Event Title

Remembering Genocide: Memory Transmission in Montreal’s Rwandan Diaspora

Start Date

13-1-2012 9:00 AM

End Date

13-1-2012 10:30 AM

Description

One of the lasting legacies of war and genocide is the disruption of memory. The intergenerational transmission of history and memory is difficult at the best of times. It is all the more difficult in the aftermath of mass violence. These are often hard stories to tell and hard ones to hear. In the case of Rwanda, the violent death and forced exile of so many people have further disrupted the oral transmission of memory both within families and the wider community.

Building on the work of oral historians and genocide scholars, the proposed paper will explore the commemorative and research activities of the Rwandan community in Montreal, Quebec and consider its participation in the research project, “Life Stories of Montrealers Displaced by War, Genocide and Other Human Rights Violations” (www.lifestoriesmontreal.ca ) – a seven year community-university research alliance funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities and Research Council of Canada. To date, fifty Rwandan exiles and genocide survivors have been interviewed in depth about their lives before, during and after the 1994 genocide. Rwandan youth have also been interviewed. Many of these life stories have been integrated into online digital stories or incorporated into the April commemorations. Central to these efforts is the Association of Parents and Friends of Genocide Victims in Rwanda’s use of new media tools to promote remembering and counter forgetting or denial. One of these projects, the collective creation of a timeline composed of the memories of genocide survivors living in Montreal, provided a space of intergenerational dialogue and connection. Survivor stories are also being mapped. The paper will also consider PAGE-Rwanda’s plans to create a documentation centre on the Rwandan genocide, and the publication of a book based on the oral history interviews conducted in Montreal. In so doing, I will argue that in putting academic history and community memory into conversation the Montreal Life Stories Project has created a space for dialogue.

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Jan 13th, 9:00 AM Jan 13th, 10:30 AM

Remembering Genocide: Memory Transmission in Montreal’s Rwandan Diaspora

One of the lasting legacies of war and genocide is the disruption of memory. The intergenerational transmission of history and memory is difficult at the best of times. It is all the more difficult in the aftermath of mass violence. These are often hard stories to tell and hard ones to hear. In the case of Rwanda, the violent death and forced exile of so many people have further disrupted the oral transmission of memory both within families and the wider community.

Building on the work of oral historians and genocide scholars, the proposed paper will explore the commemorative and research activities of the Rwandan community in Montreal, Quebec and consider its participation in the research project, “Life Stories of Montrealers Displaced by War, Genocide and Other Human Rights Violations” (www.lifestoriesmontreal.ca ) – a seven year community-university research alliance funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities and Research Council of Canada. To date, fifty Rwandan exiles and genocide survivors have been interviewed in depth about their lives before, during and after the 1994 genocide. Rwandan youth have also been interviewed. Many of these life stories have been integrated into online digital stories or incorporated into the April commemorations. Central to these efforts is the Association of Parents and Friends of Genocide Victims in Rwanda’s use of new media tools to promote remembering and counter forgetting or denial. One of these projects, the collective creation of a timeline composed of the memories of genocide survivors living in Montreal, provided a space of intergenerational dialogue and connection. Survivor stories are also being mapped. The paper will also consider PAGE-Rwanda’s plans to create a documentation centre on the Rwandan genocide, and the publication of a book based on the oral history interviews conducted in Montreal. In so doing, I will argue that in putting academic history and community memory into conversation the Montreal Life Stories Project has created a space for dialogue.