restricted access 7. Reconciliation, Justice, and Amplified Silence
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­ 194 Mov­ ing for­ ward in the wake of the gen­ o­ cide re­ quired Rwan­ dans to face ma­ te­ rial, emo­ tional, and so­ cial re­ al­ ities un­ known in liv­ ing mem­ ory. Women in par­ tic­ u­ lar were ­ forced to (re)in­ vent a world that ac­ com­ mo­ dated their­ unique circum­ stances—wid­ ows be­ reft of male kin and chil­ dren, girls with lim­ ited (or no) mar­ riage pros­ pects, fe­ male heads of house­ hold with full eco­ nomic re­ spon­ sibil­ ity but lim­ ited ex­ pe­ ri­ ence nego­ tiat­ ing the pub­ lic­ sphere. In post­ gen­ o­ cide ­ Rwanda, women had to learn ­ self-reliance in a con­ text of dire ma­ te­ rial circum­ stances. In many cases, they faced a dou­ ble bur­ den of mar­ gi­ nal­ iza­ tion, first as girls, wives, or wid­ ows and sec­ ond as eth­ ni­ cized tar­ gets of vi­ o­ lence ­ whether be­ fore, dur­ ing, or after the gen­ o­ cide. The prac­ tices of state build­ ing in the New ­ Rwanda con­ trib­ uted sig­ nif­i­ cantly to the con­ struc­ tion of post­ gen­ o­ cide sub­ jec­ tiv­ ities and con­ scribed the­ agency of or­ di­ nary women. In part, these ­ state-building prac­ tices fos­ tered rec­ on­ cil­ i­ a­ tion. Yet cer­ tain as­ pects of the ­ RPF-led ­ state-building prac­ tices hin­ dered rec­ on­ cil­ i­ a­ tion. By em­ pha­ siz­ ing na­ tional unity as the core of 7 Rec­ on­ cil­ i­ a­ tion, Jus­ tice, and Am­ plified Si­ lence Reconciliation, Justice, and Amplified Silence 195 rec­ on­ cil­ i­ a­ tion, the state ex­ cluded cer­ tain ­ Rwandans’ (i.e., Hutu) ex­ pe­ ri­ ences of war and gen­ o­ cide. The am­ plified si­ lence re­ sult­ ing from this sit­ u­ a­ tion was an ob­ sta­ cle to “mean­ ing­ ful,” as de­ fined by or­ di­ nary women, rec­ on­ cil­ i­ a­ tion. As dis­ cussed in the pre­ vi­ ous chap­ ter, or­ di­ nary women and ­ women’s as­ so­ ci­ a­ tions have found their own paths to rec­ on­ cil­ i­ a­ tion ­ through the mu­ tual shar­ ing of in­ di­ vid­ ual nar­ ra­ tives of suf­fer­ ing. In this chap­ ter I dis­ cuss the larg­ est govern­ ment in­ itia­ tive to pro­ mote rec­ on­ cil­ i­ a­ tion to date: the use of ­ so-called tra­ di­ tional ga­ caca ­ courts to try over one mil­ lion cases of gen­ o­ cide ­ crimes. The ga­ caca ­ courts had a pro­ found ef­fect on or­ di­ nary ­ women’s lives. In the short term, the ga­ caca pro­ cess dis­ rupted ­ women’s ef­forts to re­ es­ tab­ lish nor­ mal so­ cial re­ la­ tions in local com­ mu­ nities and de­ stroyed the prog­ ress ­ women’s as­ so­ ci­ a­ tions had made to­ ward rec­ on­ cil­ i­ a­ tion. In the long term, ga­ caca de­ livered jus­ tice for some and es­ tab­ lished at least a par­ tial truth about what hap­ pened dur­ ing the gen­ o­ cide in local com­ mu­ nities. How­ ever, since the ga­ caca ­ courts did not have ju­ ris­ dic­ tion over ­ crimes per­ pe­ trated by RPA sol­ diers, many Rwan­ dan men and women felt they were de­ nied jus­ tice. The “quest to es­ tab­ lish ‘the­ truth’” of the gen­ o­ cide ­ through ga­ caca was “circum­ scribed by po­ lit­ i­ cal con­ sid­ er­ a­ tions” that lim­ ited who was heard, what in­ for­ ma­ tion was re­ ported, and what the final ver­ dict was (Hin­ ton 2010, 14). Since the ga­ caca ­ courts did not have le­ git­ i­ macy in the eyes of the pop­ u­ la­ tion, they were often ­ viewed as an­ other im­ po­ si­ tion of the cen­ tral govern­ ment on local com­ mu­ nities and as an­ other venue in which local power con­ flicts ­ worked them­ selves out while ap­ pear­ ing to con­ form to cen­ tral govern­ ment pol­ i­ cies. The ­ Search for Jus­ tice The ­ RPF-led govern­ ment ­ adopted a ­ stance of max­ i­ mal pros­ e­ cu­ tion ­ vis-à-vis the gen­ o...