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Origins of Rwandan genocide /
Josias Semujanga.
imprint
Amherst, N.Y. : Humanity Books, 2003.
description
265 p.
ISBN
1591020530 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Amherst, N.Y. : Humanity Books, 2003.
isbn
1591020530 (alk. paper)
general note
"Includes some additional material, some of it adding information on events since the publication in 1998 of the original French version and some of it offering explanations to the English-speaking reader"--Pref. to the English ed.
catalogue key
4863473
 
Includes bibliographical references.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Josias Semujanga is associate professor of literature at the University of Montreal, and visiting professor at the National University of Rwanda.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2003-11-01:
First published in French in 1998, this book is more interesting as a "discourse" (from the original subtitle) involving ideologies and stereotypes than as a detailed recounting. Semujanga, who left his native Rwanda in 1963 as a result of the traumatic social revolution that started to unfold in 1957, writes from the perspective of an exile (he has taught at the Univ. of Montreal since 1987). The book is colored by his origins, thus calling into question its academic objectivity. Semujanga recognizes that the 1994 genocide was more than a bloody polarization of society along ethnic lines. Yet his point of view is explicit, aligned with the Tutsi displaced in the late 1950s and brutally slaughtered in April 1994: "... within a society where genocide takes place, the entire group for which a crime has been committed actually participated, in different degrees, in its execution." The deaths of thousands of Hutu (especially educated, "moderate" ones) pass largely unremarked. The racism the author decries thus affects his own judgment; indeed, it calls into question the value of the entire book. The perspective is interesting, but incomplete and misleading. ^BSumming Up: Not recommended. C. E. Welch University at Buffalo, SUNY
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 2003
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
By some estimates more than a million and a half people were killed in Rwanda during just two weeks in April 1994. In this penetrating analysis, Canadian scholar Josias Semujanga, a Rwandan by birth, examines the social mechanisms, the historical factors, and the 'discourse of hate' that culminated in this mind-boggling act of genocide. Semujanga's brilliant analysis offers many insights into not only the Rwandan tragedy but also the mechanisms of ideology, language, and political system that can contribute to genocide anywhere.
Main Description
By some estimates more than a million and a half people were killed in Rwanda during just two weeks in April 1994. In this penetrating analysis, Canadian scholar Josias Semujanga, a Rwandan by birth, examines the social mechanisms, the historical factors, and the "discourse of hate" that culminated in this mind-numbing act of genocide. Semujanga focuses on the ideology of Hutu power that motivated a powerful circle around President Juvenal Habyarimana to develop and then execute a well-planned conspiracy to exterminate the Tutsi. He traces the roots of hatred back to the early colonial period when European overlords favored the Tutsi. After independence, the bitter memories of colonialism resulted in the stereotyping of Tutsis as "nostalgic for power," and suspicions about "the enemy in our midst" lingered for decades. As Semujanga shows, by the early 1990s this culture of hatred was being well cultivated by a radio-television network and a newspaper in the national language, which made it clear to the Hutu population that the "the enemy within" must be gotten rid of. At the same time, the headquarters of the Rwandan Armed Forces supplied the local administrations with lists of enemies and appointed persons to be in charge of implementing the extermination plan. All of this was carefully drawn up two years before the genocide took place. Semujanga questions whether such elaborate preparations could have remained unknown to the international community, yet he notes the many factors that complicated the situation: the presence of UN forces in Kigali, the naive assumption that these troops could protect the people, and the belief that President Habyarimana would never commit political suicide by unleashing a killing spree. No one had foreseen his airplane "accident," which then precipitated the massacres. Semujangas brilliant analysis offers many insights into both the Rwandan tragedy and the mechanisms of ideology, language, and political system that can contribute to genocide anywhere.
Main Description
By some estimates more than a million and a half people were killed in Rwanda during just two weeks in April 1994. In this penetrating analysis, Canadian scholar Josias Semujanga, a Rwandan by birth, examines the social mechanisms, the historical factors, and the "discourse of hate" that culminated in this mind-numbing act of genocide. Semujanga focuses on the ideology of Hutu power that motivated a powerful circle around President Juvenal Habyarimana to develop and then execute a well-planned conspiracy to exterminate the Tutsi. He traces the roots of hatred back to the early colonial period when European overlords favored the Tutsi. After independence, the bitter memories of colonialism resulted in the stereotyping of Tutsis as "nostalgic for power," and suspicions about "the enemy in our midst" lingered for decades. As Semujanga shows, by the early 1990s this culture of hatred was being well cultivated by a radio-television network and a newspaper in the national language, which made it clear to the Hutu population that the "the enemy within" must be gotten rid of. At the same time, the headquarters of the Rwandan Armed Forces supplied the local administrations with lists of enemies and appointed persons to be in charge of implementing the extermination plan. All of this was carefully drawn up two years before the genocide took place. Semujanga questions whether such elaborate preparations could have remained unknown to the international community, yet he notes the many factors that complicated the situation: the presence of UN forces in Kigali, the naive assumption that these troops could protect the people, and the belief that President Habyarimana would never commit political suicide by unleashing a killing spree. No one had foreseen his airplane "accident," which then precipitated the massacres. Semujanga's brilliant analysis offers many insights into both the Rwandan tragedy and the mechanisms of ideology, language, and political system that can contribute to genocide anywhere.
Unpaid Annotation
In this penetrating analysis, Josias Semujanga, a Rwandan by birth, examines the social mechanisms, the historical factors, and the "discourse of hate" that culminated in an appalling genocide.
Table of Contents
Forewordp. 9
Preface to the English Editionp. 15
Acknowledgmentsp. 19
Chronologyp. 21
Abbreviationsp. 29
Introductionp. 31
Defining Genocide and Social Discoursep. 49
Definition of Genocidep. 49
Genocide and Social Conflictp. 57
Discourse Analysis and Genocidep. 59
Conclusionp. 67
Religious Discourse and the Making of Dualistic Identityp. 71
From Word to Culturep. 71
From Bishop Classe to Bishop Perraudin: The Same Missionp. 78
From the Rwandan Ancestor to the White Fatherp. 90
Conclusionp. 95
Other Times, Other Meaningsp. 101
The Sons of Gihanga in Colonial Discoursep. 101
The Tutsi-Hamite, or the Myth of Ham Upside Downp. 110
The Hutu-Bantu, or the Myth of Ham Right Side Upp. 121
Conclusionp. 128
Propagandist Discourse, or the Art of Manipulating Mythsp. 135
The Power of Myths, the Myths of Powerp. 135
The Mortehan Law, or the Enthronement of the Tutsip. 138
The About-Face of Alliances, or the Election of the Hutup. 146
The Ideology of Resentment and Political Propagandap. 150
Conclusionp. 164
From One Genocide to Anotherp. 171
From Marginalization to Genocidep. 171
Hutu Revolution and Tutsi Pogroms (1957-1961)p. 172
Independence and the Hunt for Tutsi (1963-1964)p. 184
From Progrom to "Intellectual Genocide" (1973)p. 189
Toward the "Final Solution" (1990-1994)p. 193
Conclusionp. 202
And the Humanitarian Watched a Genocidep. 211
Humanitarianism: An Ambivalent Discoursep. 211
The New Missionaryp. 220
The Holy Collusion: Operation Turquoisep. 223
Humanitarian Discourse: A Polemical Receptionp. 228
Humanitarianism and Genocide Denialp. 232
Conclusionp. 236
General Conclusionp. 241
Glossaryp. 249
Select Bibliographyp. 253
Indexp. 259
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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