Friday, July 23, 2010

Is reconciliation just more torture?

In a searing and tremendous essay in Guernica, Susie Linfield pretty much argues exactly that. This is a must read, people, though it's brutal at parts.

It includes statements of incredible eloquence by Rwandan victims:

For the so-called survivors, genocide is the crime with no sentence, the problem with no solution, the crime with no end. “What’s the use of looking for mitigating circumstances… ?” asks Berthe Mwanankabandi, whose parents and eleven siblings were murdered. “What can you mitigate? The number of victims? The methods of hacking? The killers’ laughter? Delivering justice would mean killing the killers. But that would be like another genocide… Killing or punishing the guilty in some suitable way: impossible. Pardoning them: unthinkable. Being just is inhuman.”

As well as statement of incredible cynicism by Rwandan perpetrators:

“I am even a better person” as a result of the genocide, Pio Mutungirehe promises. “I married a Tutsi. All that upheaval of the genocide was of benefit to my psychology.” Pancrace Hakizamungili, also a convicted génocidaire, testifies that “I am a man improved by the experience of those cruel things… I was a good and pious boy; I have become a better and more pious boy, that’s all. If I may put it this way, I have been purified by wickedness.”