- Rwanda Since the 1994 Genocide
Rwanda Since the 1994 Genocide


More than just ethnicity

By emily on January 28, 2013

All three readings for Tuesday seem to highlight the complex nature of power structures in Rwanda, all of which had an impact on the violence of the genocide.   Gender, regionalism, and class divides are only some of the other “classifications” (for lack of a better word off the top of my head) or factors that structure Rwandan society. Jennie Burnet perhaps says it best when she argues that “gender is but one aspect of a whole network of interconnected social categories, including lineage, clan, ethnicity, economic class, political affiliation, and education level, in which Rwandan women are enmeshed” (Burnet : 41).  Even where ethnicity is a major factor in political violence (such as was the case in the student revolts outlined in the Umutesi reading or Antoinette’s experience from the Burnet reading), Rwandans who have “mixed” ethnic backgrounds are often confused for one or the other.

In addition to learning more about the complex social categories that inform Rwandan society, there were a few aspects of the readings that really stood out, which I would be interested to learn more about.  One major question that arose was the education outlined in “reeducation camp,” which Antoinette, a subject from Burnet’s interviews, had to attend to be qualified to work in Rwanda.

I’m at around 200 words now, so will save my other comments (namely comments on the Thomson reading) for class.  For all who are on twitter, following the office of Kagame as well as Kagame himself is very useful/interesting in terms of the rhetoric used.  It’s not loading for me right now so I can’t quote any tweets, but it’s pretty easy to check out.


1 Comment

  • Professor Thomson said:

    I think “classifications” is the right word. The key thing to keep in mind is who makes these classifications and to what end? Surely some Rwandans benefit (whether economically, politically and so on), which is what makes the maintenance of these classifications important. It separates the “in” group from the “out” group.

    What can you say about rhetoric you see on Twitter? Anything that speaks to class themes we’ve discussed so far?

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