
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Baram, Uzi

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Material Information

Title: Representing Rwanda Anthropology's Role in Witnessing Genocide
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Collins, Kaitlyn
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2010
Publication Date: 2010


Subjects / Keywords: Genocide
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: The academic scholarship available on genocide is limited. Alexander Hinton is one of the few anthropologists who has written extensively about genocide; his writing explores the roles that anthropology can play with respect to genocide from both a preventative and a prescriptive perspective. Using Hinton�s work as a foundation, this thesis will explore the role that anthropologists can play in preventing genocide, investigating the connections between everyday practices of violence and more extreme derivatives of violence. I will focus my lens on the Rwandan genocide, using this as a template to evaluate anthropology�s place in the study of genocide due to the specific racial worldview that contributed to the genocide. This thesis will also include an analysis of the popular film Hotel Rwanda in order to examine the effects of visual representations of genocide.
Statement of Responsibility: by Kaitlyn Collins
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2010
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Baram, Uzi

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2010 C7
System ID: NCFE004236:00001

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REPRESENTING RWANDA: ANTHROP OLOGYS ROLE IN WITNESSING GENOCIDE BY KAITLYN COLLINS A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology Under the sponsorship of Dr. Uzi Baram Sarasota, FL May 2010


Acknowledgem ents I must acknowledge my committee for their unyielding support and for sharing their wisdom with me these past four year s. I want to thank Uzi for advising me throughout my time at New College with patien ce and kindness, regardless of whether or not I deserved it. His good nature helped me through the more sobering studies of humanity without losing my idealism. I want to thank Amy for first believing in me and helping me through my first semester here. She has consistently been there for meoffering a smile and a story when I need it most. And I want to thank Erin for continuing my interest in studying Africa with her supremely fun classes and overseeing this project during the fall when all I had was twenty pages of ideas. Thank you for encour aging me to speak up in class and overcome my innate shyness. I could not have completed this project, sanity somewhat intact, without you all. I owe Sara my gratitude for first opening up my eyes to issues of human rights abuses and providing insight every step of the way as Ive worked on this project. I must thank my parents for their sup port throughout my ups and downs. To my mom for nurturing my love for reading and to my dad for never being too busy to listen or talk nonsense. To Miss Kathleen for taking the time to r ead this thesis and offer her invaluable edits. To Myranda for being my anthro buddy and procrastinating with me as we ignored sleep to discuss lifes beautifully sad intricacies. To Colleen for being my stepbrother and always making my day sunny. Thanks for winning best smile with me cause were like Clooney. And to Stacy for being my human thesaurus and letting me cry on all her shirts. Its fortunate Ill have a lifetime to make it up to you. ii


TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Acknowledgments ii. Table of Contents iii. Abstract iv. Chapter One An Activists Audience and Representations of Rwanda 1 Chapter Two Anthropology and Violence 8 Chapter Three Anthropology and Genocide 17 Chapter Four A History of Ethnicity in Rwanda 35 Chapter Five Do Movies Motivate People to Act? 60 Chapter Six Memory, Witnessing, and Anthropologys Role 79 Appendix A 84 Appendix B 85 Appendix C 86 Bibliography 87 iii


iv REPRESENTING RWANDA: ANTHROPO LOGYS ROLE IN WITNESSING GENOCIDE Kaitlyn Collins New College of FL. 2010 Abstract The academic scholarship available on genocide is limited. Alexander Hinton is one of the few anthropologists who has writte n extensively about ge nocide; his writing explores the roles that anthropology can pl ay with respect to genocide from both a preventative and a prescriptive perspective. Using Hinton s work as a foundation, this thesis will explore the role that anthropologists can play in preventing genocide, investigating the connections between everyday practices of violence and more extreme derivatives of violence. I will focus my le ns on the Rwandan genocide, using this as a template to evaluate anthropologys place in the study of genocide due to the specific racial worldview that contributed to the ge nocide. This thesis will also include an analysis of the popular film Hotel Rwanda in order to examine the effects of visual representations of genocide. ____________________ Professor Uzi Baram Division of Social Sciences


Chapter One: An Activists Audien ce and Representatio ns of Rwanda Introduction During the spring of 2008, I attended a ta lk at the Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, FL where Mark Hanis, Presid ent of the Genocide Intervention Network, spoke about the dire situation in Darfur. Although this was not the first time that I had heard about Darfur, after hearing Mark speak I was compelled to act. During the fall of 2008, I began a collegiate chapter of the Genoc ide Intervention Network at New College of Florida. STAND, Student s Taking Action Now: Darfur, has worked over the past two years to raise awareness of the situation in Darfur through film screenings, campus discussions, and fundraising even ts. My long-time academic interest and study of human rights abuses, combined with my recent activism, encouraged me to investigate genocide from three perspectives: academic, activist, and popular. Each of these perspectives utilizes education as a way to create a world where genocide no longer exists. This thesis explores the work of individuals who have utilized different educational tools to create a world in which genocide cannot occur. An Activists Audience or How to Represent Rwanda Johan Pottier, a Belgian anthropologist conducted research in Rwanda prior to the genocide of 1994. His anal ysis of this situation, Re-imagining Rwanda: Conflict, Survival and Disinformation in the Late Twentieth Century (2002), stresses the significance of representation because violence reproduces itself through the mechanism of interpretation (2002:150). He announces in his introduction that he would not claim 1


to speak on behalf of the people of Rwanda, [but he does] claim the right to speak to members of the international community since they need to take re sponsibility for the representations they accept, bring into the world or help sustai n (2002:5, original emphasis). Pottiers authority stems from his fieldwork conducted in pre-1994 Rwanda, and his firsthand assessment of the situation in Rwanda. My research has been conducted primarily from the comfort of a library, my dorm room, or a coffeehouse. I have studied th e history, watched the documentaries and the Hollywood films, and, as a campus activist, a ttempted to raise awareness of the genocide currently raging in Darfur. I write not to any particular group but for anyone interested in actively pursuing the knowledge necessary to create and sust ain a world that protects humanity from genocide. Creating such a world necessitates analyzing the various ways in which the world is represented as th ese representations inform individuals understanding of the world. The concept of race serves as the thread that connects the themes of this thesis. Utilizing the 1994 genocide of Rwanda as a case study, in this thesis I will provide a history of genocide, a history of Rwanda and an analysis of the popular film Hotel Rwanda. These themes, and the subsequent representation of each, reveal an underlying racial ideology that is endemi c to our global world. The root of violencethe separation of individuals into categorie s, in essence, the racial component of violence and genocidewill be explored and discussed throughout this thesis in an attempt to understand the inception and perpet uation of genocide. This thesis explores the engagement of cultural practices and political processes that enable the construction of a community that participates in genoc ide in order to offer 2


an avenue to create communities that are opposed to genocide. This exploration will lay the foundation for analyzing and evaluating the subsequent representations of genocide. Because it has now been sixteen years si nce the genocide in Rwanda, there is a significant amount of scholarshi p, academic if not anthropol ogical, available regarding this particular event in history. I also chose the genocide in Rwanda because its location emphasizes and exacerbates the issue of race, which permeates relations between Africa and the West and the resulting representations of the genocide. In chapter four, I provide a history of Rwanda, contextualized within a history of the construction of Rwandan ethnicities. This history illuminates the manner in which ethn icity was manipulated by influential groups and individuals in order to create a world th at was conducive to their aims. This thesis will elucidate the ways in which race was inte gral to the initial genocide, the lack of international response, and the subsequent representations. Lastly, I chose Rwanda as my case st udy because of the popular Hollywood film representation of the genocide. Released on February 4, 2005 in the United States, Hotel Rwanda retells the story of Paul Rusesabagina the manager of the Sabena Htel des Mille Collines. Paul she ltered over a thousand Rwandans during the peak of the genocide. H is story is a heroic one: an hom age to the capacity of one person to make a difference. However, the popular film is cont roversial as a form of representation. Film is an important lens for viewing re presentations, especially those that stand in for individuals whose voices have already been silenced through th e act that is being represented in the film. As a mode of repres entation, film functions as a tyranny of form and institution over the self-repr esentation of the formerly silenced (Devereaux 1995:3). 3


Hotel Rwanda provides unique concerns with representa tion as it is marketed as the true story of an individual, but discrepancies in the story can be found by comparing it to Paul Rusesabaginas autobiography An Ordinary Man Furthermore, the film raises concerns when one mans experience is represented as the experience of a people. However, the critiques of the film do not remove the success of the film in raising consciousness about the genocide. Through the work conducted by individuals, I intend to illuminate the responses created by representations of the genocide in Rwanda. Each frame provides techniques for analysis, along with a particular perspectiv e, that brings one cl oser to understanding the mechanisms of genocide. A Roadmap of the Upcoming Chapters This thesis begins with a macro analysis of violence. Chapter two explores the available scholarship on violence: its categoriz ations and ensuing implications. Utilizing the anthology Violence in War and Peace (Scheper-Hughes and Bourgois 2004), I will explore the power dynamics inherent in viol ence and the positions anthropologists can take when involved in areas of conflict. This discussion of violence and anthropologys role will situate a discussion of genocide a nd the anthropological tools available for anthropologists to examine ge nocide. While some anthropo logists choose to work in areas where violence shapes, or has struct urally shaped, individuals lives, other anthropologists are just as surprised by the er uption of violence as are the members of the community within which they are living. The responses of the anthropologists, regardless of choice of community, reveal a spectrum of levels of activism and applied 4


anthropology. This chapter will lay the groundw ork for chapter three, which looks at the work conducted by individuals who chose to actively tackle the issue of genocide. Having edited three volumes on anth ropologys role in studying genocide, Alexander Hinton provides a substantial foundation in understanding the mechanisms that enable genocide to occur. He has also conducted fieldwork in Cambodia in 1992 and from 1994-1995 speaking with victims of the Khmer Rouge genocide of 1975-1979 (Hinton 2002:276). His contributions to the field have helped clarify the process of genocide, deduced methods of prevention, and illuminated the construction of a community that engages in ge nocide, while promoting a view of anthropologys role with respect to genocide. His theories and c onjectures with respec t to genocide and the anthropology of genocide will be outlin ed in detail in chapter three. In order to comprehend the impact of genocide upon the local and global communities, it is necessary to comprehend the history of the term genocide, as labeling a situation as such necessitates a legal response. The alarming alacrity with which the Nazi extermination plan was carried out indicated a new era of mass murder. The term genocide was coined by Raphael Le mkin shortly after th e end of World War II in response to the Nazi Holocaust perpet rated against the Jews, Roma, homosexuals, and the mentally and physically handicapped, among others. In chapter four, I provide a history of the construction of ethni city within Rwanda, focusing on the ways in which Rwandans ethn icity was utilized to promote the agendas of those in power. This chapter disproves popular and perpetuated assumptions that the primordial origins of conflict in Rwanda are due to ancient tribal antagonisms. The history I provide will show the transformati on of Hutus and Tutsis from fluid identities 5


that a llowed intermarriage to restrictive identi ties that enabled the ma ssacre of neighbors. The policing of identity changes from the rise of a Tutsi aristocracy to the time of the colonial takeovers by Germany and Belgium to the revolution that ended in an independent Rwanda. The manner in which et hnicity is transformed into a constitutive marker of identity reveals the influen ce of a racial worldview upon Rwanda. Although some anthropologists find themse lves in genocidal situations, any anthropologist can examine genocide by analyz ing representations. The manner in which an event such as genocide is represented a ffects the response of i ndividuals on a local, national, and global level. The printed media and the news media provided limited coverage of the Rwandan genocide. The most widespread visual representation available of the Rwandan genocide is the popular film Hotel Rwanda In chapter five, I will provide an in-depth examination of this popular film, beginning with an analysis of film as a mode of repres entation, focusing upon the role that images play in the construction of individual and collective memory. I will provide a description of the plot, in order to best rep licate the narrative provi ded by the film and to aid analyses of various scenes portrayed within the film. Since film is utilized as a tool by several activist groups to raise awareness, a discussion of the function of film as a mode of disseminating information will also be included. In my conclusion, I will provide in formation on post-genocide Rwanda. A traditional form of restorative justic e has been adopted in Rwanda. The gacaca process focuses on local justice a nd public confessions. Howe ver, this process proves contentious because the roles of victims and pe rpetrators have been divided according to 6


ethnicities. The process of the continuing construction of ethnicity in Rwanda suggests the possibility for anthropological analysis. 7


Chapter Tw o: Anthropology and Violence Introduction In the mid-twentieth century, Raphael Lemk in coined the term genocide to define and describe the act of exterminating races The murderous rampages of leaders like Alexander of Macedonia and Genghis Khan di ffer from the annihilation enterprises undertaken by Germanys Adolf Hitler and Ca mbodias Pol Pot. The method, ideology, and intent included in the practice of exterminating a social group constitute a new entity. The term genocide, which is derived from the Greek word genos (race, tribe) with the Latin root cide (killing of) has been utilized in newspaper headlines, Op-ed pieces, and television news highlights (Hinton 2002a:3). Groups of student s, teachers, civilians, and business leaders have formed alliances, committed to creating a world where genocide cannot exist. Despite the history associated with the concept of genocidethe term was introduced in 1944 and became a legal concept in 1948the study of genocide is a relatively recent occurrence, taken up by hi storians, journalists, and politicians. Anthropologists have been late to arrive in this field of study, as anthropological studies of violence are only a recent phe nomenon. As genocide is a de rivative of violence, this chapter will focus on the contributions anthropo logy has made to the study of violence. A discussion of colonialisms effect (s) upon anthropology will help explain the disciplines passivity when engaging in ethical ly contentious situati ons. This discussion will also examine the power dynamic inherent in colonialism as it affected the early products of anthropologists and the identity of those under colonialist rule. To illustrate 8


the poin t I will compare E. E. Evans-Pritchards 1940 colonialist ethnography on the Nuer with Sharon Hutchinsons 1996 ethnography on the Nuer. Colonial Implications on Anthropol ogical Representations of Identity As a discipline born during colonialism, anthropology has spent the past several decades analyzing the effects of coloni alism not only upon the colonized but upon the field of anthropology (Wolf 1982). There were incentives for anthropologists to work in certain places, and there were co lonial agendas involved in resear ch. In order to illustrate the product of colonialist anthropological wo rk, I will compare E.E. Evans-Pritchards overall portrayal of Nuer identity in his 1940 ethnography with Sharon Hutchinsons ethnography on the Nuer, written over fifty years later. E.E. Evans-Pritchards ethnography on the Nuer of Sudan was written during Britains colonization of the area, and thus Evans-Pritchard comments on the difficulty in gaining the trust of the Nuer. He writes: It would at any time have been difficult to do research among the Nuer, and at the period of my visit they were unusually hostile, for their recent defeat by Government forces and the m easures taken to ensure their final submission had occasioned deep resent ment. When I entered a cattle camp it was not only as a stranger but as an enemy, and they seldom tried to conceal their disgust at my presen ce, refusing to answer my greetings and even turning away when I addressed them (1940:11). The changes made under the British col onial government within Sudan included introducing a formalized system of educa tion, Christianity, and paper money. EvansPritchard does not examine the effects of these changes upon the Nuer. Instead he portrays them as if these changes have no imp act upon a Nuer identity that he finds to be 9


