Identity In Rwanda Summary

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Identity is an instrumental tool in the mechanisms of state formation and governance. For many nations, divisions within national identity whether based on religion, race or family origins leads to some sort of conflict. Rwanda provides an extreme case when national identity is used for political, economic and hateful reasons to perhaps the worst category of conflict, genocide. Within one hundred days between 800,000 to 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were butchered by their Hutu neighbours between April and July, 1994. While the exact reasons behind what initiated the genocide are debated, a greater discussion is occurring for Rwandan genocide perpetrators, survivors and the new youth generation is on how ethnic-based identities were crafted. …show more content…
Despite these divides, the book can be easily divided into to main categories. The first is of the historical role of ethnic identities before, during and after the colonial period. This period includes the 1959 Hutu Revolution, 1962 Independence, First and Second Republic under President Gregoire Kayibanda and Juvenal Habyarimana respectively, the genocide and the rebuilding process since under the control of Kagame. The second section examines how the crafting and education of historic and current identities effects current understandings of what it means to be ‘Rwandan’. This includes an understanding of the origins of Rwanda with the core focus on ethnic divisions. Fegley examines the grappling of this subject mostly in the various methods of reconciliation, justice and education. The role of education to craft the new ‘Rwandan’ identity provides the greatest amount of analysis and previously unpublished research. History education plays an important role, but teaching history is complicated as students, teachers and parents all experienced the genocide. While some fear a possible repetition of the genocide, others such as teachers are nervous about being accused of denying the genocide when teaching Rwandan history and …show more content…
The quantity of information given in Fegley’s new book is able to be both extensive as well as accessible. The organisation of the various historical periods, events and people fosters an easy understandings of details and the possible consequences they have on how Rwandans view identity whether in terms of socio-economic, royalty, ethnic or the current nationalism. Various academic materials used throughout this book bolster its ability to inform and not be categorised as either 'for ' or 'against ' a specific interpretation of Rwandan history and identity. However, the level of analysis is not new as much of the book reads like a literature review of the debate rather than trying to help argue for or craft its own interpretation of Rwandan identity. This lack of a new or fresh argument might stem from the relatively weak new information on the subject. While the author writes how he conducted fieldwork within Rwanda for this book, not enough of those experiences or data are used. Its attempt to use Stephen Karpman 's Drama Triangle to help illustrate the complexities of the relationships within Rwanda 's genocide perpetrator, survivor and bystander categories is only discussed during the last few pages of the book. More could have been done to analyse the mythologies of

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