Why we write about the Genocide, authors speak out

First Lady Jeannette Kagame during the Café Littéraire at Kigali Conference Exhibition Village on Thursday. She is flanked by Dr Clet Niyikiza, the founder of global pharmaceutical firm, L.E.A.F and Radegonde Ndejuru (L). Courtesy

First Lady Mrs. Jeannette Kagame on Thursday evening joined literature enthusiasts at a book discussion session known as Café Littéraire held at Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village.

The session aimed at reviewing works of authors on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The event was part of the International Conference on the Genocide conversations which opened on Thursday in Kigali, as part of the 25th Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The session featured three authors; Virginie Brinker (France) Koulsy Lamko (Chad) and Jean-Marie Vianney Rurangwa (Rwanda), who shared insights on literature on the genocide themed around 'Preserving the memory of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi’.

The authors said works of literature on the subject should seek to among other things educate the world, especially the youth, on the 1994 Genocide, the execution, consequences and recovery.

This will among other things combat mis-interpretations and misrepresentation, organisers said.

The session came at a time when experts say that there has been growing genocide ideology and denial of the Genocide against the Tutsi across the world.

Jean-Marie Vianney Rurangwa an author who has covered the subject in four books in French said that this partly serves to set the narrative straight for the rest of the world to learn from as well as the young generation.

“Knowledge on the occurrences can serve to make sure that genocides cease to happen across the world. It will also ensure that the youth and generations to come have adequate and factual reference points for them to be able to play a role going forward,” he said.

He also said that the subject covers multiple aspects including the resilience and recovery of the nation at a time a number of African countries are attempting the rebuild after various atrocities.

This, he said, also supports national development and growth as the audience gets to understand attributes of the nation such as resilience.

Virginie Brinker, another author, said that various forms of literature including plays, books and poem can serve as strong tools to ensure that genocide ideology is curbed by bringing on board multiple actors to play a role.

Brinker said that it is important to understand the past adequately to avoid any misinterpretation of facts which perpetrators of genocide ideology ride on.

“It’s still a story that is being written as the country is still going places, these stories need to be told,” she said.

She commended the nation for not hesitating to tell and sharing the story and use it as a lesson for the rest of the world and for coming generations.

Koulsy Lamko an author from Chad said that going forward, the literature can be used to make a case to mobilize other countries and organization who are yet to recognize the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi which can among other things enable delivery of justice.

The international conference on Genocide had brought together scholars, researchers, authors and academics from Africa and beyond.

It will end Friday, ahead of the 25th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi, which starts Sunday to honour the over a million people killed in the Genocide.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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