innate and staticit would at any tim e ha ve been difficult to do research among the Nuer. Furthermore, as a male ethnographe r, Evans-Pritchard was denied access to the female sphere of Nuer life, but he does not de note this exclusion, referring to the Nuer as if the title Nuer embodied a stable and permanent identity. Sharon Hutchinsons work strives to correct this vi ew of the Nuer. As a female, Hutchinson had access to bot h male and female informants, and as she lived among the Nuer, she also had access to more informants, which means that not only did she receive more information but she also was able to paint a more holistic view of the Nuer. Her ethnography, Nuer Dilemmas: Coping with War, Money, and the State (1996), discusses in depth the ensuing transforma tions of the Nuer that occurred with colonialism, explaining how the Nuer incorpor ated these colonial ch anges to fit within their cultural worldview, and acknowledgi ng the individualism of the Nuer. The definitions and theoretical contributions provided by scholars who have studied colonialism discuss the power dynamic that en ables the colonized to integrate colonial practices into their culture. Jurgen Osterhammel defines coloni alism as a system of domination.... characterized by an ongoing strugg le (1997:27). He recognizes that in this system of domination both the colonized a nd the colonizers had opportuniti es to act in response to their situations (1997:4). Hi s analysis of colonialism as an ongoing power struggle acknowledges that the colonized incorporated colonial rules into their framework of understanding (1997:15 and 16). This ability to incorporate one set of cultural rules into another relates to the constructi on of individuals identities. Hutchinsons conclusions support th e individuality of those who cons ider themselves Nuer. Her ethnography 10


reflects a postcolonial anth ropology where the identities of those being studied are reproduced in their term s. Because of the imposition of identity that oc curred with colonialism, and the part that anthropology played in reproducing coloni alist notions of identity, it is easy to understand anthropologists reticence to become too involved in the community in which they are working. However, some anthropologists believe that direct engagement is necessary to dispel conflicts before they es calate to the status of genocide. Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Philippe Bourgo is edited an anthology entitled Violence in War and Peace (2004), which represents an opening effort to address anthropologys role in issues of violence. Witnessing Violence The settings in the Violence in War and Peace (2004) vary as they encompass anthropological work conducted around the globe. For example, Paul Farmer writes about the structural violence that perpetuates the suffering of the majority of people living in Haiti, and Nancy Scheper-Hughes wr ites about the destructive economic period in Brazil in the 1960s that forced women to give up those children deemed too weak to survive past infancy. The selections in th is collection speak to people of all places, reiterating the realization that victim s of violence exist everywhere. Scheper-Hughes and Bourgois define viol ence as a slippery conceptnonlinear, productive, destructive, and reproductive. So we can rightly speak of chains, spirals, and mirrors of violenceor, as we prefera con tinuum of violence (2004:1). It is the idea 11


of a continu um of violence that speaks to the ro le that individuals, even a single anthropologist, can play in preventing issues of violence, and thus genocide. Scheper-Hughes maintains that viewing instances of violen ce as part of a spectrum, where everyday violence informs viol ence on a larger scale, allows individuals to make greater strides in addressing issues of extreme violence such as genocide. She does not propose that issues of everyday viol ence, such as domestic abuse, cause issues of extreme violence. Her focus is not on cau sality but rather on the similarities that encompass all situations of vi olence. She argues that by st udying practices of everyday violence and exposing the ideologies and le gal foundations that s upport any and all acts of violence, tackling issues such as ge nocide becomes not only feasible but also manageable by any and all individuals. Scheper-Hughes and Bourgois di scuss the role of the indi vidual anthropologist as a witness to the people and th e landscape in which she is working. The selections are infused with an ethnographic, anthropological sensibility in which scientific observation is combined with moral and political witnessi ng (2004:5). Being a w itness is a privilege accorded the living, where witnessing occurs with the intention that the event being witnessed, that the person(s) being remember ed, will not be memorialized in vain. Scheper-Hughes writes: Modern anthropology was built up in the face of colonial and postcolonial genocides, ethnocides, popul ation die-outs, and other forms of mass destruction visited on the non-Western peoples whose lives, suffering and deaths provide the raw ma terial for much of our work. Yet despite this historyand the privileged position of the ethnographer as eye-witness to some of these even tsanthropology has been, until quite recently, relatively mute on the subject (2004:61). 12


The concept of witnessing is contes ted within anthropology because of the consequences of the act of witnessing. Ho w does/should one witness? Through writing? Verbally? Who are the audiences privileged with these stories? Should one witness only retroactively, or should the witnessing take place in the moment? With active and passive witnessing mark ing the ends of the spectrum, ScheperHughes, Bourgois, and Hinton are three an thropologists whose beliefs regarding anthropological witnessing fall on the active side of the spect rum. Active witnessing can take a number of forms among anthropologists: journal articles, anthologies, websites, or public speeches. A more radical form of involve ment is direct engagement in a situation. Scheper-Hughes has exemplified this activist stance thr oughout her career. In the 1960s, Nancy Scheper-Hughes traveled to Brazil as a Peace Corps volunteer. She returned in 1982 and, until 1990, she conducted research as a medical anthropologist. In her ethnography, Death Without Weeping: Th e Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil (1992), Scheper-Hughes analyzes the work she conducted during that time period. The thesis of her work trumped the generalization that mother love is universal. Economic strife, reinforced by re ligious beliefs perpetuated by the Catholic Church, forced women in the village of Bom Jesus to abandon those children deemed too weak to survive into chil dhood. Working as a doctor, Nancy Scheper-Hughes would bring abandoned babies in to the lo cal hospital for treatment (1992). This sort of intervention was deemed intrusive by some members of the anthropological community. Once an anthropologist enters a community, particularly a small community, the community changes. The irrevocable depth of this change depends upon the actions taken by the anthropologist. Whet her or not this sort of action speaks to 13


radical behavior depends on ones interpreta tion of the American Anthropological Associations Code of Ethics stipulation that anthropol ogists avoid harm or wrong ( ). Is it radical to bring a dying child to a hospital? Or is inaction in the f ace of death and dying the radical act? If one stands by and lets the child die, is one practicing cultural rela tivism or is one doing harm? One should bear in mind that Scheper-Hughes ac ted as a researcher first and that it was her research conclusions that led her to c hoose intervention as a course of action. The significant theoretical anthropological contributions made to the study of violence are necessary for positive social action to be taken. Violence is physical, invisible, and structural. Structural violence encompa sses poverty and chronic hunger. Rape is a form of physical and symbolic violen ce. These types of violence are played out on a variety of stages. Anthr opologists work to understand the meaning behind these acts of violence. The social a nd cultural dimensions of violen ce are what give violence its power and meaning (2004:1). Exposing the connections between the present and the past, between the communities of the past and their counterparts in the present, allows for the removal of adages that violence in a pa rticular area is ancient and therefore unfixable. Connecting the past with the present is an anthro pological concern, where documenting culture enables an understanding of the changes that a community sustains. Documentation of day-to-day activities, ritual practices, and symbolic exchange can serve a number of purposes. Analysis of this data can reveal the structur es that not only allow violence to occur but also su stain that occurrence. Scheper-Hughes conception of a violence continuum acknowledges the flexibility inherent in situati ons of violence. Viewing an act of violence in conjunction 14


with its m any causes and consequences allows for several entry-points for individuals who wish to inspire and/or ignite positive change. Certain steps must be taken when analyzing the actions that yield a violent product so that a holis tic perspective is achieved. Understanding the architectur e of a society is valuable not only in its own rightas a work of anthropologybut also as a blueprint for change. It helps us identify the social patholog ies that might lead to human rights abuse and the steps that can be ta ken to end or prevent them (Roth 2002a:ix). As a discipline, anthropol ogy is prepared to handle i ssues of violence, as these issues are endemic within a societys culture What anthropologist s struggle with is combining moral and objective models in their sc ientific practice. What sort of form this type of active intervention would take in an area plagued by genocide remains to be seen in an anthropological realm. Conclusions By exploring anthropology s past responses to violen ce, this chapter clarifies anthropologists recent reticence to become ac tively engaged in volatile situations, while elucidating Africas importance in colonial anthropology, and the subsequent silences with respect to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries Af rican genocides. The silence that occurs because of recognition of colonial anthropology is balanced by healthy critique of colonial anthropology where an thropologists have worked in communities affected by colonialism and produced scholarship acknowledging these colonial effects. 15


Advocating for vigilance in recognizi ng patterns of violen ce, Scheper-Hughes and Bourgois address the ever-present existence of violence. Perhaps the most one can say about violence is that like madness, sickne ss, suffering, or death itself, it is a human condition. Violence is present (as a capability ) in each of us, as is its oppositethe rejection of violence (2004:2) In studying the human element, the humanity that exists in acts of violence, anthropologi cal analysis of social cons tructions such as race and gender enable the exposure of the fu el that sustains violence. The limited anthropological scholarship available on genocide speaks to the lack of desire to work with such sordid and de pressing material. Alexander Hinton remains the most prominent scholar with three ant hologies dedicated to the study of genocide: Genocide: An Anthropological Reader and Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide were published in 2002, and Genocide: Truth, Memory, and Representation was published in 2009. Even specifically African anthropologists have not focused on genocideon its contours, its shapes, origins, results, processes, and responses, despite the occurrence of several genoc ides in Africa over the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century.1 The work conducted by Hinton will be discussed in the following chapter. 1 Refer to Appendix A. 16


Chapter Three: Anthro pology and Genocide Introduction This chapter begins by looking at the hi story of the development of the term genocide and an accompanying synopsis of the hi story of its use, legal and otherwise. The first part focuses on Raphael Lemkin, as he was instrumental in criminalizing genocide. The second part explores the history of responses to genocide by two collective bodies: the United Nations and the United States. The last part examines anthropologys role regarding genocide, utilizing Alexander Hintons groundbreaking publications on anthropology and genocide. Hi s analyses of genocide lead into chapter four, which examines Rwanda as a case study fo r the framework provided in this chapter. Lemkin Defines Genocide A lawyer and a linguist, Raphael Le mkin (1900-1959) dedicated his life to the attempt to ensure that the episodes of genocide during his lifetime, the Armenian genocide, and then the Holocaust, never again plagued humanity. As a linguist, Lemkin knew that a new word was needed to addre ss what had occurred in Armenia and in Europeto describe and define that which fell outside the realm of expression (Power 2002:42). In order to make the term legally si gnificant, he needed a word that could not be used in other contexts (Power 2002:42). He coined the term genocide in 1944. The creation of the term genocide occu rred years after Lemkins consistent, driven investigation of the intentional dest ruction of a people. Lemkin studied with horror the massacres of the Armenians of th e Ottoman Empire under the leadership of 17


Talaat Bey. He f elt that both the physical and cultural existence of groups had to be preserved (Power 2002:21, emphasis mine). So in 1933, he presented an argument to his European legal colleagues at a confer ence in Madrid for a law that would ban barbarity and vandalism. This law would effectively allow for the punishment of not only the destruction of groups but also the demolition of their cultural and intellectual life (Power 2002:22, emphasis mine). Lemkins proposal was not met with ent husiasm or approval in 1933. For fifteen years he worked ceaselessly trying to persuade the global community to act for the preservation of peoples. He had seen th e world abandon Armenians, and he had heard Hitler acknowledge this fact in a speech to the German people, a week before his SS army invaded Poland. The aim of war is not to reach definite lines but to annihilate the enemy physically. It is by this means that we shall obtain the vita l living space that we need. Who today still speaks of th e massacre of the Armenians? (quoted in Power 2002:23, emphasis original). Hitlers unspoken prediction remains chillingly true. He correctly assumed that the leaders of our gl obal community would not intervene to stop his vicious plot. Leaders have since avoided intervention in the attacks on the Ibo in Nigeria, the massacre of the Hutus in Burundi the destructio n of the Tutsis in Rwanda, and the current slaughter of the African Sudanese in Darfur. Lemkin left his family in Poland in 1939, unable to convince them to accompany him to the US. He traveled to Washington, D.C. determined to persuade the United States of Hitlers insidious in tentions. But US government of ficials were not interested in what they saw as mere postulations. They knew that Hitler had begun a war, for indeed, he had declared war against the United States in 1942. As far as claims that Hitler and 18


his SS arm y were wiping out Je ws, deaths were expected in a war. War had casualties. The Jews could not be exempt from this a ny more than anyone else. The inability to distinguish between the inte ntional annihilation of a pe ople and the casualties of conventional warfare continues to hinder action against those committing genocide. In June 1942, Lemkin was hired as the chief consultant for the Board of Economic Warfare and the Foreign Economic Ad ministration, and in 1944 he worked for the US War Department as an internationa l law expert (Power 2002:27). But American leaders continued to be uninterested in taki ng definitive action against the Nazis for their attacks on the Jews. President Roosevelt urge d Lemkin to be patient; the US would issue a warning to the Nazis (Power 2002:28). Dishea rtened by the patroniz ing and isolationist attitude of US leaders, Lemkin took his effort s to the American people, hopeful that this was a better way to address the leaders of Am erica. For two years he lobbied without a break, determined that the world would not ignore the Holocaust as easily as it had forgotten the genocide of Armenia. Lemkin knew that a law would have to be created in orde r for the crime of genocide to become punishable. Lemkin pl aced the crime of genocide on the level of slavery and piracy, which are both criminalized by international law. In a letter to the New York Times Lemkin wrote: It seems inconsistent with our concep ts of civilization that selling a drug to an individual is a matter of worldly concern, while gassing millions of human beings might be a problem of internal concern. It seems also inconsistent with our philosophy of li fe that abduction of one woman for prostitution is an international crime while sterilization of millions of women remains an internal affair of the state in question (quoted in Power 2002:48). 19


In May of 1946, as Nuremberg trials we re underway, Lemkin learned that his parents had died in the Wars aw ghetto. His determination to set up a framework that would allow global leaders to act against ge nocide increased even as his physical and mental health declined. On October 31, 1946, Lemkin arrived at the newly improvised United Nations headquarters in New York (Power 2002:50). Lemkins considerable efforts were finally aided by timing. The world saw the Allies liberate the extermination camps in newspapers and on television screens. The Nuremberg Trials reflected a tangible change in views on sovereignty. Th e indictment of a sovereign state by an international committee reflected a challenge to the sovereignty of the state as the ultimate authority. Furthermore, the UN was eager to present itself as a legitimate and powerful legal, collective security body (Pow er 2002:52). A month and a half later, on December 11th, the General Assembly of the UN passed a resolution condemning genocide. A UN committee was created with the task of drafting a treaty to ban the crime altogether (Power 2002:54). Tw o years later, on December 9, 1948, due to the persistent efforts of Lemkin and the UN committee, the General Assembly unanimously passed a law banning genocide, defini ng genocide as follows: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such: a) Killing members of the group; b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c) Deliberately inflicting on the gro up conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destru ction in whole or in part; d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e) Forcibly transferring childre n of the group to another group. Article II, 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention 20


