Genocide symposium focuses on trauma

KIGALI - The International Genocide Symposium currently underway in Kigali, is focusing on seeking a solution to the post-Genocide trauma, which according to research, is on the rise. The symposium, which has brought together international researchers and various stakeholders, was organized to precede the 16th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that starts tomorrow.  

KIGALI - The International Genocide Symposium currently underway in Kigali, is focusing on seeking a solution to the post-Genocide trauma, which according to research, is on the rise.

The symposium, which has brought together international researchers and various stakeholders, was organized to precede the 16th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that starts tomorrow.

According to a recent research on the situation of trauma in the country, it was established that at least 30 percent of people suffer from trauma; a figure they maintain is alarming.

Speaking to The New Times, Prof. Simon Gasibirege, a psychiatrist with a Kigali-based counselling centre, attributed the escalation of cases to the fact that many survivors have not been able to open up on how their loved ones died, which he said, helps in the healing process.

“Many survivors who suffer trauma are often heard talking about how their relatives were killed; an indication that they have not been able to speak out about these things in normal life, said Gasibirege.

“So the more they suppress these images they witnessed during the genocide; it becomes a big problem, especially when the commemoration period approaches.”

According to the specialist, there is need for researchers to come up with more vivid ways on how Rwandans can go about the problem and find a lasting solution.

“We had assumed that as time goes by, the problem would scale down, but the truth is, effects are even going down to the children who never witnessed the Genocide, and according to the experience from the Jewish participants, it could even affect our children up to the third generation,” he said.

He urged parents to open up to their children on what happened to them during the Genocide so that they can also come to terms with it, to avoid passing it on to the next generation.

Prof. Mick Broderick from Murdoch University in Australia told The New Times that there should be a proper balance on the kinds of images to be shown during the commemoration period.

“Filmmakers should find ways of portraying what happened with a lot of sensitivity through fine art and selecting the right images in order to avoid horror scenes,” Broderick said, adding that it is also not good to completely ignore the importance of such films in the healing process.

Gasibirege added that there is need for prior warning of what will be shown especially at public gatherings so that people can choose to watch or not to, because according to him, people have varying abilities on how to handle the trauma issue.

Organised by the National Commission for the Fight against the Genocide (CNLG), the symposium that started Sunday at Serena Hotel in Kigali, ends today.

Ends

 

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