Podiumsdiskussion - "Erinnerung und Versöhnung im Blick auf das postgenozidale Ruanda"

On Tuesday, July 8, 2014, the JCRS hosted a panel discussion on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Dr. Christine Schließer from the Institute of Social Ethics at the University of Zurich gave the key lecture on "Remembrance and Reconciliation: Theological Perspectives on Post-Genocide Rwanda".

Drawing on the idea of Cultural Memory in the work of Paul Ricoeur and Aleida Assmann, the lecture addressed the difficult task of remembering a painful past. In conversation with Mennonite theologian Fernando Enns, Dr. Schließer emphasized that reconciliation is not only the goal of a process but occurs during the process itself in various forms (confession of guilt, atonement, the plea for forgiveness, etc.). She also presented the idea of transformative justice, developed by Howard Zehr, and mentioned the problems of an official, state-sanctioned, and stereotyping remembrance, which suppresses dissident voices. She asked whether "peaceful coexistence", rather than "reconciliation" might not be a more appropriate term to describe the reality of Rwanda in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide.
The first response was given by Dr. Katharina Peetz from the University of the Saarland in Saarbrücken. She presented her research project, which is a qualitative study about personal views about reconciliation, based on interviews with 'perpetrators' and 'victims' of the Rwandan genocide. Preliminary findings show that 'perpetrators' more often speak about forgiveness, whereas 'victims' favor the term reconciliation.
The second response came from Rev. Helmut Keiner, who served as pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Kigali from 1983 until 1991. He emphasized that the genocide was one aspect of the bloody civil war that escalated in 1990, when the Rwandan Patriotic Front, under the leadership of current President Paul Kagame and with support from the Ugandan Army, invaded Rwanda.
After the lecture and the brief responses the discussion continued with several questions and comments from the audience.

Click here to find the recording of the discussion.

Plakat-Völkermord in Ruanda  Ruanda  Ruanda