Lem kins grief and joy overwhelmed him. The man who had given countless speeches from coast to coast, the unavoidable and irri tatingly persistent supporter of human rights, was nowhere to be found among all the media covering the event. Eventually he was found in one of the hallways in the UN bu ilding, alone and weeping (Power 2002:60). Lemkin passed away a decade after his extraordinary efforts to protect the world from genocide; unfortunately, the battle to prevent genocide was nowhere near over. The International Community Ignores Genocide Lemkins extraordinary and versatile work regarding the construction of the term genocide received significant edits within th e United Nations. Lemkin thought that: an international multilatera l treaty should provide for the introduction, not only in the constitution but also in th e criminal code of each country, of provisions protecting minority groups from oppression because of their nationhood, religion, or race. Each crim inal code should have provisions inflicting penalties for genocide practices (2002:37-38). This did not happen. Rather than leading the push for ra tification of the Genocide Convention,2 the US opposed it on the grounds that the Genocid e Convention would in trude on a states sovereignty. In essence, the US was looking out for itself. A risi ng superpower, the US vigorously opposed the notion of another state inte rfering with its internal affairs. One of the superficial reasons given by leaders was a question of numbers. How was the in part of the UN definition to be defined numerically? Was a race riot in which fifteen people were murdered grounds for a genocide in dictment? US senators from Southern 2 In order for the treaty to become international law, twenty UN member states had to ratify the treaty domestically (Power 2002:61). In orde r for the treaty to be en forced, the US would have to play an integral role. 21


states in particular feared i ndictment for its treatment of Af rican-Americans. The US also feared punishment for its ninete enth-century eradication of th e Native Americans. It took the determined efforts of another dedicated individual before the US ratified the Genocide Convention (Power 2002:65-68). Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin began a daily ritual within the Senate, which ended up taking exponentially longer than he expected. Sin ce individuals around the world were beginning to understand the effects and impact of the Holocaust, Proxmire could not understand how Congress co uld continue to reject ratifying the Genocide Convention, an act that Proxmire viewed as supremely important. The United States has for too long blithel y ignored the issues of genocide. Evidence that genocide is going on in the 1970s should shake our complacency...I couldnt think of a more outrageous crime than genocide. Of all the laws pending before Congre ss, this seemed a no-brainer (quoted in Power 2002:84-85). So Proxmire, inspired by Lemkins example, wo rked to persuade the US to take a leading role in ending genocide. Beginning in 1967, twenty-two years afte r the end of World War II, Proxmire prepared a speech for the Senate everyday, th inking that after a year or two, he would have convinced his fellow l eaders to ratify the Genocide Convention and lead the world in preventing and punishing genocide. From 1966-1970, the Nigerian state committed genocide against the Ibo. In 1972, the wo rld witnessed the murder of hundreds of thousands of Hutu Burundians at the hands of a militaristic Tutsi regime. That same year, Idi Amin, dictator of Uganda, began to expel Ugandas Indians. Three years later, in 1975, the Khmer Rouge annihilated twenty pe rcent of its population. However, it was not until 1986, nineteen years and 3,211 speeches after Proxmire had begun his struggle 22


to draw US atten tion to the crime of genocide, that the US Senate ratified the Genocide Convention. Unfortunately, this achievem ent was immediately over-shadowed by US behavior regarding the Iraq -Iran war (Power 2002:166-169). By 1987, the UN had yet to rule any mass acre as genocide. In March 1987 Iraqs Saddam Hussein began exterminating Iraq s Kurdish population. Husseins pogrom against the Kurds began long before his even tual gas attacks on Halabja and the Anfal Campaign. With no homeland, the Kurds have fought for autonomy in Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Iraq. In order to suppress thei r struggle in Iraq, Hussein had as many as 200,000 Kurds relocated in 1975. Five years late r, Iraq went to war with Iran, and once again, war provided a cover for the exterminatio n of a people. After testing chemical weapons on Iranians without internationa l intervention, Hussein began napalming Kurdish cities. Beginning in March of 1988, th e Iraqi military perpetrated approximately forty chemical attacks on Kurdis h citizens (Power 2002:188-190). When Iraq went to war with Iran in 1980, the US backed Iraq economically. Between 1983 and 1988, the US gave Iraq $500 m illion a year. In 1989, a year after the gassing of Kurdish civilians, the US doubled its commitment to Iraq, allotting $1 billion to its genocidal regime. With its economical in vestment in Iraq, the US refused to accuse the Saddam Hussein regime of genocide (Power 2002:171-245). The UN and the US were not the only po lities struggling with genocide. Despite the relative longevity of genocides existen ce in history, it was not until the beginning of the twenty-first century that anthropologists began to publ ish articles on the role of their discipline regarding genocide. Alexander Hinton published Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide and Genocide: An Anthropological Reader in 2002. These 23


anthologies represent th e beginning of analysis of anthropologys role in situations of genocide, including alternative definitions of genocide, ethnogra phic experience with genocide, and frameworks for predicting and preventing genocide. Hintons anthologies delineate the various stages of genocide, asserting how and where anthropology can be useful when dealing with instances of genocide. These publications analyze twentiethcentury genocides from a variety of perspectivesfrom the eff ects modernity has had on genocide to the role that anthropology should play when volatile situations explode. For example, Bettina Arnold and Gretchen E. Schafft (2002) write about the contributory role that archaeologists and anthropologists played in Nazi Germany. Current anthr opological trends and ideologies frame and thus determine the work that an thropologists present. As a discipline, anthropology embraces reflexivity to avoi d personal and current cultural biases, influences that could, as they have in the past, support a racial pa radigm or a genocidal regime. Attention to agendas, intentions, and anticipated outcomes helps anthropologists avoid supporting a Nazi regime, but it does not preclude the potential for this to happen. Hintons anthologies elucidate the role anthropologists can pl ay in studying genocide. Anthropology Defines Genocide Anthropologists have been in areas pl agued by genocide before, during, and after the event, bringing signifi cant ethnographic experience to an understanding of how violence escalates to genocide and of how neighbors become enemies. One of the significant contributions anth ropology has made to th e study of genocide includes 24


analyses of the UN definition of genocide Noting problem s with this definition, anthropologists offer alternatives to enhance studies of genocide. The definition of genocide wields partic ular importance because of the legal implications of its use. Lemkin fought to have genocide labeled as a crime. He approached genocide from the perspective of the law. Genocide....presents one of the most complete and glaring illustrations of the violation of international law and the laws of humanity (quoted in Hi nton 2002b:38). However, Lemkins original definition of genocide was problematically edited. The legal UN definition was selectivel y chosen after much deliberation. An earlier definition, promoted by Lemkin, incl uded political and social groups under the protection of the UN. A number of countries argued that political groups should be excluded from the convention since they di d not fit the etymology of genocide, were mutable categories, and lacked the distinguishing characteristics necessary for definition (Hinton 2002a:3). This argument, and the re sulting definition, proves problematic for a number of important reasons. First, as Hinton points out, us ing this definition, Stalins Soviet Union would not be responsible for th e destruction and politic al persecution of its people in 1937 and 1938, nor would the Nazi s be held accountable for murdering homosexuals, Roma, or the mentally or physically handicapped. This argument also supposes that the groups protected by the UN definition are stable, permanent, and unchanging. The idea that identities are resistant to ch ange is especially dangerous. Lemkins original promotion of defining genocide as spec ifically cultural, as cultural genocide, was edited out by the UN committee. Cultura l genocide was charged to align with the 25


term ethnocide, and genocide became the term accepted by the UN. The elimination of culture from the definition co rrelates to the UNs acceptance of protecting groups that are stable, permanent, and unchanging. The definition chosen by the UN limits the situations that legally require a respons e from the international community. Considering that the international community has been loath to defi ne a situation as genocide, and even less likely to respond to a crisis defined as genoc ide, defining a group as inherently stable indicates primordial origins of conflict. This assumption others the victims and perpetrators of a genocide in a manner that deactiva tes a response among leaders obligated to and capable of reacting. Anthropologist Carole Nagengasts de finition of genocide incorporates the understanding that a power dynamic occurs with genocide because of the othering. She defines genocide as the culmi nation of a number of apparent ly far lesser occurrences of symbolic and physical violence performed ag ainst groups that the dominant society has defined in one way or another as lesser human beings (quoted in Hinton 2002a:325). This definition combines the implications of violence during time s of peace with the power dynamics in place in order for genocide to occur. Historical sociologist an d genocide scholar Helen Fein offers an alternative definition for genocide. Genocide is sustained purposeful ac tion by a perpetrato r to physically destroy a collectivity directly or i ndirectly, through in terdiction of the biological and social reproduction of group members, sustained regardless of the surrender or lack of threat offered by the victim (quoted in Hinton 2002a:4). Feins definition addresses two issues: the importance of intent in the action and the problem that war presents for genocide. The criterion that disti nguishes genocide as a 26


conceptual category is the inten tional attempt to annihilate a social group that has been marked as different (Hinton 2002a:4). This attempt has often been obscured under the cover of war. The Armenian genocide occu rred during World War I just as the Nazi Holocaust occurred during World War II. The genocide in Rwanda took place simultaneously with a civil war, and now in Darfur, genocide is raging along with a civil war. Unfortunately, Feins definition is not the legal one, nor is the one which Hinton provides. Hintons definition avoids the other ing inherent in the UNs definition. He defines genocide as those cases in which a perpetrator group attemp ts, intentionally and over a sustained period of time, to annihilate another social or political community from the face of the earth (2002a:6). Hinton delibe rately includes those groups Lemkin hoped to protect but that were unfortunately struck from the UN definition. Whereas Feins collectivity is decidedly ambiguous, Hintons community addresses the heart of genocide: the human element. Social and political communities are the daily discussion of anthropologists. Hinton produced this defi nition in an attempt to further define the anthropology of genocide. Hintons Work Hinton begins his work by defining te rms particular to the anthropology of genocidethose terms that explain the patter ns that occur in genocide (2002a:29). He posits that deciphering cultural patterns suffices as a useful frame when one is dealing with volatile situations, and he stresses that an anthropological approach, coupled with a strong interdisciplinary perspective, can expose areas of st ructural violence, inciting a 27


more holistic intervention or reconstruction process. Throughout the anthropology of genocide, the im portance of recognizing di scriminations and everyday violence is stressed repeatedly by a number of schol ars and reflects Hinton s conjecture that genocide must be studied as a process (2002a:18). Anthropology provides a distinct view of people, as most of the data collected by anthropologists comes from ground-level re search. Hintons work reiterates the influence that anthropology can have upon th e study of genocide by focusing upon 1) the locality of genocide and 2) genocide as a process. By the locality of genocide, Hinton refers to the dimension of genocide which tr ansforms neighbors into enemies. Genocide is always a local process and therefore may be analyzed and understood in important ways through the ethno-historical lens of anthropology (Hinton 2002a:3). The local process of genocide reflects the steps that precede genocide, steps that occur from the nation-state level to th e individual level. Hinton created the term genocidal priming to refer to a set of processes that establish the preconditions for genocide to take place within a given sociopolitical context (2002a:29). These processes are as follows: 1) socioeconomic upheaval occurs shortly before the genocide, 2) differential access exists based on social divisions, 3) policies or legislation is intr oduced to deepen these social divisions, and propaganda is utilized to promote this message, 4) leader s exploit the spread of messages of hate (2002a:29). Hintons focus on the locality of ge nocide and his conception of genocidal priming can be directly applie d by anthropologists in the field to a number of cases. The following section will explore an anthropologists unexpected experience with genocide 28


and her resulting ethnography and docum entary. Tone Bringa chose to work in Dolina, Bosnia to study the gendering patterns of the village. She ended up studying the dissolution of neighbor relations between Muslims and Catholics. Bringas Ethnography in Bosnia Tone Bringa began ethnographic study in Dolina, Bosnia in 1987. Bringas anthropological efforts resulted in an ethnogr aphy that shied away from discussing the genocide, Being Muslim in a Bosnian Way (1995), and an ethnographic documentary, We Are All Neighbors (1993), that deals excl usively with the genocide. Her documentary, created during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, illuminated the process by which neighbors became enemies. The Serb War and resulting genocide in Bosnia began with the break-up of Yugoslavia. The background for conflict in the former Yugoslavia can begin at the end of World War II. Josef Tito worked during th e 1950s to create a panslavism identity, a Yugoslav national identity, which made all ot her identity factors, including religion, secondary (Carment 2006:145). After his death in 1980, ethnic majorities in the north and the south, Croat and Serb respectively, vied for national dominance. While Croatians struggled for autonomy from Yugoslavia, Se rbs yearned for a Serbian Yugoslavia that included Croatia. By the 1990s, the weakened power of the Yugoslav Communist Party coupled with increased ethnic conflic t throughout Yugoslavia, anta gonized relations between Serbian and Croatian leaders. While the Communist party remained strong in the south 29


in Serbia, multip arty elections were held in the north in Croatia. Croatias secession, followed by Bosnia-Herzegovinas quest for independence, increased military attacks within both regions. Geographically located between Croatia and Serbia, Bosnians became leverage for the two armies, as the tw o contestants realized the benefits that control over Bosnia would bring their cause. Bringas documentary in Dolina captures Bosnian feelings about the war for indepe ndence and exposes both the ideology which led to genocide as well as Hintons concept of genocidal priming (1993). The documentary spans three weeks in Do lina, a small village where 2/3 of the population were Muslim and 1/3 we re Catholic. The film includes scenes of villagers working outside where the men and women can hear the shelling of nearby Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The war th at ravaged Bosnia-Her zegovina exemplified the easy spread of violence over political borders. To th e northwest of Bosnia was Croatia and to the southeast was Serbia. In th is case, religious identity was as much the impetus for genocide as national identity. Ca tholic Croatia and Or thodox Serbia trapped multicultural and multi-religious Bosnia in th e middle of its ethno-religious crusade. Bosnians were both Muslim and Catholic; in Dolina, Muslims and Catholics lived side by side as friendly neighbors. The presentation of Bosnian Muslims pr ovides an interesting case for analysis because a large part of Bosnian Muslim identity was formed in direct opposition to both Orthodox Serbian identity and Croatian Cathol ic identity: Bosnian Muslims were forced to identify according to nati onality and religion in res ponse to the nationalist and religious waves that coursed through Yugoslavia after the death of Tito and his communist party. Although the Bosnian posi tion necessitated the construction of an 30


identity m ost directly defined by what it wa s not, a negative identity creates certain problems. Most importantly it immediat ely reveals the power dynamics of any relationship. The subservient, weaker group would be defined with the negation attached. The pervading view of Bosnian Muslims as NOT Catholic (Croat) or NOT Orthodox (Serb) laid a foundation for discord. Bringa captures this coexistence at the beginning of her documentary. She shows Dolina slowly; the camera rolls around the land scape, displaying the church, the mosque, and the villagers homes. From this perspe ctive, the village appears untouched by the war, which has reached nearby Sa rajevo. It is not until Bringa interviews Nurija as he chops wood in his backyard that one hears the shelling in the distance Nurija explains that since the Croatian army has invaded Sa rajevo, the men in Dolin a havent been able to go to work. So day in and day out, the men chop wood, preparing for the winter. While Nurija works in the yard, his wife Yisretta, has coffee with her Catholic neighbor, Slavka; this is a tradition that the two women have practiced every day for forty years. Although they worship separately, differently, they harbor no animosity towards one another. After all, as Slavka puts it, no sane person would co mmit atrocities here. We have to live together. But the war cr ept closer and with death slouching so near, living in Dolina changed. The shelling got louder and chatting between neighbors got quieter. The Croatian army began attacking Dolinas Muslim homes at night, so the Muslim men began a patrol without the help of their Catholic neighbors. The invading war forced Bringa to evacuate Dolina three weeks after beginning her documen tary. By the time of her departure, 31


