Ancient Tribal warfare

Ancient Tribal warfare - AUTHOR Harrow Kenneth W...

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AUTHOR: Harrow, Kenneth W. TITLE: "Ancient Tribal Warfare": Foundational Fantasies of Ethnicity and History SOURCE: Research in African Literatures 36 no2 34-45 Summ 2005 (c) Indiana University Press. All Rights Reserved. To subscribe or for other information, click here: KENNETH W. HARROW ABSTRACT Narratives of the genocide in Rwanda, counternarratives denying one version or another, return to the foundation fantasy, to the objectification of the other, and to historicist constructions that obscure as they reveal their perspective on the events: the more the commemoration of the genocide focuses our attention on the horrific events of 1994, and restricts the boundaries of time to that period, the more our attention is diverted from the events in the DRC and the involvement of the Rwandan government; and the more the spatial divisions and objectification of others will be served, providing the conditions of possibility for genocides and atrocities that would seem to have no end. Is it possible to enter into the discourses that bear on the genocide in Rwanda without taking a partisan position? This has been the goal of human rights organizations, including Amnesty International with whom I have worked since before the genocide of 1994. Because of that work for Al, I was privy to some of the inner workings of that organization as it mobilized, or failed to mobilize, its resources during the nightmare days of April, May, and June of 1994.(FN1) followed, closely the events, attended sessions by leading authorities at various conferences,(FN2) and soon found myself giving presentations on the genocide at various venues. I found no one to be free of partisanship.(FN3) Invariably each presentation concerning the genocide of the Tutsis led to attacks by those who felt the case for the oppression of the Hutus had been scanted. Even before the Rwandan armies attacked the camps at Goma and set off the violent events in eastern Congo that resulted in multinational interventions in the Congo, internal fighting among a range of factions and militias, and the deaths of upwards of three and a half million people--even before the current Rwandan government could then have been accused of responsibility for this chain of events, I was attacked for not presenting the events of 1994 as entailing a genocide of the Hutus, or as a purely defensive move against the Tutsi invasion. The deaths that were occasioned at Camp Kibeho after the genocide(FN4) were seized upon as evidence of the Tutsi intentions to commit genocide against the Hutus, either in revenge, or as part of the Tutsi plot to destroy all Hutu and take control of the Great Lakes region. Sometimes this Hutu defensiveness arose on the part of Burundians who viewed the events in Rwanda as an historical continuation of their own struggle in which hundreds of thousands of Hutus had been slaughtered after independence, in 1972, and in 1993; and where the control of the armed forces
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remained in Tutsi hands. In both Rwanda and Burundi there are about 15%
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2008 for the course JS 211g taught by Professor Gillerman during the Fall '07 term at USC.

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Ancient Tribal warfare - AUTHOR Harrow Kenneth W...

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