Rwanda and France: A most difficult relationship

2014 marks twenty years since the Rwandan Genocide. In this post, Rob Coates assesses France’s role in the Genocide and its impact on Franco-Rwandan relations to the present day. Rob recently submitted his MA Francophone Africa dissertation on commemoration, textbooks and music as means of post-genocide reconciliation in Rwanda. He spent January to April of 2014 working at the Commission Nationale de Lutte Contre le Génocide (CNLG) in Kigali. During the 20th commemoration activities of the Genocide against the Tutsi in April 2014, international solidarity in the face of this heinous tragedy had one notable absentee: France’s delegates stayed at home and the ambassador to Rwanda was banned from the Kigali Genocide Memorial. This was the latest instalment in an international row between the two countries. The bone of contention? France’s role in the run up to, during, and after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Although hesitating to name France by name, President Kagame’s speech couldn’t have been clearer in its denunciation of French policy to let sleeping dogs lie: “The passage of time should not obscure the facts, lessen responsibility, or turn victims into villains. People cannot be bribed into changing their history. And no country is powerful enough, even […]

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CFP: Progress, change and development: past, present and future

Progress, change and development: past, present and future An international conference, to be held at University of Portsmouth, 4- 6 June 2015, with the generous support of the Centre for European and International Studies Research and the Society for the Study of French History. First call for papers The aim of this interdisciplinary conference will be to bring some of the generation who were involved in attempts to bring about change in the 1960s and 1970s together with researchers, theorists, practitioners, activists from the younger generations today. It will examine and debate how progress and development were conceptualised, practised and imagined during the periods of national liberation struggles, of decolonisation and its aftermath, of political and social upheaval and change. It will analyse successes and failures on all levels and explore new ways of thinking that are being developed at the present time, particularly those that break with the prevailing consensus. By bringing the different generations into contact and interaction with each other, it is hoped to create a forum to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and understanding of the earlier period, on the one hand, and the expression and elaboration of new ideas of progress and development and how […]

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