The Story Of A Rwandan History Teacher Essay

The Story Of A Rwandan History Teacher Essay

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The novel recounts the story of a Rwandan history teacher, Cornelius Uvimana, who was living and working in Djibouti at the time of the massacre. He returns to Rwanda to try to comprehend the death of his family and to write a play about the events that took place there. As the novel unfolds, Cornelius begins to understand that it is only our humanity that will save us, and that as a writer he must bear witness to the atrocities of the genocide.

Diop’s insights are powerful enough to penetrate beyond the writer’s self-imposed limits. Murambi illuminates what is obscured in today’s international order and make clear the genocidal implications of notions of “us versus them” that are taken for granted in every-day politics. Murambi suggests that ending violence and rebuilding society after large-scale atrocities demand a willingness of victims to give up the impotence of innocence and become self-determining through acts of forgiveness. Forgiveness not as a vague spiritual disposition towards evildoers, but as a survival imperative that demands that victims act in a non-violent, non-vengeful way towards perpetrators in order to redeem themselves as subjects of history. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission advanced this perspective in the face of strong opposition to what critics saw as the eclipse of justice by an uncompromising insistence on forgiveness. Against his critics, TRC Chairman Desmond Tutu emphasized that there is not much of a future for post-conflict societies without forgiveness and reconciliation, The force of the moral imperative voiced in South Africa reverberates through Murambi, and the interaction between Siméon and the villagers foreshadows Rwanda’s own attempt to set up a transitional jus...


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...e things happen. These things did happen. And they happened because of people. And I am a person too. And this is what I meant by necessity: the book was necessary to me, because I needed to know what other people have done to each other over their own shame and insecurities. And I think that if there is any fact that the book presents as being as old as time itself, it is not the fact of black-on-black violence, but the fact that we as human beings are constantly perceiving ourselves as the center of the universe, despite all evidence to the contrary.

And so I can 't judge this book because it was a necessary book for me. I can 't judge it for its style, or the way it presents the genocide, because I have nothing to compare it to, because I 've never known anything about the genocide, and it 's just necessary in the same way books are necessary in the first place.

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