The senior lecturer in media analysis at the University of Murdoch in Australia, Michael Broderick, has said that community consultations as far horrific images of the Genocide are concerned, could be a way to know how people feel about the graphics.
In an e-mail to The New Times, Broderick said that the organisers of the commemoration could liaise with survivor groups in the planning of each year’s theme and activities.
“It is through this kind of liaising and consultations that can inform the degree to which potentially disturbing imagery is rendered,” he said.
For Broderick, the emphasis since last year, and certainly for this year, is much more oriented towards hope for the future, while acknowledging the tragic past and ongoing sorrow and trauma which he said is a positive way forward.
The connection between trauma escalation and brutal Genocide images was once again proven on the night of last Wednesday at the stadium, when cases of trauma rapidly increased as soon as a film based on the Nyange Girls’ massacre began showing.
The issue of the graphics on television and in documentary films shown in public places during this period being a reason for increased trauma cases, has been a point of debate since 2008, but no consensus has been reached since the strategy to stop showing the graphics has faced tremendous criticism.
Some experts and Genocide survivors associations have opposed this, maintaining that what happened in 1994 should be shown uncensored and that there is no any other way of showing how the genocide was carried than how it happened.
According to Broderick, the screening of the scenes will certainly add to the possible re-traumatisation of survivors.
He, however, said that, psycho-social research shows that other incidental reminders of the genocide in daily life continue to haunt and upset survivors and these include certain songs that are played.
“Past events can be evoked in the audio-visual media in ways that gesture towards the horrors without explicitly showing them. Still, it is important to have these aspects of the genocide represented in some way for the younger generation now reaching adolescence that were not born when the atrocities occurred,” he further noted.
He advises media houses to also conduct qualitative research prior to, and do evaluation after, each commemoration event.
He says that by seeking representative members from all of Rwandan society, media houses can test their approaches before embarking on them, and moderate these programmes depending on the feedback their research unveils.