ABSTRACT

The “memory wars” surrounding the 1994 Rwandan genocide present one of the most intriguing and disturbing instances of genocide evasion, obfuscation, and denial. They are also strange and contradictory, with avowed defenders of human rights among the most vocal deniers, and the regime that claims to have “rescued” Rwanda from genocide itself accused of committing the crime, both in Rwanda in 1994 and subsequently in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This chapter describes these controversies and examines what they can teach both about genocide in Africa's Great Lakes region and about strategies of denial and counter-denial. It is likewise certain that the Kagame regime has benefited immensely from its self-appointed role as the guardian and gatekeeper of genocide memory in Rwanda. There are parallels with the Rwandan genocide – the context and ideology of vengeance; the politicized ethnic hatred; the relatively lesser scale of the killing compared with the larger accompanying/preceding genocide.