Slavka and Yisretta were no longer speaking. B ringa returned to a much more drastic situation in Dolina eight weeks later. When Bringa returns to Dolina, the Croatian army has closed off the town, necessitating an armed UN escort to accompany Bringa as she tries to find the women with whom she has spent si x years conducting ethnographic research. The camera rolls quicker now, as the images are captured from Br ingas seat in the UN jeep rather than, as it was with her earlier journey, on foot. Yisretta and Nujiras home has been reduced to rubble while Slavkas nearby home remains perf ectly intact. Bringa breaks down in tears while interviewing Slavka, asking her how she could let this happen by refusing to help her friends, but Slavka remains willfully sile nt to Bringas inquiries. Bringa looks elsewhere to find Yisretta and Nujira. She fi nally locates them in a neighboring village, where Yisrettas mother lives. Yisretta says that she spent ten days in hiding to avoid the Croatian soldiers when the war came to Dolina. She had asked Slavka for shelter, but she had refused. Yisretta dissolves into tears at the thought of the be trayal and abandonment of her friend. There can be no more living together, she cr ies (1993). Implications of Ethnogra phic Films Limitations Although ethnographic film is powerful becau se of the level of specificity it portrays, allowing the audience to form signi ficant connections with the people in the film, its reach hardly ex ceeds the academic circle. With a small budget and a proportionally small audience, opportunities for ethnographic film to break out of academic classrooms are rare. Because popular films operate on a larger budget, 32


allowing for extensive advertising, they attrac t a larger audience, which m eans that they stimulate awareness among more people. The audience limitation does not dimini sh the integrity of Bringas film, however, and the fact that her film was used in an academic circle indicates the likely possibility of discussion. Films that feature such sensitive material often incite conversation. Screening films in classrooms f acilitates useful discussions of the material viewed so that the awareness raised by the film can be integrated on multiple levels. This discussion of film will be continued in chapter five when I analyze the popular film Hotel Rwanda I included a discussion of the Bosn ian genocide for reasons expanded upon below. The Bosnian genocide introduces a discussion on the transitions of identity, imposed by a nation-state, which is similar to the transition of identity that occurs in Rwanda. Secondly, the rapid time period in which decades of friendship are eradicated by three weeks of bombing emphasizes Scheper-Hughes main point about what she has called a genocide continuum. Conclusion: The Genocide Continuum Nancy Scheper-Hughes (2002) writes critic ally on anthropolo gical studies of genocide, arguing for not just anthropol ogy, but all internatio nal bodies and all individuals to assume a more active approach when deali ng with genocide. Speaking back to her research on violence, Scheper-H ughes argues that by looking at a genocide 33


continuum in the practices of everyday life anthropologists can contri bute to a study of genocide (2002a:30). She defines th e genocide continuum as follows: the continuum refers to the human capacity to reduce others to nonpersons, to monsters, or to things that gives structure, meaning, and rationale to everyday practices of vi olence. It is essential that we recognize in our species (and in ourselves) a genocidal capacity and that we exercise a defensive hypervigilan ce, a hypersensitivity to the less dramatic, permitted everyday acts of violence that make participation (under other conditions) in genoc idal acts possible (2002a:369). The idea of a genocide continuum echoes Lemkins voice from so long ago. We should not overlook the fact that genocide is a problem not only of war but also of peace (2002:37). The anthropological work of schol ars like Bringa, Hinton, Nagengast, and Scheper-Hughes reminds individuals of the comp lexity imbued in situ ations of violence and genocide. Their groundbreaking efforts in anthropological studies of violence and genocide encourage anthropological involveme nt in volatile situations. The work conducted by the individuals mentioned in this chapter supports th e notion that change can occur on the ground-level and infl uence international policies. The Rwandan genocide unfortunately pr ovides an opportunity to study most of the anthropological conclusions discussed in this chapter. Hintons notion of genocidal priming will be especially useful for understanding the genocide of Rwanda. The next chapter will be divided into two parts. Part one will provide a history of Rwanda, illuminating the construction of ethnicity wi thin Rwanda. Part two will apply the anthropological conclusions discussed in this chapter to Rwanda. 34


Chapter Four: A History of Ethnicity in Rw anda Rwanda is a small country located in the heart of East Africa. With an area of 26,338 km, Rwanda is approximately 1/6 the size of the state of Florida. With an average temperature of 66 F, Rwandas humid climate spares Rwandans from extreme weather situations. Unlike the Africa popul arized in American films, Rw andas only wildlife is in the Akagera National Park, located on Rwanda s southeastern border with Tanzania. Natural boundaries separate Rwanda from its neighboring countries. The Virunga Mountains in the north separate Rwanda fr om Uganda. Lakes Tanganyika and Kivu and the Great Rift Valley form a natural bounda ry between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, its western neighbor. Ma rshes in southern and eastern Rwanda extend into Tanzania, Rwandas neighbor to the east. To the south of Rwanda is Burundi. Rwanda and Burundi are referred to as twins beca use they are the same size and share people: the Hutus, the Tu tsis, and the Twa (Prunier 1995:1-15). Rwanda and Burundi also share a history because they share the same colonial past. Colonialism left a legacy of racism and violence in Rwanda and Burundi. Both countries suffered massacres led by Hutus and Tutsis: history has labeled one of these massacres as genocide. A number of factors contributed to the 1994 genocide of Rwanda. This chapter provides a history of Rwanda, beginning w ith the little that is known prior to the nineteenth century, detailing the changes made to Rwandas infrastructure under colonial rule, and highlighting the events post-indepe ndence that contributed to the genocide of 1994. This chapter aims to illuminate the hi story of the creation of ethnicities within Rwanda in order to better understand how neighbors and families came to be murderers 35


and their victim s. In order to accomplish this I will include the eff ects that exposure to a European racial worldview had on Rwanda. I will also incorporate a discussion of the UNs involvement so as to provide an unders tanding of the international communitys role in the Rwandan genocide. In so doing, I will accomplish two objectives. First, I will dismiss primordial claims of conflict in Rw anda. Second, I will apply Hintons (2002a and b) discussions of genocide, especially genoc idal priming, to the situation in Rwanda. Pre-Colonial Rwanda Little is documented regarding Rwanda prior to the middle of the nineteenth century. Rwanda is a country of immigrants, home to three contemporary ethnic groupsthe Tutsi, the Hutu, and the Twawho were attracted to Rwandas fertile land and temperate climate. Although these thr ee ethnicities arrived in Rwanda during different migration surges, none of them es tablished rule by subjugating the other two ethnic groups (Pottier 2002:12). Before th e Germans invaded in 1894, Rwanda was ruled by a mwami a king. The construction and applicati on of the ethnic terms listed above did not begin to solidify until 1860 the year Mwami Rwabugiri took the throne. Rwabugiri ruled from 1860-1895, and during his rule signi ficant structural changes occurred, which affected the relationship between the individu al and the state, effectively changing the construction of individuals identity, instig ating and reinforcing cleavage between the Hutus and the Tutsis (Newbury 1988:38). The Hutus and the Tutsis shared a cultu re; they spoke the same Bantu language, they inter-married, and they applied the same organization of lineages and clans to the family unit. The differences between the Hu tus and the Tutsis relate to two features: 36


physical traits and occupation. As prim arily agriculturalists, Hutu s lacked the prestige that arose from herding cattle, a prized occupation managed by the Tutsis. The pastoralist Tutsis tended the cattle, a symbol of prestige and wealth within Rwanda and most of East Africa, which gave the Tutsis societal leverage. Therefore, despite a perceived difference in appearance, the dist inction between the tw o groups was based on wealth, not race (Pottier 2002:14). As a Tutsi, Mwami Rwabugiri introduced a top-down system for the selection of his advisors and chiefs in order to favor Tu tsis. Rwabugiri devised two systems within Rwanda that encompassed both the use of his chiefs and the payment of tribute. The first tribute system was based on ubutaka or land, where land benefits were collected based on lineage and territorial units. In the ubutaka system, provincial chiefs, the top advisors to the mwami, were chosen by Rwabugiri. Hill chiefs reported to provincial chiefs, representing lineages whose leaders paid tribute to the mwami Although early hill chiefs were chosen by lineage heads, Rwabugiri soon changed the rule s so that provincial chiefs chose hill chiefs. Thus, even local leader ship positions were controlled under a centralized system. The umuheto system worked a little differently. The umuheto system provided another form of payment. Amakoro yumuheto was collected on the basis of membership in named groups responsible to an umuheto (social army) chief (Newbury 1988:43). The umuheto chief selected lineages to be members of his group. Both of these systems emphasize the group over the individual as a lineage paid tribute, not each individual. The diagram on the next page (Figure 1) shows the distribution of tribute to the mwami 37


Figure 1. Ubutaka-Umuheto System (Newbury 1988:44). This diagram illustrates the flow of tribute from lineages to the mwami and also emphasizes lineages as the core of society, rather than individuals. 38


Rwabugiris systems maintained favori ng the work of groups over individuals and, although he favored the Tutsis, it was not at the expense of the Hutus. Power was based on class and though most Hutus repres ented the lower class, through collective action, less wealthy individuals were provided for. In 1860, over thirty years prior to the arri val of the Germans, Rwabugiri began to consolidate land control, and eventually Rwabugiris aggressive military secured Rwandas borders. According to historian Johan Pottier (2002), Rwabugiri institutionalized a system called uburetwa, which was essentially a system of forced labor. Because cattle were stil l considered a sign of wealth and prestige, and because the Tutsis wished to remain in control, poor Tutsis and most Hutus were negatively affected by this system. Similar to sharecropping, a Tu tsi would give a Hutu a cow, and in return, the Hutu would farm his land. Then the Hutu in question could use th e cow to pay tribute to Mwami Rwabugiri when the umuheto chiefs visited. And so the underclass became trapped in a system of forced labor, a system that offered no opportunity for advancement. Newbury concludes that t he state-building efforts of Rwabugiri heightened awareness of ethnic differences (1988:51). Through these efforts, ethnicity became politicized, which happened to an even greater extent under colonial rule. Colonial Rwanda: Germans and Belgians create Ruanda-Urundi The Germans arrived in Rwanda in 1894, a year before Rwabugiris untimely death. Several years before his death, Rw abugiri had one of his wives murdered for treason. He then appointed Kanjogera, his fa vorite wife, to be his son, Rutarindwas, adoptive mother. When Rwabugiri died, nami ng Rutarindwa as his successor, Kanjogera 39


plotted with her brother to put her son, Musinga, on the thro ne. A successful coup ensued in 1896, the year of the Belgians ar rival. The Belgians, however, did not gain contro l of Rwanda until after World Wa r I. From 1898 until 1916, Germany ruled Rwanda (Newbury 1988:53), followed by Belgium rule from 1916 to 1962. Germany and Belgium employed different forms of col onial rule. Whereas the Germans preferred indirect rule, the Belgians took a more active position as colonial ruler. However, both encouraged and promoted the rule of the Tuts is over the Hutus during their rule. Thus the European preoccupation with race enters Rwanda (Smedley 1999:250-251). Race in Rwanda I stated earlier that the Tutsis and th e Hutus differed based upon appearance. The stereotypical Tutsi is tall and lighter-skinned, while the stereotypical Hutu is short and darker-skinned. These physical differences attributed by Europeans stem from two Western preoccupations with race: that of the relation of race to orig ins, and therefore the innateness of ones race, and the color line of race (Smedley 1999:91). Whereas the most recent knowledge claims that the Tutsis have Cushitic origins, the Hutu resemble the peoples in neighboring Uganda and Tanzania (Prunier 1995:5)3 These physical differences led to much fantasizing at the time. Given the almost obsessive preoccupation with race in late nineteen th-century anthropol ogical thinking, this peculiarity [that of the European obsession w ith Tutsis physical a ppearance] soon led to much theorizing, romanticizing, and at times plain fantasizing (Prunier 1995:51). 3 The Cushites are believed to have originated in Ethiopi a. Linguistic and archae ological evidence support Bantu origins in West and Central Africa, with an expansion from 1000 BC-1000AD explaining the rise of Bantu peoples in East and South Africa. Refer to Dere k Nurses article Bantu expansion into East Africa: Linguistic Evidence and Robert Sopers articleB antu expansion into East Africa, Archaeological Evidence for more information (1982). 40


Anthropologist Ashley Montagu expands on the reasoning f or the extent of this fantasizing. Montagu wrote that the concept of race was Mans Most Dangerous Myth, a title which describes his conclusion on race ( 1964). Referring to nineteenth-century anthropologists, he writes: Most anthropologists took completely for granted the one thing which required to be proved, namely, that th e concept of race corresponds with a reality which can actually be measured and verified and descriptively set out so that it can be seen to be a fact (1964:66-67). Of all the definitions of race av ailable, the one I find most useful for this thesis is the following: Race is a shorthand term for, as well as a symbol of, a knowledge system, a way of knowing, of percei ving, and of interpreting the world, and of rationalizing its cont ents (in this case, othe r human beings) in terms that are derived from previous cultura l-historical experience and reflective of contemporary social values, relationships, and conditions (Smedley 1999:16). This definition encapsulates races function as a worldview, situating race within a temporal and societal context, and thereby highlighting its susceptibility to change. Acknowledging races inherent malleable nature speaks to the manner in which a European view on race can be imposed on an African country, and then internalized by the individuals of that African count ry, as is the case for Rwanda. The theoretical concept of race presupposes a connection between biology and culture, functioning as a way to organize differences, variatio ns among men, into discrete groups. Scientists, anthropologists among them, struggled to provide empirical data for a folk concept created to explain the inequalities perpetrated among men. Rationalizations and justifications for existing social realities took the form of different scientific 41


m ethods (Smedley 1999:321). Fr om measuring skulls where cr anial capacity determined intelligence to IQ tests that examined cultural knowledge, science aimed to prove that individuals could be ranked by their race by skewing data to favor the superiority of Europeans (1999:259 and 278). According to Montagu, the race concept wa s the tragic myth of our tragic era (1964: 34). Unfortunately, the era of race ex tended to the infrastructure of Rwanda, setting the stage for violence. When laying out the history of Rwa nda, Prunier utilizes myth to provide an analogy for what occurred within Rwanda under European occupation. Rwanda was compared to the bib lical Garden of Eden and to the mythical lost city of Atlantis, where the Tutsis were deemed the natural leader (1995:8). The Tutsis were considered to be white and not Negro based on their physical appearances, so the European rulers chose to promote Tutsis as the leaders of Rwanda. The promotion of the Tutsis as leaders based on notions of Race is very different from Rwabugiris promotion of the wealthy. There was nothing natural about Tutsis as advisors; it was merely Rwa bugiris prerogative as a Tutsi mwami. The transition from Tutsis as the ruling class because of one king s prerogative to the Tutsis as ruling class because it was natural speaks to two very different wo rldviews. Adopting Race as the primary worldview, as the prime indicator of identity, hardens individu als identities as one cannot escape from ones orig ins or ones skin color. The implementation of a racial worldview upon Rwanda did not occur with German rule. The arrival of the Germans did little except retain the status quo in Rwanda. Despite arriving during a period of po litical turmoil, the Germans maintained only a very light presence in Rwanda (Prunier 1995:25). There werent enough 42


