WARC and Jimsaan join to Remember

The Tutsi Genocide: In Remembrance of April 1994 in Rwanda

The Senegalese novelist Boubacar Boris Diop and writer Felwine Sarr recently joined efforts to establish a new publishing house in Dakar, Les Editions Jimsaan. WARC joined together with Jimsaan to host film screenings and discussions in remembrance of the Rwandan Genocide, which took place 20 years ago. Boubacar Boris Diop, hailed for his committed writing and his thought-provoking perspectives, is the authorPhoto 14 of Murambi, Le Livre des Ossements (Murambi the Book of Bones), a heart-rending tale on the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda. Felwine Sarr, author of three published novels, is also dean of the faculty of economics and management at University Gaston Berger (Saint Louis, Senegal).

On April 22 and 23, Editions Jimsaan teamed up with the West African Research Center to screen two films, 7 Jours a Kigali and Sometimes in April. Screenings were followed by discussions with the audience. The Rwandan tragedy, according to members of the audience, should not only be sorely lamented but should be taken as a warning for other African nations and the rest of the world of what is possible when we are not vigilant.

The director of 7 Jours a Kigali, Mehdi Ba, attended the event and contributed to the discussions. Unfortunately, the director of Sometimes in April, Raoul Peck (most famous perhaps for his film, Lumumba), was unable to attend.

The two films and the ensuing discussions certainly contributed to a heightened understanding of the complexities of the Rwandan situation in 1994. Prior to colonization, Tutsis and Hutus lived as two distinct ethnic groups, in peace and harmony. They worshipped the same god and were culturally very close until the Belgian colonial forces stepped in, ushering in a different religion and fanning the flames of division and hostility between the two groups. This state of affairs culminated in the tragic events of April 1994, fueled by the now-infamous community radio station, Radio Mille Collines, and some European powers.

The two films attracted a crowd of 59 people, which, over two days, completely filled the new WARC conference room.