Killing Neighbors

Twenty-two years, after the end of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, this organized mass violence still loom in both the world and Rwandan conscious and heart. This genocide was not only a physical act but also the destruction of bonds and an act of social violation. Over the past decade, scholars have begun taking a different angle in order to bring further clarity to the debates on what explains and why and how thousands of Rwandans participated in the 1994 wholesale slaughter of their neighbors, the other thousands of Rwandans. What can be the range of motives behind what is seen as senseless killing, genocide? In Lee Ann Fujii’s Killing Neighbors: Webs of Violence in Rwanda, the author analyzes the 1994 Rwandan genocide at the community level and tries to understand how can neighbors commit genocide against their own neighbors, family and friends? There are numerous scholars such as Richard Paul who emphasizes the importance of an ethnographic approach in order to uncover both the meaning behind and motives for individuals to either succeed or fail to commit genocide. Other scholars argue that genocide is an inevitable consequence of ethnic tensions. However, Fujii completely rejects the solely ethnic lens to understand and examine the events of the genocide.  Fujii does not only craft both a succinct and smart piece of literature but also provide a sophisticated analysis of genocide by posing tough questions that contain implications for re-thinking about genocide. In this paper, I will focus on the micro-sociological approach, the Joiners, the “lowest-level participants in the genocide,”[1] complex relationship between violence and ethnicity and the concept of a script.