Germ ans to rule that territory and so the Tuts i chiefs remained in control and continued to exploit their fellow Rwandans. But Who Started It? When the Belgians took over in 1916, they initiated mostly Tutsis as chiefs. By the time the Belgians left Rwanda in 1959, 43 out of 45 chiefs were Tutsi (Prunier 1995:27). Beginning with Rwabugiris ascension to the throne in 1860, this constitutes a century of a Tutsi ruling cla ss in Rwanda. The ruling Belgians did not merely follow a Rwandan political system by favoring Tutsis with political and social power. They institutionalized ethnicity as a factor of identity, a process that led to far more serious consequences for the Hutus and the Tutsis. Pottier writes that it was through uburetwa that social rela tions took on a strong ethnic character before the European coloni sts arrived (2002:13) Based on Pruniers research as well as Newburys, I disagree with Pottiers assignment of origins of ethnicity in Rwanda. The uburetwa system changed drastically und er Belgian rule, and it was the transformation of this system which led to the solidification of the Tutsis and Hutus as separate ethnicities base d on both class and race. Under Rwabugiri, each lineage w ould provide cattle to the umuheto chief as tribute. The Belgians instituted the privatization of land and not only taxed each individual, rather than each lineage, but also changed the tax from a payment of cattle to a monetary payment (Prunier 1995:29). By 1934, all individual s were taxed, which significantly reduced the role of kin groups as liaisons be tween the individual and the state (Newbury 1988:12). Newbur y elaborates and concludes: 43


The colonial policies of Germ any an d Belgium altered the powers of chiefs and accelerated the growth of social stratification in Rwanda. At the same time the progressive incorporation of this state into the world economyan integral part of the colonial experienceprovided incentives and rationalizations for the powerful to make further exactions on the rural masses (1988:117). The effects of these colonial policie s did more than increase the social stratification within Rwanda. The emphasis placed on the individua l by the revamped Belgian uburetwa system did not exist before coloni al invasion. Individuals belonged to umuryango (lineages) and ubwoko (clans). They identified themselves as part of a group, not as Paul the Hutu. The relationship the central government created between itself and individual Rwandans led to what Newbury calls a growth of self-conscious identity (1988:208). Identifying as an in dividual of a specific class, a specific race, led to the emergence of group awareness among the Hutus and the Tutsis. This awareness was exacerbated by the institution of identity cards in the 1930s (Des Forges 1999:37). The Belgians created identity cards, which adults had to carry with them at all times, that included ones ethnicity. Rwanda ns were required to choose a group so that ones ethnicity could be put in writing. From then on, ones ethnicity was placed on ones identity card at birth. The institution of identity cards officially transformed the fluidity of Rwa ndan identity into a permanent caste system (Des Forges 1999:38). Rwandans could not become Tutsi by gaining wealth. Children of a Tutsi parent and a Hutu parent were gi ven their fathers ethni city, ignoring half of their heritage. When Rwanda gained independence, identity cards continued to be used by the Hutu dictatorship. 44


Post-Colonial Rw anda During colonial rule, stifle d by a lack of opportunity to participate in ruling their country, Rwandans created their own politic al parties. As there was no sanctioned political forum, no opportunity to run for offi ce, politics was taken to the streets, and parties developed along ethnic lines. The Tutsis organized UNAR, the Union Nationale Rwandaise, while the Hutus divided into two camp s based on different regional bases. APROSOMA, Association Pour la Promotion Sociale de la Masse was located in the south, and PARMEHUTU, Parti du Mouvement de lEmancipation Hutu was located in northern Rwanda (Prunier 1995:42). Shortly enough, street politics transformed into physical violence, as Tutsis and Hutus turned against one another instead of the Belgians. Before and After Independence On November 1st of 1959, Dominique Mbonyamutwa, a member of PARMEHUTU was attacked by members of UNAR. Rumors spread that Mbonywamutwa had been murdered, which wa s untrue, and Hutu activists began to attack Tutsis. They fought mostly with machetes and other traditional weapons, an occurrence which would repeat in the 1994 genocide (Prunier 1995:49). Within two weeks, three hundred were dead. 1,231 people (919 Tutsi and 312 Hutu) were arrested by the Belgians (1995:49). Despite this arre st record, the Belgians took no measures to ensure that such violence did not repeat. T he colonial administra tors felt betrayed by their erstwhile protgs and so the Tutsi hunt continued unabated, forcing thousands of Tutsis to flee to neighboring Uganda (1995:50). With full UN support, the Belgians pu lled out of Ruanda-Urundi, granting the colony independence from their co lonial ruler and an opportunity to exist as separate 45


countries. T hus on July 1, 1962, Rwanda a nd Burundi were created as independent countries. While Gregoire Kayibanda, the founder of PARM EHUTU, became the first president of Rwanda, Burundi followed a different path. Mwami Mwambutsa IV, a Tutsi, was named king, and a constitutional monarchy was established where Hutus and Tutsis held equal representation in Parlia ment. Unfortunately, independence was not enough to prevent ethnic violen ce in Rwanda or Burundi. Just ten years after ach ieving independence, during the spring of 1972, a failed coup by Hutus against the Burundian Tutsi military regime led Tutsis to respond with genocidal massacres. At least 100,000 Hutus were murdered by Tutsis in Burundi as neighbors took up arms against one another, inciting 200,000 Hutus to flee to Rwanda (Melvern 2000:21). A year after the Tutsi massacre of Hutus in Burundi, on July 5, 1973, General Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, took over the Rwandan government in a bloodless coup. Under Habyarimana and hi s party, the National Revolutionary Movement for Development ( Mouvement Rvolutionnaire National pour le Dveloppement MRND), Rwanda became a single-party state (Des Forges 1999:41). The most important development to occur in Rwanda under Habyarimana was the creation of an infrastructure that enabled the government to access any Rwandan at any time. Habyarimanas Rwanda: Hutuland Habyarimanas actions as dictator of Rwanda reflected Mwami Rwabugiris earlier actions to consolidate control ove r Rwanda. Rwanda was divided into ten prefectures, which were in turn, divided into numerous communes. Communes ranged 46


in population from less than 30,000 to over 100,000 (Des Forges 1999:41).4 Habyarimana played a direct role in ruling the communes. For in stance, he handpicked each burgomaster, the leaders of the communes, creating a personal relationship not only with these men but also w ith all employees of the commune (1999:42). Des Forges claims that this intensive administration had two objectives: control and mobilization (42). One way in which Habyarimana and hi s burgomasters accomplished this control was through the continued use of identity cards. The high ratio of officials to ordinary citizens coupled with the detailed recordkeeping initiated under Habyarimanas rule simplified controlling Rwandas large population. Strict records of births, deat hs, and movement were submitted monthly, quarterly, and yearly to Habyarimanas head officials (1999:42). Any location change required individuals to register with local authorities so that an individuals whereabouts was known by every government official. More importantly, because Rwandans were still forced to carry identity cards which labeled their ethnicit y, Habyarimana and his party knew precisely where every Tutsi, Hutu, and Twa lived. By 1990, there were an estimated 700,000 Tutsi refugees in the countries neighboring Rwanda, and these Tutsi refugees worked hard to keep in touch during the exile (Prunier 1995:63). Time went by and memories of the real Rwanda began to recede. Rwanda slowly became a mythical country (1995:66). With some Tutsis having lived in exile for almost thirty year s, struggling to survive in a country where their refugee status labeled them permanently as other, life could not have been easy as a Tutsi refugee immigrant. Its no wonde r that they dreamed of returning home. 4 For a more detailed explanation of the division of Rwanda, see Leave None to Tell by Alison Des Forges (1999:41-43). 47


Rwanda in the 1990s Rwandas economy, meanwhile, was suffe ring from structural adjustment programs and an overall lack of economic independence, as Rwanda was largely supported by foreign aid (Prunier 1995:79). Coffee had become Rwandas prime export, the staple moneymaker aside from the tin indus try. In 1977, the price of coffee fell. The tin industry prevented Rwanda from falling in to economic despair/disrepair, with tin prices reaching a peak during 1982 and 1983. However, in 1986, both coffee and tin prices collapsed. During this same peri od, Rwanda had seen a significant population increase beyond the exiled refugee commun ity huddled at its border. In 1989, the population reached 7,128,000 (Prunier 1995:4). W ith the country in economic despair, the Hutus created a myth of their own, one in fluenced by colonial rule and policy, along with their present situation. The invers e of the myth propagated by the European colonial leaders, the Hutus spoke of them selves as the legitimate inhabitants of Rwanda. Their land had been taken from th em by the greedy, foreign Tutsis, and they were determined to take it back (1995: 80). But the Tutsis struck first. The Rwandan Patriotic Front, an army of Tutsi refugees stationed in Uganda, invaded Rwanda on October 1st, 1990, beginning a civil war that was over in a month. The RPF didnt have enough equipment or manpow er to win, as they had to fight two armies; the French government sent aid in the forms of troops and equipment to the Forces Armes Rwandaises, the Rwandan army. Despite losing the civil war and a number of men, the RPF remained strong. Unde r the leadership of General Paul Kagame (currently President of Rwanda) members of the RPF steadily grew. In 1991, with 5,000 soldiers, the RPF attacked Ruhe ngeri, a Rwandan prison filled with mostly Tutsi political 48


prisoners (1995:117 and 120). On January 27th, 1991, in response to the RPF attack on the prison, a series of massacres began (see Figure 2) starting in the Bagogwe community, where the Ruhengeri prison was located. The massacres then continued south into Kanama, Rwerere, and Gisenyi. These massacres continued until June of 1991, claiming an undetermined total of a pproximately 300-1,000 victims (Prunier 1995:136-137). Figure 2. Map of Rwanda deta iling areas of fighting in 1990. /resources/country_guides/Rwanda/ Prunier offers two reasons for the system ic approach of these massacres in order to answer the question, Why did so many of th e peasants participate in the genocide? For starters, a tradition of obedience pervaded Rwandan culture. Two factors combine to make orders hard to resist: strong state au thoritarian tradition and group identification (Prunier 1995:245). In the days of the aristocracy, Rwandans obeyed the mwami The 49


king was viewed as sacred, as a divine being. The mwami physically em bodied Rwanda (Prunier 1995:9). He represente d Rwanda, commanding respect and loyalty, and was therefore obeyed without question. Habyarimanas government established a strong state authoritarian tradition, encouraged by mandatory work meetings, and obligatory attendance at weekly sessions of animation propaganda meetings leavened with poetry, music, and dance created to honor Habyarimana and the MRND (Des Forges 1999:43). Furthermore, Habyarimanas work continued a colonial tr adition of dividing individuals into groups based on ethnicity. As identities were restru ctured on an individual level and ethnicities propagated, Hutus began to identify with each other as Hutus. Acts of violence reinforced group solidarity as they were collective work (Prunier 1995:143). These acts of violence culminated in the ge nocide that began in April of 1994. Genocide in Rwanda On April 6, 1994, President Habyarimana fl ew to Dar-es-Salaam to meet with President Ali Hassan Mwinyi of Tanzania, Kenyan Vice-President George Saitoti, President Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Habyarimanas fellow leaders eagerly pushed him to implement the Arusha Accords, a peace initiative, which by this point, had been signed almost a year before. After the talks, President Ntaryamira of Burundi planne d to travel with President Habyarimana to Kigali, at which point Habyarimanas pl ane, a Falcon 50, would drop off President Ntaryamira in Burundi and then return to Kigali. At 8:30 pm two missiles hit the presidential plane as it flew ove r Kigali, killing everyone on board. 50


In the past sixteen years, many theories have been provided with respect to the party(ies) responsible for President Habyarimanas death. Hutu claims made within hours of the assassination, blaming the RPF and the Belgians, do not hold because the RPF did not arrive in Kigali until the 11th of April, after the massacres of Tutsis had already begun (Des Forges 1999:698). The missiles launched were short-range missiles located near the Kigali airport where the plane was about to land before it exploded. The most popular belief is that Habyarimana was murdered by his own people who had begun to see him as a liability rather than an asset (Prunier 1995:222). The strongest support for the view that the Presidents as sassination and the en suing massacres were connected came from the speed with which th e situation moved from one to the other (Prunier 1995:223). The Falcon 50 plane was guarded for several days by the CDR, preventing examination. The CDR, the Coalition for the Defense of the Republic ( Coalition pour la Defense de la Rpublique ) was the most vocal anti-MRND political party, criticizing Habyarimana and his party for conceding too much to the opposition parties and to the RPF (Des Forges 1999:52) Furthermore, and more importantly, roadblocks were set up by th e CDR and their militia, the Interahamwe, within less than an hour after Habyarimanas death. These ro adblocks were utilized to stop oncoming traffic, identify Tutsis, separate them from the Hutus, and murder them. Colonel Theoneste Bagosora became th e leader of the interim government. Prunier called him the man behind the lists the final solution ( 1995:240). Bagosora took advantage of the records kept by Habyari manas government. Under Habyarimanas orders burgomasters were directed to comp ile lists: lists of people who had left the country under suspicious circumstances, or whose children joined the RPF, or who were 51


opponents of the Hutu republic. These lists were utilized to elim inate Rwandas enemies (Des Forges 1999:99-101). Working at night at first, the Hutu extremists murdered the intellectuals, the politicians, the journalists, and civil rights activists within 36 hours (Prunier 1995:243). The hurricane of death had crushed ei ghty percent of its victims in about six weeks between the second week of Ap ril and the third week of May. If we consider that probably around 80 0,000 people were slaughtered during that short period...the daily killing rate was at least five times that of the Nazi death camps (1995:261). There were a number of factors that allowed for this killi ng rate, among them, the popular radio station, the law requiring all Rwandans to carry identity cards that indicate their race with them at all times, and the killing machine known as the Interahamwe. The Radio-Television Libre des Mille Co llines was created in July of 1993. At this time in Rwandas history only forty per cent of the population could read or write. RTLMC began broadcasting at a time when transistor radios suddenly became cheap and available in Rwanda. In a largely illiterate population, the radio station soon had a very large audience who found it immensely entertaining (Melvern 2000:70). This station was one of two popular stations in Rwanda. The other, Radio Rwanda, was owned by the government and followed a tasteful form of presenting news information to listeners. RTLMC did not broadcast news but propaganda in the form of commentaries and interviews5. The radio serves as an example of Hintons discussion of genocidal priming. For several months prior to the ge nocide, Rwandans heard affirma tions of the myths that had circulated among them for so long. There was no other source of information to confirm 5 The RTLMC utilized its power to spread news of the UNs association with the RPF. 52


