Can forgiveness that is mandated by a government be genuine?
Africa is a Country | April 11th, 2014


Reviewer Neil Genzinger (in The New York Times) writes about the new documentary film, “Coexist” (to be shown on US public television this month) about post-genocide Rwanda, 20 years later. The film, according to Genzinger, “… at first seems as if it is merely going to be another effort to draw feel-good stories out of an impossibly ugly moment in history.” But then it explores  “whether forgiveness that is mandated by the (Rwandan) government can be genuine.”:

… As the interview subjects open up, cracks in this facade are evident. A man who did some of the killing begins to sound as if he is merely parroting whatever the authorities say, just as he followed the instructions to kill 20 years ago. A woman who experienced unimaginable loss is not at all on board with the forgiveness plan. “If I could afford to, I would leave,” she says, “because I don’t want to see the people who killed my family.


* BTW, The New York Times Magazine published a series of photographs last weekend, by the South African Pieter Hugo, that paired perpetrators and victims of the 1994 Genocide to pose together awkwardly. For some thoughts on those photographs and the text that accompanied it, see a series of tweets by Siddhartha Mitter here (he storified them for you) or Musa Okwongwa’s piece in The New Statesman.

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