Friday, May 16, 2014

Twenty years after the genocide in Rwanda

 Kris Berwouts and Ivan Godfroid (right), both are Central Africa specialists. Twenty years after the genocide in Rwanda they are sharing their knowledge and feelings about what happened there and and what the situation in the region and in Rwanda itself is to date.

The basis for the discussion is Ivan's poetry book 'Omgewoelde aarde' (Disturbed earth). The book is in three sections. The first one with the motto: During the day Imana (god) roams over the earth, at night he comes to sleep in Rwanda. En deep expression of the beauty and peacefulness of the country. The second motto is: to where the river runs also the rocks roll. The unrest, the uneasiness, the doom is present. Every noise could be the last thing one hears... Foreboding and the reality of it. the third section opens with the motto: It is not the pain of the moment which kills but it's constant memory. The Oratorium for Rwanda was played and the contrast between the joyful strong rhythmic music we are used to hear with the deep inwardness and silence was chilling. Jean De Mey performed a beautiful and haunting improvisation rendering the screams and pain of those mad hundred days in 1994 in which 800.000 people were slaughtered in one hundred days. Rwanda is hauntingly beautiful country, machetes are still the tool of choice and are seen everywhere. Hope lies with the new post genocide generation. Yet overpopulation could destabilize the whole region including the North-east of Congo. Every twenty years the population doubles. Every twenty years there is less land per person to live off and  the seeds of new conflicts lay dormant, for now.

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