or corroborate this inform ation. During the genocide, killers often carried a weapon in one hand and a transistor radio piping murder commands in the other (Power 2002:334). Records allowed kille rs access to individuals ad dresses, and victims were identified through the ethnicity stated on their identity cards. Assailants were ordered to take victims identity cards to prove killings (Des Forges 1999:501). Among the most brutal of the assailants were the Interahamwe By 1992, Habyarimana began military training for the youth of his political party, who were transformed into the militia known as the Interahamwe, which means those who stand together or those who attack t ogether (Des Forges 1999:4). Behaving as a sort of spectacle, the Interahamwe were highly visible to the Rwandan community, sporting a uniform of red, green, and yellow, calling attention to th eir appearance with displays of public drunkenness, which more often than not, resulted in crimes and massacres of Tutsi that went unpunished (1999:4). After viewing a violent demonstration in January of 1994, UNAMIR peacekeepers commented that they were unprepared to handle this sort of violence (Des Forges 1999:148). The Interahamwes position in the planning of the genocide b ecame clear immediately; they manned the roadblocks set up after President Habyarim anas death, making a fifteen minute drive from UN headquarters to the Prime Mini sters house take three hours (1999:188). Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire comm ented on the danger of an unbalanced ethnic rivalry. He repeatedly sent warnings to UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali warning of the potential outbreak of a ci vil war. His warnings went unheeded, and genocide against the Tutsis comm enced in April of 1994 (1999:148).6 The next two 6 An abbreviated timeline of the events during the 1994 genocide is included in Appendix B. 53


sections will focus upon the genocidal prim i ng which occurred in the global community, otherwise referred to as the international community, and the local community, that is Rwanda. These sections will function to answer the why questions regarding the Rwandan genocide. Genocidal Priming: The International Communitys Responsibility International involvement in Rwanda be gan with the League of Nations Mandate of 1923, which gave Rwanda to Belgium af ter World War I. After World War II, Rwanda became a UN trust territory (Melvern 2000:11). This name change, from a mandate to a trust territory, reflected the dissolution of th e League of Nations and the rise of the UN as the new international pol ity responsible for globa l security. Under UN supervision, Rwandas first elections o ccurred in 1961, when Kayibanda became Rwandas first Hutu lead er (Melvern 2000:15). By 1993, Rwanda was in an economic and pol itical crisis. Rwanda had a foreign debt of $1 billion, and Hutu extremists we re unhappy with Habyarimana and his recent, moderate politics. The policy that incited most Hutus to rebel against Habyarimana was the Arusha Accords Habyarimana signed in August of 1993. The Arusha Accords was an internationally-sanctione d initiative created to pr event violence from engulfing Rwanda and its surrounding neighbors. Under the Arusha Accords, with respect to Rwanda, 1) UN peacekeepers would be deployed to allow for the safe arrival of Tutsi exiles/refugees (Power 2002:342), 2) a cease-f ire would occur between the RPF and the Rwandan government, and 3) multi-party elections were to be held in under two years 54


(Melvern 2000:243). However, Habyarim ana fa iled to implement the Arusha Accords in a timely manner, and so the UN once again became more involved in Rwanda. In 1993, assistance missions were created in response to the failing economy and the political turmoil caused by the Arusha Accords. In June of 1993, LieutenantGeneral Romeo Dallaire was appointed commander of UNOMUR (UN Observer Mission Uganda-Rwanda). This mission acknowledged the growing trouble on the border of Uganda and Rwanda due to the number of Rwandan refugees in Uganda. Four months later, a new mission was created. UNAMIR (UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda) was created on October 5th. UNOMUR became integrated into UNAMIR, with Dallaire still at the helm as commander (M elvern 2000:244). This language, this jargon, which permeates UN assignments, often compou nds sensitive and complex issues. Des Forges states that discussions by the Securi ty Council in April seem ed to lead nowhere and.... rarely mentioned the fate of Rwandans (1999:628). When ten Belgian UN peacekeepers were killed on April 7th, the UN response was flight. Troops were se nt to Rwanda by Belgium, Fr ance, and Italy, but only to rescue expats. Europeans were under orde rs to rescue only Europeans (Melvern 2000:140). This behavior by the internationa l community speaks to the racial window through which world leaders viewed the wo rld, because although intervention was not deemed a possibility, selling arms to Rwanda was acceptableas long as they didnt use them on Europeans. Several countries profited greatly from selling weapons to Rwanda throughout the 1990s. Arms, from mach etes to rocket launchers, were supplied by France, South Africa, Egypt, and China...In the year in which the genocide was planned, Rwanda, a 55


country the size of W ales, became the thir d largest importer of weapons in Africa (Melvern 2000:5). Des Forges mentions that along with machetes and rocket launchers, Rwandas government purchased 20,000 hand grenades and 20,000 R-4 rifles, for an army of 30,000 men (1999:97).7 The purchase of such weapons illuminates the intentions of the government. Des Forges explicitly states that these purchases indicate a plan for war. It was the obligation of the international community to determine whether the intention and the ensuing actions spoke to genocide. As the violence in Rwanda esca lated after Habyarimanas death, the word genocide was painstakingly avoided among lead ers of the international community. I attribute two reasons for this reticence: the civil war raging in Rw anda and the political consequences attached to labeling a situati on as genocide. The civil war that Rwanda was experiencing with the assass ination of the President, which led to the invasion of the RPF, accompanied the genocide of the Tutsis. Because genocide is usually veiled under the cover of war, some US officials at first had genuine difficulty distinguishing deliberate atrocities against civilians from conventional conflict (Power 2002:505). Why civil war precludes the capability fo r genocide to occur is a matter of the internationals community view on state sovereignty. It is a matter of politics, which leads to the second reason for he sitation to label the situation in Rwanda as genocide. At the time, the widely-held assumpti on among the international community was that the UN would have to act if they labele d a situation as genocide. The US refrained from interfering because of recent involvement in another African country. On October 7 An example of the manner in which weapons were distributed to Rwandan civilians: On January 16, 1994, four to five thousand MRND supporters gath ered in a stadium in Ki gali where they received weapons, uninterrupted by the U NAMIR peacekeepers who deemed the situation calm and ordinary (Des Forges 1999:155). 56


3rd, 1993, eighteen US soldiers were killed in Somalia on a peacekeeping mission. April of 1994 was simply too soon for the Clinton administration to sacrifice Americans for another African fiasco. Pa inting the situation in Rwanda exclusively as a civil war rationalized US inaction. Christine Shelly, the State Department spokesperson, stated on several occasions that acts of genocide we re clearly occurring in Rwanda, but there was not enough information to determine that the situation constituted genocide (Power 2002:359-364). Following the UNs ex ample, all American citizens were evacuated from Rwanda and the US emba ssy was closed (Melvern 2000:140). The French embassy closed on April 12, and, with the exception of the Chinese embassy, all other embassies closed, leaving only half of UNAMIRs peac ekeepers in Rwanda (Melvern 2000:142-143). The evasion by th e US, the evacuation of European and American citizens, and the UN response to the crisis in Rwanda indi cts the international community in the Rwandan genocide. The ne xt section applies Hi ntons conception of genocidal priming to Rwanda to explain th e role of Rwandans in the genocide. Genocidal Priming: Why Rwanda? As mentioned in chapter three, Hinton cr eated the term genocidal priming to refer to a set of processes that es tablish the preconditions for ge nocide to take place within a given sociopolitical context (2002a:29). Unfortunately, all of the four processes Hinton describes) socioeconomic upheaval, 2) deepening of social divisions based on differential access, 3) deepening of social di visions based on legislation and propaganda, and 4) exploitation of messages of hate by leaderstook place in Rwanda (2002a:29). 57


Sufficiently primed for genocide by April of 1994 with the economic collapse of 1989 and the ethnic tension promoted by the RTLMC, Rwanda could very well be any number of countries throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Ma ny situations could result in genocide, especially with as many cities and countries that fall prey to economic crises, but very few economic crises result in genocide. A volatile situation, like in Rwanda, requires genocidal activation. When a country primed for genocide is ignited with a tragedy, the chances of genocide resulting drastically increases. This push often comes from leaders who use panic, fear, and material gain to incite their followers to kill (Hinton 2002a:30). In the case of Rwanda, the deat h of Habyarimana served as the trigger for genocide. However, even the specific trigger of the assassination of President Habyarimana speaks more to the infrastructure that allowe d genocide to occur in Rwanda and less to the importance of this genocidal activation. Neighboring Burundi lost two presidents within six months: President Ndadaye, the fi rst Hutu to become President of Burundi, was assassinated on October 21, 1993 by Tutsi army officers (Des Forges 1999:134) and President Ntaryamira died with President Habyarimana in the attack in Kigali on April 6, 1994 (Reyntjens 2000:15). Ndadaye worked to implement a moderate and egalitarian government to rule Burundi, but he left the national army, composed mostly of Tutsis, alone. When he was assassinated, fighti ng among Hutus and Tutsis broke out, but no evidence indicates that the Tutsi army pla nned to exterminate the Hutus of Burundi following this successful assass ination (Reyntjens 2000:14). Burundians lacked identity cards, a comparable Interahamwe, and a radio station to propagate messages of hate against Hutus. 58


Conclusion The history provided in this chapter illu minates several of the transformations in Rwanda that facilitated the occurrence of genoc ide. The most important of these was the creation of the Hutus and Tutsis into rival ethnicities. The racial worldview imposed upon Rwanda figured prominently in the actions taken, not only by th e perpetrators but also by the witnesses, during the 1994 genocide. Unfortunately, there was no TV coverage of the instances lead ing up to the genocide or of the genocide itself, and, as Prunier points out, in contem porary Western society, events not seen on a TV screen do not exist (1995:274). Hintons most recen t publication (2009) on anthropologys role with respect to genocide strives to bridge the gap between representations of genocide and subsequent responses to genocide. The ne xt chapter discusses th e impact of visuals in motivating individuals to respond to genocide by focusing on the popular film Hotel Rwanda. 59


Chapter Five: Do Movies Motivate People to Act? Introduction: Film and Anthropology This chapter will attempt to answer th e question Do movies motivate people to act? by analyzing both the film Hotel Rwanda as a representation of genocide and observations of audience inter actions with films on genocide. My interest in this particular research question stems from anthr opological engagement in political activism. Public anthropology bridges the gap betw een academic anthropology and applied anthropology. Applied anthropology has accumulated a few different names, among them activist and public. I find the la bel unnecessary to dissect for my purposes. Obviously the chosen descript ors connote different meanings, but the end result is the same: public, applied, or activist anthropologists work to im plement policies or programs that create positive social change for the people with whom they work. Anthropologists often enga ge in political activism th rough their research. As anthropology has transitioned from armc hair anthropology to a more applied anthropology, one question left under-examined is the motivation that leads individuals to action. Anthropologists inevitably come to car e for the people with whom they work as they form connections. Influencing others to ca re as deeply is a more difficult challenge. I have chosen to look at how film motivat es people to act, focusing on film as a motivating agent because of its immense infl uence and prevalence in todays society. In order to frame answers to the ques tion Does film mobilize people to rally against genocide? I am going to look at a popular film that features the Rwandan genocide. As discussed in chapter two, popular films can reach large audiences. Film provides an opportunity for discussion among a variety of individuals, where a story is 60


relay ed to those who can afford the entrance price, connecting indi viduals who may share nothing in common save for the experience of th e film-viewing. Film is often utilized as an educational tool, and for this reason, f ilms on genocide are of importance. Education is integral to ensuring that past mistakes ar e not repeated. As a tool of representation, films assume authority, which makes it important that we critically analyze films. Films transmit knowledge through images. Art critic John Berger defines an image as follows: An image is a sight which has been recreated or reprodu ced. It is an appearance, or a set of appearances, which has been detached from the place and time in which it first made its appearance and preservedfor a few moments or a few centuries (Berger 1973:9). This definition aptly applies to films a bout genocide, where the majority of the audience has not directly witnessed the events portrayed in the film. Films about genocide function as a transmitter of public memory, filling in the historical gaps that exist for viewers who either didnt experi ence the genocide or didnt know about the genocide. Consequently, it is important to que stion the source of a films substance, and analyze the authority and legitimacy propagated by films of genocide. The manner in which reality is reproduced is of particular interest to those who study culture as culture is at once socially constituted (it is a product of present and past activity) and socially constitutive (it is part of the meaningful context in which activity takes place) (Roseberry 1989:144). As people produce films, films, as representations of people and their culture, in turn, influe nce, inform, and ultimately instill culture. Anthropologists producing ethnographic work, representations of the people studied, struggle to recognize and acknow ledge the power dynamics inherent in representing a 61


person, place, and/or situation. W hen the people being represented are those whose voices have been suppressed, the power dyna mics involved in representations and reproductions becomes more pronounced. Popular presentations of Africa paint th e continent as a dark, grim, and hopeless place riven with ancient rivalries and dark ma gic. A majority of films and literature available on Rwanda focus on the genocide. Novels, memoirs, and films about the Rwandan genocide are plentiful: Immacule Ilibagizas Left to Tell (2006), Rwanda Means the U niverse: A Native's Memoir of Blood and Bloodlines by Louise Mushikiwabo and Jack Kram er (2006), and Sometimes in April (2005) are among the many representations to be m ass-produced at the be ginning of the twenty-first century. The fact that doom and despair are the twin domi nant portrayals of Rwa nda is noteworthy of address because the manner in which a specific situation is portrayed directly determines the response to the situation. If a situation is portrayed as hopeless, where no manner of intervention would be fruitful, why would one spend the time, money, or labor to intervene? Chapter four helped illuminate how claims of primor dial origins of the conflict were detrimental to intervention by breaking down the construction of ethnicity in Rwanda. This chapter will analyze the effects of the perspective taken by the filmmakers of Hotel Rwanda As a technology of representation, film provides significant opportunities for anthropological analysis. One can look at i ssues of authority, at thematic decisions, and/or target audiences. As a discipline that spends much time reflexively deciding how a people, a place, or a situation should be represented, anthropology has a definitive place in analyzing popular films. When looking specif ically at films that deal with genocidal 62


subject m atter, anthropologys contribution can be useful because of its recent research on violence and genocide. I have chosen to analyze the film Hotel Rwanda because it stands out from the other films made within the same time fram e on the Rwandan genocide. For starters, it was the first major Hollywood film about th e Rwandan genocide and starred well-known Don Cheadle playing the title role with Nick Nolte and Joaquin Phoenix playing supporting roles. The film had an internati onal distribution and was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Actor, Be st Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay ( Furthermore, Hotel Rwanda follows a story line that is familiar to American audiences. The narrative fo llows one character, hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina, who plays the role of the her o, and despite the gruesome images captured in the film, the story manages to end on a note of hope rather than de spair. It is the classic tale of one man making a rippling difference. This ch apter will include a succinct plot summary of the film and follow with in-dep th explorations into scenes that relate to issues of representation and race. This chapter will conclude by delving into anthropologys connection with studying representations of genocide.8 Hotel Rwanda Premiering in the US in 2005, Hotel Rwanda tells the story of one mans experience with the Rwandan genocide. Paul Rusesabagina shelte red over one thousand Rwandans in the Hotel des Mille Collines, using his privileged position as a hotel manager to prevent Hutu generals and Interahamwe rebels from gaining access to the 8 A table of films on the Rwandan genocide is available in Appendix C. 63


refugees hid ing in his hotel. The manner in which the exclusive resort became Pauls directly represents the relationship between the international co mmunity and Rwanda. The far-reaching effects of the racial dimensi ons that dominated and infiltrated Rwanda with the entrance of colonial leaders is made pa infully visible in this film portrayal of the 1994 genocide. Don Cheadle, the actor who plays Paul Ru sesabagina in the film, introduces the movie by imploring viewers to respond to the genocide in Darfur by contributing to He st ates that the events are occurring outside of the public eye so now the spotlight turns on you. With this final remark, the screen goes black, and Don Cheadle transforms into the main character of Hotel Rwanda. The movie begins with title credits slowly appearing and dissolving across a black screen. Viewers hear someone switch a dial and are immediately introduced to the RTLMC, where a nameless, faceless DJ urges Hutus to reclaim our Hutuland. The black screen disappears, and viewers see Paul Rusesabaginaref erred to as Paul throughout the moviedriving in the Hotel des Mille Collines company van. Paul stops at a warehouse to pick up supplies for the hotel, where he offers George, the owner, a Cuban cigar and receives a car ton of free soda in return. George hands Paul an Interahamwe shirt and encourages him to support his people, as Paul is Hutu. This is business, Paul replies, avoiding taking a stance on Hutu politics. As they walk together to pick up the supplies, a forklift drops a box and hundreds of machetes fall to the ground. cents each, George says, picking one up. From China. Paul leaves with the supplies for the hotel. This first scene is repeated at crucial instances in the movie as 64


