The role of narrative in healing in Rwanda.
In 1994, almost a million Tutsi and some Hutu were massacred in Rwanda during the 100 day genocide. Between 1995 and 1998, nearly the same number of Hutu and some Tutsi died, while in flight, primarily in the former Zaire. In the years following genocide, hundreds of thousands of Rwandans have been accused of genocide related crimes. There is not a person in Rwanda who is not directly affected by past violence and the country is in a process of healing and reconciliation. Much of the violence in Rwanda can be traced to perceptions of history and identity. This thesis seeks to unearth narratives of history and identity as a way of exploring possibilities for healing and reconciliation. Through an in-depth examination of four life stories, interviews with leaders in the field of reconciliation in Rwanda and informal interviews with a broad spectrum of Rwandans, this research sheds light on the challenges and opportunities in terms of healing. It finds that through critical engagement with our own and broader socio-political narratives we can expand the possibilities of our own narratives, allowing scope for personal healing as well as leading to a deeper understanding of the other. This can form the basis for sustainable reconciliation.
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