03 May, 2006

Genocide in Central Africa

I'm reading "When Victims Become Killers", by Mahmood Mamdani. This scholarly work aims to break from the constraints of area studies by "historizing geography," in the author's words, recasting the history of the Rwandan genocide within the context of regional history and politics and not just within the colonial framework of national, ethnic conflict. I've been wanting to learn more about genocide in central Africa and plan to do so via film, documentary, literary and scholarly materials in the coming months. If you're interested in the Rwandan genocide of '94, check out this flick. Yes, it's a made-for-cable-tv production by HBO, but it's worth the viewing. Most of the film takes place in Kigali, and its forte is its ability to pull you in and convey the shock of the devastating events that took place between April and July of 1994.

For now, here's a drawing by a Sudanese child from Darfur. Following is a chilling description of the events he portrayed, in his own words:

“I am looking at the sheep in the wadi [riverbed, or oasis]. I see Janjaweed coming—quickly, on horses and camels, with Kalashnikovs—shooting and yelling, ‘kill the slaves, kill the blacks.’ They killed many of the men with the animals. I saw people falling on the ground and bleeding. They chased after children. Some of us were taken, some we didn’t see again. All our animals were taken: camels, cows, sheep, and goats. Then the planes came and bombed the village.”

Abd al-Rahman, Age 13

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