2015, I made a similar argument, suggesting that social movement theory has much to contribute to understanding genocide ( Luft 2015a ). In particular, I argued that the same mobilization mechanisms found in other forms of contentious politics are often
Evidence from Rwanda
This article looks at the significance of local circumstances, including direct encounters between victims and assailants, in the genocide process. In what scholars term “the micropolitical turn in the study of social violence,“ the argument here considers the encounter from the perspectives of both constituent parties. Assailants often acted before they thought, raising questions about the premise of intention and calculation that anchors the defining Article 2 in the United Nations Genocide Convention. Victims in local encounters express in their accounts a recognition of their assailants and describe what amounts to a betrayal of the trust they invested in their compatriots. Expressions of recognition in witness accounts attenuate victims' resentment and recrimination, opening a space that permitted possibilities for postgenocide reconciliation and even qualified forgiveness.
Encounters with Rithy Panh
In this article, I examine encounters with an artist and his art: Cambodian exile filmmaker Rithy Panh. In his cinematographic and artwork, Rithy Panh comes to terms with his childhood, the death of his family, and the suffering of his people during the Khmer Rouge regime and the genocide in Cambodia. Conflict and displacement are themes usually approached by researchers using language-based methods, which do not give us fully adequate insights into the “felt and experienced” temporal/spatial aspects of conflict and displacement. I frame my discussion through the reflective interaction between art, an artist with violent conflict and displacement background and the audience—a researcher. First, I examine how taking the sentipensar approach to research through art encounters and researcher as a thinking-feeling person contributes to a different understanding of personal trajectories, experiences of, and emotions connected to conflict, war, and displacement. My second aim is to analyze how artistic practice of Rithy Panh contributes to coming to terms with and to creating alternatives to the official public discourses about the past and the present, at individual and societal levels.
From Silence to Knowledge and Back Again
beyond the reach of the Nazis: all were forced to confront it, to understand what happened, to grapple with what it meant to be a Jew and a human being after the genocide. One major component of that generational project involved finding a language in
's engagement with the paradox that the very act of erasure draws attention to what is being ruled out. 2 In this article, I will ask whether the audacious project of imagining the aftermath of genocide in Britain is part of a metaphysical or a more
Methane Extraction in Lake Kivu, Rwanda
immediate aftermath of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis’ ( Government of Rwanda 2000: 3 ) as its point of departure, and was framed as a ‘reconstruction of the nation of Rwanda and its social capital’ (2000: 10). That is, expanding energy production
History, Politics, and Exile Identity among Rwandan Rebels in the Eastern Congo Conflict
This article analyzes how the 1994 genocide in Rwanda is recalled and described by members of a Hutu rebel group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) whose leadership can be linked to the 1994 atrocities in Rwanda. The article explores how individuals belonging to this rebel group, currently operating in the eastern territories of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), articulate, contest, and oppose the dominant narrative of the Rwandan genocide. Based on ethnographic fieldwork with members of the FDLR in a rebel camp, this article shows how a community of exiled fighters and second-generation Hutu refugees contest the official version of genocide by constructing a counterhistory of it. Through organized practices such as political demonstrations and military performances, it further shows how political ideologies and violence are being manufactured and reproduced within a setting of military control.
This article discusses the meaning of justice in the context of cosmopolitan law and human rights movements in Argentina. Specifically, it addresses the practice of , an alternative path to justice introduced by the organisation HIJOS, and the current trials against the ‘perpetrators’ of the last military regime. In doing so, the article traces the connection between an emergent consciousness of genocide as a historical ‘truth’ and the innovative localisation of cosmopolitan law in order to meet this ‘truth’ on a juridical level. As such it offers the idea of social and legal practices to be analysed not just as local articulations of justice, but as legal theory productions with potential lessons for elsewhere.
Ambiguity and excess in “postethnic” Rwanda
Following the 1994 genocide, the government of Rwanda embarked on a “deethnicization” campaign to outlaw Tutsi, Hutu, and Twa labels and replace them with a pan-Rwandan national identity. Since then, to use ethnic labels means risking accusations of “divisionism” or perpetuating ethnic schisms. Based on one year of ethnographic fieldwork in the university town of Butare, I argue that the absence of ethnic labels produces practical interpretive problems for Rwandans because of the excess of possible ways of interpreting what people mean when they evaluate each other's conduct in everyday talk. I trace the historical entanglement of ethnicity with class, rural/urban, occupational, and moral distinctions such that the content of ethnic stereotypes can be evoked even without ethnic labels. In so doing, I aim to enrich understandings of both the power and danger inherent in the ambiguous place of ethnicity in Rwanda's “postethnic” moment.
Female Génocidaires in the Aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide
Since the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the current government has arrested approximately 130,000 civilians who were suspected of criminal responsibility. An estimated 2,000 were women, a cohort that remains rarely researched through an ethnographic lens. This article begins to address this oversight by analyzing ethnographic encounters with 8 confessed or convicted female génocidaires from around Rwanda. These encounters reveal that female génocidaires believe they endure gender-based discrimination for having violated taboos that determine appropriate conduct for Rwandan women. However, only female génocidaires with minimal education, wealth, and social capital referenced this gender-based discrimination to minimize their crimes and assert claims of victimization. Conversely, female elites who helped incite the genocide framed their victimization in terms of political betrayal and victor’s justice. This difference is likely informed by the female elites’ participation in the political processes that made the genocide possible, as well as historical precedence for leniency where female elites are concerned.