Paul struggles to do business and avoid the political situa tion that has deteriorated to the point where his business is bargaining for others lives. Later that evening, in his home with his wife and three children, Paul and his family are disturbed by noises on their street. Paul and his wife, Tatiana, step outside and see their Tutsi neighbor across the street, Victor, being beaten by Interahamwe soldiers. Tatiana asks Paul to call in favors to save Victors life. Paul denies her request, imploring her to understand that he has gathered favors to help his family if need be. Family is all that matters. Hes not family. The next day, at the hotel, UNAMIR holds a convention to celebrate the implementation of the Arusha Accords. Meanwhile, a reporter sits at the bar and expresses disbelief that the two women sitti ng next time are considered different races, that is, that one is Hutu and one is Tutsi because they look like twins. Outside the hotel, Paul receives a visit from his brothe r-in-law, Thomas, who is worried about the imminent future of Tutsis in Rwanda Tatia na, Pauls wife, is Tutsi. Paul responds, The UN are here. The world press are watching. Dont worry. The next day, Rwandans receive news on their transistor radios that President Habyarimana has been killed, and they hear RTLMC blame the Tutsis. Pauls neighbors gather at his house by the dozens, hopeful that as a moderate Hutu, Paul will be able to protect them. Paul negotiates with the Hutu army who arrives at his door screaming for the cockroaches in his house. Paul takes hi s neighbors to safety at the hotel, paying US cash for his family and offering beer for the lives of the others, a nd so the Hutu army leaves the refugees untouched. As Paul, his fa mily and his neighbors struggle to adjust to 65


their frightening situation, the hotels occupa nts, wealthy, white foreigners, barrage the front desk for inform ation on flights leaving the country. Within days, only Rwandans are left in Rwanda. All foreign press, visitors and diplomats have been evacuated. Only 300 UN peacekeepers remain in all of Rwanda, with an explicit mandate preventing them from shooting their loaded guns. Paul continues to take in ref ugees running away from the Interahamwe, as he negotiates with leaders of the army to prevent soldiers from attacking the hotel and with George to get supplies for the hotel. By this time, Paul is officially manager of the hotel, owned by the Belgian airline company, Sabena. Paul calle d the president of the company to let him know of a particularly dire situation: the hotel was about to be swarmed with Interahamwe rebels, who waited impatiently outsid e the front door to the hotel. The president made a few phone calls and ensured the refugees safety for a day at least. Paul made a second request: he asked the president to send an official stat ement saying that he, Paul, was in charge, so that the staff would obey him during this interim period. His request was granted. After a month of negotiations and frighteningly close escapes, a UN envoy successfully takes the refugees from the hotel to a camp behind RPF lines, where buses arrive to take them to Tanzania. At th e camp, Paul and his family find Thomas two daughters but not Thomas. The movie ends with a daunting summary of the end of the genocide. The genocide ended in July 1994, wh en the Tutsi rebels drove the Hutu army and the Interahamwe militia across the border into the Congo. They left behind almost a million corpses. 66


Hotel Rw anda in Slow Motion Hotel Rwanda captures a month of the Rwandan genocide. It marks the beginning of the slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis and ends with the civil war between the RPF and the FAR turning in favor of the RPF. In order to show how the relationship between the West and Rwanda is portrayed, I will now discuss a few scenes from the film. This will also help illuminate the target ed audience for this movie. The film shies away from including gr atuitous violence, and thus producing a horror film, and instead focuses on the expe rience of one man, exposing the failing relationship between Rwanda and the West which ultimately leads to the Wests abandonment of Rwanda. The face-to-face violence, which dominated the Rwandan genocide as the majority of killers used machet es, is not visible in this film, but rather alluded to, with the results of the violence depicted. Towards the end of the film, Paul must venture outside of the hotel to get supplies. He travels to Georges warehous e before sunrise one morning to find that Georges warehouse has become a headquarters for Interahamwe rebels. Although George supplies Paul with food and drink, he is frustrated wi th Pauls stubborn refusal to align with the Interahamwe rebels and the Hutu army. As Paul gets in the van, George tells him that he can take a particular road, which earlier had been blockaded by Interahamwe on his return to the hote l because it has been cle ared. Driving in the early morning fog, the van begins to stumbl e over what are presumably potholes. Paul admonishes the driver for having driven off the road. He steps out of the van and walks ahead only to fall and find that they have b een driving over dead Rwandans, piled along 67


the road for as far as Paul can see. Paul quickly gets up, gagging into a handkerchief, and races b ack to the van. The van reverses, and they take another road back to the hotel. The fact that the most extreme imagery of the genocidea gruesome scene that shows the effects of the violence but not the act of violenceis reserved for Pauls eyes affirms that it is only Paul s experience of the genocid e that viewers see. The filmmakers invoke the terror of the genocide through the eyes of Paul, whose privileged position allows viewers to see the street violence as well as the mechanisms of the structural violence that allowed the genocide to persist. This particular perspective illuminates the target audience for the film: those who do not have a visceral, firsthand connection to the genocide. Rwanda is nicknamed the land of thousands of hills ( le pays des mille collines ) (Rusesabagina 2006:3). Presenting the Hotel des Mille Collines as Hotel Rwanda makes use of this nickname. When one l ooks closely at the re lationship portrayed between white foreigners and black Rwandans in this film, the choice of title augments the filmmakers choice to focus on one man s experience with the Rwandan genocide. The allegorical function of a re sort that caters to wealthy, white individuals to represent the entirety of Rwanda sp eaks volumes to the filmmakers views on the role of the international community in the demise of Rwanda. Although the film refrains from providing any sort of history to explain the escalation of violence into genocide, Hotel Rwanda portrays the involvement of foreign part ies in Rwanda thr ough their relationship with Paul. A few reporters are staying in the hotel at the time that the genocide breaks out. One reporter, played by Joaquin Phoenix, gets footage a half a mile down the road from 68


the hotel of Interahamwe rebels slaughtering Tutsis in the st reet. He sends this footage to his news station in the US. Paul congratul ates him later that ev ening for being brave enough to capture the footage and send it overseas. Paul : I am glad that you have shot this footage and that the world w ill see it. It is the only way we have a chance that people might intervene. Jack : Yeah and if no one intervenes is it still a good thing to show ? Paul : How can they not intervene when they witness such atrocities? Jack : I think if people see this foot age they'll say, Oh my God that's horrible, and then go on eating their dinners. This conversation achieves the films objec tive to incite active witnessing on the part of the audience. By addressing the disa ster fatigue that tends to plague those not directly involved in crises, Jack directly addresses the audience watching Hotel Rwanda. Don Cheadle implored the audience to respond to Darfur before the film began. Jacks reminder of individuals lack of active empathy for such situations echoes Cheadles comment that the spotlight is on the a udience. The choice to incorporate this conversation rather than focus on the footage taken by Jack augments the films focus on informing the audience so that individuals will respond to situations of genocide. The day after Pauls conversation with th e reporter, Paul has a conversation with Belgian UN peacekeeper, Colonel Oliver, played by Nick Nolte. As UN envoys arrive at the hotel, the refugees and the white reside nts are overcome with joy. Paul follows Colonel Oliver to the bar by the pool to congr atulate him and begins making him a drink. Colonel Oliver quickly stops him. Colonel Oliver : You should spit in my face...Youre dirt. We think youre dirt, Paul. 69


Paul: Who is we? Colonel Oliver: The West. All the super powers. Everything you believed in Paul. They think youre dirt, they think youre dung. Youre wo rthless....Youre black. Youre not even a nigger. Youre an African. Theyre not gonna stay, Paul. Theyre not gonna stop the slaughter. Paul confides his disillusionmen t to Tatiana later that evening. Paul : All the whites are leaving. They are being evacuated. Tatiana : But what about us? Paul : We have been abandoned. Tatiana : But the, the soldiers will stop the killers. Paul : Listen, listen to me. I said all the whites. All the whites are leaving. The French, the Italians, even the UN Belgian soldiers. All of them. Tatiana : Who is left? Paul : I dont know. Colonel O liver says he has 300 UN peacekeepers for the whole country. The most he can spare for the hotel is four men, and they arent allowed to shoot. Paul laughs derisively. Paul : I am a fool. They told me I was one of them, and I... the wine, chocolates, cigars, style, and I swallowed it. I swallowed all of it. And they handed me their shit. I have no history, I have no memory. I am a fool. These two conversations illuminate the eff ects, and therefore extent, of Americas racial worldview.9 France, Belgium, Italy, and the US evacuated their citizens from Rwanda without any offer to help the Rwanda ns. The hierarchy inherent in belief in a system of race is exemplified by the actions of the international community. Race creates privileges, thriving on exclusion. In Rwanda, those on the lo west rung were excluded. Pauls existential crisis is indicative of the way in which an imposed identity can be 9 The differences between the racial wo rldview of America versus that of Europe are not significant as they differ only in origins and not in effects. 70


internalized so that the im position is no longer noticed. Pauls confession to Tatiana indicates that he did not s ee him self the way it was revealed that he was seen. He believed his identity to be more than one ba sed on race. But in the time of crisis, race won out as the marker of identity. Pauls identity crisis refers to the Hutu radio announcer heard at the beginning of the film. Why do I hate all the Tutsi? It s our history. The Tutsi were collaborators for the Belgian colonia lists. They stole our Hutuland. They whipped us. Now they have come back, these Tutsi rebels. They are cockroaches, murderers. Rwanda is our Hutuland. We are the majority. They are a minority of traitors a nd invaders. We will squash their infestation. We will wipe out the RPF rebels. This is RTLM Hutu power radio. Stay alert, watch your neighbors. Obviously Paul wasnt the only individual who internalized his imposed identity. Hutus imposed identity, and therefore Tutsis impos ed identity, led to the genocide. These same scenes, which reveal 1) the relationship between the West and Rwanda, and 2) the imposition and interna lization of identity among Rwandans, also accomplish another objective: indicating the film s target audience. The terror projected in the film exists because the details ar e unknown to the audience. Those who do not know more than a place and a time, who have no more than a vague notion of the events that occurred, would be frightened by the pr ospect of Pauls family being massacred as well as shocked, if not outright revolte d, by the actions taken by the international community. The entire film functions as a message for those who are the most removed from the genocide. When Don Cheadle breaks the fourth wall at the beginning of the film by directly addressing the audience to aid Darfur, he sets the tone for the duration of the film 71


as this m essage, this appeal to help, is re peated throughout the film. The evacuation of the white individuals in Rwanda is preceded by Pauls conversations with Jack and Colonel Oliver. These conversations set up the emotional scene, conducted in the rain with only an instrumental melody playing, wh en hundreds of black refugees race to the hotel and UN envoys escort a bus of white pe ople to safety. Even without the emotional triggers like the rain and th e violin music, the conversations above, where Pauls confidence, which has been established as Rwandas confidence, in the UN and in the US, is shattered at its most crucial time of need, achieve the authenticity necessary for such a dramatic, climactic scene. There are discrepancies be tween the film and Paul Rusesabaginas autobiography. The effects of these discrepancies on the film s authenticity will be discussed next, along with an introduction to the background in which Hotel Rwanda was filmed and the role that anthropology can play in analyzing such films. Whose Genocide? Behind the Set on Hotel Rwanda Background Filming for Hotel Rwanda began in 2003, the same year that the fighting in Darfur entered American newscasts. Alt hough the UN had yet to declare genocide, the US labeled the activities occurr ing in Darfur as genocide in 2004, but still did nothing to intervene ( ). Making a film about the last genocide of the twentieth century while the firs t genocide of the twenty-fir st century began must have been taxing. It is understandable that Hotel Rwanda begins with an appeal to help the 72


people of Darfur. This sheds som e light on the filmmakers decision to focus the film on international responses to the genocide rather than portray more events of the Rwandan genocide. However, this Western portrayal of an African situation complicates issues of representation, especially when the main character of the film, a Hutu, represents a minority in the victims of the genocide. Rusesabaginas autobi ography provides a chance to look at the efforts taken by the filmmakers to enhance Pauls story for the screen. Discrepancies Two discrepancies between the autobiography, An Ordinary Man (2006) and Hotel Rwanda provide opportunities to di scuss the authentic ity of the films story. For starters, Tatiana is Pauls second wife. The three children portrayed in the movie are the children of Paul and his first wife, Esth er (Rusesabagina 2006:37 and 43). Pauls dedication to his job and his success placed a strain on his first marriage that may or may not affect his recent second marriage. Paul, his wife, Tatiana, and their three children, represent a typical nuclear familyan unach ieved American ideal since at least the 1950s. Portraying Paul as a divorced worka holic does not make for an American-style hero. As this was not the point of Hotel Rwanda, Pauls personal history was excluded from the film, establishing a simple good guy-bad guy scenario in Rwanda. The second discrepancy concerns the scene towards the end of the film when Paul and his family receive exit visas. In the film Paul decides at the last minute, after his wife and his children have gotten in the UN tr uck, to stay at the hotel to protect the remaining refugees. This attempt to bring refugees to safety proved unsuccessful as Interahamwe swarmed the UN trucks, demanding identity cards and killing those who were Tutsi. Tatiana and her children were spared as the UN trucks doubled back to the 73


