a memorial for all wars: the Polynational War Memorial


By: | posted: 4/6/2004 1:00:00 AM


The official opening of the Kigali memorial center will be on April 6 in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. The memorial center is set up by a UK-based charity called the Aegis trust, who in their own words ”works towards the prevention of genocide with survivors, decision-makers and the next generation through commemoration, education, awareness-raising and research”, after a request from the Rwandian Governement. The memorial is of course created in time for the 10 year commemoraions of the holocaust that the world did not want to see, and less wanted to do anything about. No suprise since there could be nothing of economical interest to protect for the great powers in this small region of the african continent. The humanitarian failure on the other hand is enormous. Not that media avoided to report about the atrocities, they did, but no one intervened to stop the massacre of nearly one million people in three months.

The memorial center will house exhibitions on the genocide in Rwanda as well as general exhibitions on the issue, a special memorial for the children who were killed and a National Genocide Documentation Centre. To build a memorial for a conflict that is so close in time is of course a tricky task. Rory Carroll writes in the Guardian on march 24 that “…fusing a museum with what is in effect an art exhibition to depict historical events in Rwanda is a fraught exercise, simply because the genocide was so recent. Make it too vivid and survivors who visit could be upset or even traumatised. Veil too much and you sanitise what happened. Accuse too harshly and you undermine the peaceful but fragile co-existence prevailing in Rwanda since Tutsi rebels ousted the extremist Hutu regime, which orchestrated the massacre of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 100 days.”

More reading

Article in The Guardian



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