Genocide Guilt Card History

1506 Words 7 Pages
Since the end of the 1994 genocide, the guilt card consistently has been used as an explanation of Rwandan foreign policy. While it might no longer be the dominate narrative, it still exists within more recent literature. There are multitude of academic scholars, such as Pottier , Reyntjens , Hayman and Lemarchand , who write on how the implementation of the genocide guilt card concept as one of the key policy tools for power within Rwanda’s arsenal of interacting with the international community. In particular, Reytnjens provides a relatively comprehension that describes the effectiveness of the guilt card. He writes, “(the genocide guilt card) has helped deflect attention from crimes committed by the RPF (Rwanda Patriotic Front), and to …show more content…
Pottier examines multiple events in the months and years following the 1994 genocide that illustrate why and how the RPF utilised the guilt card. His first example is the effectiveness of the RPF in influencing the news media of portraying them as the ‘good guys’ trying to re-establish ‘proper’ Rwandan history that favoured RPF interest. The most noticeable change was the ending of ethnicities within the country. RPF crafting of Western perceptions through the media established the foundations of knowledge of the conflict and Rwanda and international responses. The following example is of the 1995 Gersony report drafted by the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR), which focused on an estimated 45,000 Rwandan Hutus killed by the RPF during the genocide. Pottier describes how the RPF was able to have the report supressed by pressuring UN leaders of their lack of intervention during the genocide. Their inactions provided justification for Rwandan leaders to demand the report supressed. The third case study by Pottier is the 1995 massacre of the Kibeho camp, which contained an estimated 80-100,000 Rwandan Hutus. It was this tragedy that provided the greatest challenge in the guilt cards utilisation. While the Rwandan government claimed only 338 internally displaced people …show more content…
Since 2004, Rwandan foreign policy has always been explained or related back to Pottier and Reyntjens’ on the genocide guilt card. A seemingly new generation of Rwanda-focused scholars have expanded Reyntjens’ ‘genocide guilt card’ term. In a chapter describing on why Rwanda receives foreign aid from the donor community, Zorbas first mentions the genocide guilt. She writes, “It lays out four factors that explain this paradox of aid dependence coupled with policy independence: (1) genocide guilt..” The following section has a paragraph devoted to describe how the donor community feels committed to Rwanda because of Western guilt for the genocide in terms similar to what is found in both Pottier and Reyntjens’ writings. She writes, “Another major Western donor representative explained: ‘Rwanda has a traumatized history, we feel some responsibility for taking our eyes off the ball’ (interview, May 2009). As these quotes suggest, donor representatives frequently accept the West’s ‘guilt’ for the genocide.” Her mention of the guilt card illustrates how the concept is still in use by Rwandan officials despite nearly a decade after it was first

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