hotel. In reality, Paul did not abandon his fam ily at the last m inute. He decided with his family the evening before the envoy arrived to stay at the hotel (Rusesabagina 2006:148). This diversion from the truth emphasizes the films focus on Pauls perspective. The only victims of the genocide that the audi ence receives opportunities to connect with are Paul and his family. The films focus on Pauls perspective of the genocide begs the question whose genocide is being represente d? Paul represents a minority of the victims of the Rwandan genocide. However us eful the film is for encouraging faith in humanity, for pointing out the opportunities that could have been ta ken to prevent such an atrocity, by ignoring the complexities of the situation in Rwanda, the film continues a tradition of Western authority on African s ituations. This phenomenon provides an entry-point for anthropo logical analysis. Anthropology and Representations of Violence Although the study of genocide is a r ecent phenomenon, the limited purview of the studies has prevented the research from addressing issu es of representation. Hinton writes: Within genocide studies, the majority of research has focused on understanding the genocidal process a nd seeking ways to prevent future genocides. With the exception of th e Holocaust, much less attention has been focused on the aftermaths of genocide, both on how it affects perpetrators, victims, and their descendants and on the ways in which genocide is represented, portrayed, a nd explained in the media and the academy (Hinton 2002b:12). Comprehensive studies of representations of genocide provide entry-points for better understanding how cycles of violence ar e perpetuated and how to break them. Furthermore, representing a people whose voice has been suppresse d requires a delicacy 74


that plagues most productions of nonfiction film No representation is flawless, but all representations im ply, at the ve ry least, an acknowledgment of a person or situation. Group violence, then, is doubly frame d by specific representations: first, in a local structure of representations that incites violence and guides its execution: second (and third....), and in the many second-order representations by public officials and observers (including anthropologists) whose manner of speaking may shape subsequent international responses (Bowen 2002b:387, emphasis mine). Hotel Rwanda premiered eleven years after the Rwandan genocide. The Rwandan genocide is a piece of Rwandan history: it is not Rwanda. Rwanda today is not Rwanda of 1994. Human rights activist and author, John Pre ndergast, offered a solution to films that speak to situations of violence during a public lecture in St. Petersburg titled From the Holocaust to Darfur: If We Had Only Learned Our Lesson (March 11th, 2010). His suggestion includes adding a postscript at th e end of such films that details current circumstances in the region portrayed in the film. Hotel Rwanda ends with hope because of Pauls survival and heroic actions that saved so many lives, but it does not necessarily leave one with hope regarding the future of Rw anda, or Africa for th at matter, because of the mention of Darfur at th e beginning of the film. Hotel Rwanda ends with information on the immediate aftermath of the genocide and with information on Paul and his family, i.e. where they are cu rrently living, but not with informa tion on the state of Rwanda now. Currently, Rwanda is in a state of tr ansition as it works to reconstruct a peaceful postgenocide society. Rwanda is going through a Tr uth and Reconciliation process similar to that of South Africa, which will be discussed in more detail in the last chapter of this thesis. 75


Conclusion: So Do Movies Incite A ctivism? So does watching movies motivate individua ls to respond to genocide? Over the past two years, STANDStudents Taking Action Now: Darf urhas shown a number of films on campus in an effort to raise awaren ess and recruit members. In the fall of 2009, STAND showed The Devil Came on Horseback (2007) in a common area in one of the dormitories on campus. A documentary about former US Marine, Brian Steidle, struggling to make the story of Darfur public, The Devil Came on Horseback does not leave one with hope, as Brians efforts are not met with an interested audience. When the movie ended and the lights turned back on, peop le were eager to leave. As there was no discussion set for afterward, there was no incentive for people to stay. When STAND received feedback about the film screening, individuals who attended noted that a discussion would have helped them contextualize the information that they witnessed in the film. So in the spring of 2010, STAND incorporated two discussionsone on the effects of race on ge nocide and the other on the role that sovereignty plays in international interven tion in situations of genocidealong with a film screening and a fundraising event during a week in April 2010 of raising awareness about the genocide in Darfur. The first discussion focused on Rwanda and Darfur. The portion dedicated to Rwanda focused on the separation of the Tuts is and Hutus based upon notions of Race. The portion on Darfur spoke to the implications of the various representations of the violence, which led to the second discussion, where Professor Alcock of New College of Florida spoke to the reasons for a lack of in ternational intervention in Darfur. The week culminated with a fundraiser with proceeds goi ng to the Genocide Intervention Network. 76


In case students did not attend any o f the events that occurr ed during the week, a tent was set up with information on the situation in Da rfur visible on the outside and testimonies visible inside. A petition was also circulat ed imploring the US gove rnment to recognize that the current presidential elections occurri ng in Sudan are neither free nor fair and will only further antagonize the violence in Sudan. Darfur Now (2007) The Devil Came on Horseback (2007) and Darfur Diaries: Messages from Home (2004) are among the many documentaries created in an attempt to raise awareness among the genera l public of the situation o ccurring in Darfur. Whether or not these films have encouraged individuals to respond to genocide, screening films is indeed a prominent part of activist agendas, as they allow humanitarian groups to spread an important message to a large amount of people. Hotel Rwanda seems to be set-up to encourag e individuals to take action in Darfur. The film speaks directly to its a udience, creating an a udience by emphasizing a message that could only speak to a certain group of people. Rwandans do not need to be informed of the genocide that occurred in thei r country, nor be told that they should care. Written for a western audience, with an introduction speaking out for Darfur, Hotel Rwanda speaks to the larger theme of genocide rather than sp ecifically the Rwandan genocide. The film provides a version of the Rwandan genocide that is useful in understanding the role that individuals can play in preventing genocide by highlighting the role of Paul Rusesabagina. Hotel Rwanda provided an accurate portrayal of the relationship between the West and Rwanda. Through visuals of the many ways in which 77


the in ternational community remained inactive, the film indicated ways in which action could have been achieved, the way in which people could have made a difference. As a medium of representation, film tells a story to a large audience. By working with a familiar narrativethat of the hero saving the day Hotel Rwanda reaches out to a wide audience. The films PG-13 rating allo ws teenagers to experi ence the story. Film, in general, inspires dialogue, and dialogue is necessary to ensure the prevention of genocide for silence only secures the deat h of future victims of violence. The last chapter of this thesis discus ses the current situation in Rwanda. As Rwanda works through the horrific effects of th e genocide, a racial pa radigm continues to affect issues of identity a nd reconciliation, and thus re presentationinternally to Rwandans and externally to members of the international community. As Rwanda engages in this process of reconstruction pos t-genocide, the roles that individuals can play in solving the issue of genocide are further illuminated. 78


Chapter Six: Memory, Witnessing, and Anthr opologys Role Rwanda in 2010 This chapter begins by discussing the reconciliation process that is ongoing in Rwanda. The gacaca process utilizes a local form of justice where the communities of the victims are integrally involved in trying the accused. Anthropologist Jennie Burnet discusses the utilization of no tions of race. This chapter also includes information on the violence ongoing in Southern Sudan and discusses the potential for individual involvement to prevent escalation to genocide. For sixteen years Rwandans have been living with the effects of genocide, consequences which combine psychological damage with a weak infrastructure as of yet unable to support its population. Today, Rw anda is in the midst of a truth and reconciliation process similar to South Africas post-Apartheid struggle for justice. In response to the ineffectiveness of the tribunal and the incapacity of its national court system, the Rwandan gove rnment has revived a traditional form of dispute resolution cal led Gacaca (ga-CHA-cha). 10,000 Gacaca courts will try genocide suspects in the communities where their crimes were committed. They will be tried and judged by their neighbours (Tiemessen 2004:58). Gacaca, written into law in 2002, serves as th e current search for restorative justice in Rwanda. The gacaca process combines grass-roots justice with traditional Rwandan communal involvement in reconcili ation. As it was, the internationallysanctioned justice system was costly and not moving quickly. The international human rights stipulation that violators be provided a speedy trial with acceptable counsel was not happening. Prisoners indicted with crim es against humanity for perpetrating the 79


Rwandan genocide were languish ing and dying in prison. The gacaca process provided a rem edy to this situation. In Gacaca, the accused are tried in the community in which their crime is said to have occurred. The community acts as a sort of general assembl y, speaking against the accused. In this way, all victim s have a chance to address th eir perpetrator(s) (Tienessen 2004:63). The act of confessing is conducive to reintegration: public acknowledgment is essential to prevent denied histories l eading to a repeat of genocide. As part of the healing pr ocess, the central government is presenting a new united identity of Rwandans. President Paul Kaga me, former leader of the RPF, has worked ceaselessly to promote a Rwanda that is devoid of racial divisions, claiming that Rwandans are no longer Hutu or Tutsi but si mply Rwandan. When returning to Rwanda in 1994, the RPF promoted this nationalis t ideology, claiming th at all Rwandans belonged to an umuryango, a lineage or kin group, stressi ng the impact of colonialists role in creating race in Rwanda (Des Forg es 1999:693). This ideology is noble but the legacy left by genocide is not easily erased. Whose Rwanda? In her article Whose Genocide? Whose Truth? Representati ons of Victim and Perpetrator in Rwanda, Jennie Burnet (2009) identifies one of the problems with the labels utilized in post-genocide Rwanda to accommodate justice. The term Tutsi has transformed into a synonym for victim. Since the majority of the victims of the genocide were Tutsis, this is understandable. Howeve r, using Tutsi and victim interchangeably defines victimhood along racial lines, thus c ontinuing the perpetuati on of Race instilled by the Belgians, and therefore ignores those Hu tu, moderate in their politics, who also 80


suffered during the genocide, as m any were spared where their wives or husbands and children were not. In an attempt to bala nce the turmoil wrought by the genocide, Rwandas new RPF-led government has promoted the categorizat ion of Tutsis as victims and Hutus as perpetrators (2009:86). This promotion o ccurs simultaneously with assertions that individuals in Rwanda are Rw andans and not divided according to race. African scholar Alana Tiemessen describes the effects of the di vide of Hutus and Tutsis in post-genocide Rwanda on the gacaca process. The state-imposed approach of command justice has politicized the identity of the participants in Gacacaperpetrators remain Hutus and victims and survivors remain Tutsis Additionally, the refusal of the Kagame government to allow for the prosecution of RPF crimes to be tried in Gacaca courts empowers th e notion that Tutsi survival is preconditioned by Tutsi power and impunity (2004:57). The national narrative pursued and divul ged by the RPF government proposes a homogenized, standardized version of th e events that comprised the genocide, designating the Tutsis as victims and the Hutu s as perpetrators. The construction of a narrative assumes a power dynamic, and in this case, individuals are once again rendered powerless because the national narrative precludes individual experience. The gacaca legal process allows victims to seek retribu tion, but the exclusionary nature continues a process, which the past has shown induces violent consequences. Remembering to Witness: Not Just Anthropologys Challenge Scholar Herbert Hirsch writes on the discourse of memo ry, claiming that memory requires renewal, and when the memory is one of genocide, the more who remember the better (1995:32). Film plays an important role in dissemi nating information and raising 81


awareness to a larg e audience. The power of images was recently utilized by the New York Times with a photography exhibit portraying scarred survivors of the Rwandan genocide (Abdelaziz 2010). Obviously intere st in the Rwandan genocide persists as survivors and witnesses struggle to make sense of their genocidal history. So what can we do as individuals? We continue to educate to eliminate racism and remain vigilant, keeping in mind that the culture of race placement required embroidering a social tapestry replete with small acts and nuances that formalized and entrenched gross inequality (Smedley 1999:218 ). Montagu concludes in his work on Race that the solution to eradicating racism is enlightened action (1964:342). Although Montagus views for educating individuals sp eaks specifically to the need for changes within the educational system, his term enli ghtened action indicates the potential for anyone to participate in eradicating racism. The work of the individuals menti oned in this thesisL emkin, Scheper-Hughes, Hinton, Rusesabaginaprove that individua ls can make an observable, positive difference. It is not nave or utopian to place hope in the power of the individual; it is necessary. As Margaret Mead said, Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, comm itted citizens can change the world; ind eed, it's the only thing that ever has. Change is a process requiring dialogue and policy im plementation, where the two exchanges of information must occur concur rently in order to achieve the efficacy demanded with situations of violence. At an event (2010) at Eckerd College in which John Prendergast and Elie Wiesel spoke on lessons learned since the Holocaust, El ie Wiesel told a stor y in answer to how we can move forward to prevent genocide. 82


A man was lost in the woods. For days he walked through the forest, seemingly in circles, hopeless that he would ever find his way out. Then one day he saw another man walking toward him. Excitedly he hurried towards this fellow, certain that his wandering adventure would soon be over. How glad I am to see you! he excla imed. Can you tell me how to get out of here? My friend I am just as lost as you, the man replied. The lost mans face fell. But since I have come from that direction, the man said, pointing behind him. I can tell you that is not the way out. The prolific amount of information that has been conducted on genocide coupled with the burgeoning number of anti-genocide campaigns i ndicates that we are moving in the right direction to prevent genocide from dominati ng the twenty-first century. So long as we continue to bear witness, learning from the e xperiences of others, rather than treating them with indifference, genocide will remain contemporary only in our vigilant remembrance instead of our lived experience. 83


Appendix A Figure 3. Chart of US Responses and UN Respons es to genocides after 1948. Country Peak of Genocide Year UN Takes Perpetrators to Court US Government Response during Peak of Genocide Nigeria 1967-1970 Never None ( /world/war /biafra.htm ) Cambodia 1977-1978 Never None (Power 2002:90) Iraq 1988 Never Economic Investment in Perpetrator (Power 2002:171-245) Bosnia 1993 2007 US bombed Serbia in 1999. (Power 2002:438-440) Rwanda 1994 1998 US Presid ent Clinton apologized. (Power 2002:386) Darfur TBD N/A US President George W Bush labels the situation genocide in September of 2004. ( ) 84


Appendix B Figure 4. Table showing abbreviate d tim eline of Rwandan genocide Date Event April 6th RTLMC blames Tutsi rebels for the Presidents death and calls for Hutus to kill all the cockroaches April 7th Ten Belgian peacekeepers guarding the Rwandan prime minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, are killed RTLMC claims that the RPF and Belg ian peacekeepers ar e responsible for the death of President Habyarimana April 8th Telephone lines are cut April 9th Foreigners are evacuated April 12th French embassy closes its doors April 20th Belgium withdraws soldiers from UNAMIR April 21st UN Security Council votes to withdraw majority of UNAMIR peacekeepers270 remain April 28th OXFAM issues a press release sayi ng what is occurring in Rwanda amounts to genocide May 23rd RPF reaches the presidential palace July 3rd RPF takes Butare July 4th RPF takes Kigali July 13th RPF takes Ruhengeri July 17th RPF takes Gisenyi, the last Rw andan stronghold of Hutu Power July 22nd US troops are deployed to help the refugees (Melvern 2000:245-248) 85


Appendix C Figure 5. Film s on the Rwandan Genocide Title Release Date in the US Total Gross 100 Days 2001 N/A Sometimes in April 2005 N/A Shooting Dogs or Beyond the Gates 2005 $40,848 Hotel Rwanda 2005 $23,530,892 ( 86


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