Armed Conflict

Sacrifice as Terror

Genocide is a challenging subject since it encourages scholars to contribute to its elimination. There are much-studied aspects of the genocide that has proliferated across various genres such as in Gérard Prunier’s The Rwandan Genocide, Linda Melvern’s A People Betrayed: the Role of the West in Rwanda’s Genocide, Philip Gourevitch’s We Wish to inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families and Roméo Dallaire’s Shake Hands With the Devil.  By confronting the complexity of the subject, the shift of structures of empathy, history and politics are becoming complicated. We are still struggling to comprehend the trauma that took place in Rwanda in 1994. The Rwanda genocide is one of the malevolent patches of the garden of evil in the conflictive and complex state of our world and discipline. The peculiar type of violence; the accomplishment of killing with grenades, machetes and nail-studded, makes this carnage more terrifying. In Christopher C. Taylor’s Sacrifice as Terror: The Rwandan Genocide of 1994, he analyses the cri de coeur of the people in Rwanda during the genocide where more than one seventh of the nation’s population were brutally massacred. Taylor was an ethnographer of the genocide and was a witness of Rwanda’s slow descent into chaos.  In this paper, I will focus on Taylor’s ethnographic research, the use of the political and historical background of Rwanda, the Hamitic hypothesis, the cosmology of terror and human bodies and the role of gender.

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.

Dancing in the Glory of Monsters

Jason Stearns’ Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa discusses a number of topics related to the conflict in Congo. The author is a political activist and a journalist who had been worked on the conflict for the past ten years as well as working with a Congolese human rights group. Later he worked for both, the International Crisis Group and the United Nations peacekeeping operation.

The author traces the evolution of the conflict, which began in 1996, has continued intermittently until today. Stearns provides a clear theoretical analysis of the causes that led the heart of Africa, Congo, to bleed. Also, he used powerful stories from real life to keep things revival and interesting for the reader. He wrote this book in order to grasp the roots of the brutal war and violence that has engulfed in Congo. At least nine governments and twenty various rebel groups have been involved in this conflict. It has cost a staggering five million lives. Nevertheless, this enormous war has received little media coverage, particularly in the Western press. The author attempts to answer why, for example, the conflict in Darfur has received more than four times the conflict in Congo, though the death rate in Congo is more than ten times that in Darfur.