Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lest we Forget!

Above: A mass grave at the Kigali Memorial Centre (For inspirational survivor stories visit http://www.kigalimemorialcentre.org/)

Below: Ruhande Memorial Site at the National University of Rwanda in Butare

"Those who forget the past", declared George Santayana, "are condemned to repeat it". It seems Rwanda is applying this 'philosophy of history' for virtually the whole country is full of memorials of the genocide. 'Lest we Forget' seems to be the solemn message. A close examination of the history of the genocide reveals that in a significant way historical amnesia, if not historical apathy, lead to the 1994 genocide. It proves that we cannot triviliaze history even when it provides signs of history repeating itself in a relatively minute scale. What lessons do we learn from Rwanda when dealing with 'historical deadlocks' in Kenya, Zanzibar, Zimbabwe, South Africa and other places in our beloved continent of Africa? Do we simply wish these deadlocks away? Or do we frankly tackle them head on?


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