April 7, 2014

It is now the 20th anniversary of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.  Much will be said and written about this landmark, or perhaps not, but it is an important social, psychological, cultural, political, economic, and quite simply, unfortunately, human event. 

Paul Rusesabagina was recently interviewed on National Public Radio and it is worth listening to what he has to say about the genocide and history.  Here is a link to the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, which he started.

The New York Times this past weekend published “Portraits of Reconciliation” about the efforts made for individual perpetrators and victims to deal with their collective past.

National Public Radio aired this report about the role women are playing in Rwanda’s recovery.  Leadership is one of the issues Mr. Rusesabagina cites about the 1994 genocide, and that figures prominently in this report as well.

Finally, interestingly, National Public Radio also aired this interview with Sallie Krawcheck, in which she briefly discusses some of the differences between men and women with regard to dealing with negotiations and conflict.  This is a relatively small part of the interview, but it is important to note that much has been written about these differences with some reports citing a biological basis and others a cultural basis (the “nature vs. nurture” argument) as the fundamental rationale for the variance in behaviour.  As women continue to gain local, national and international prominence in political, social, and economic arenas, there will be more real-world evidence for researchers to study and the public to ponder. 

Throughout the history of genocide, men have been the main power brokers-will a women’s perspective change that dynamic as civilization moves forward?  (The validity of the second part of that statement may also be questioned, especially given recent world events.)  The role of leadership is certainly one of the main lessons the  world would do well to learn from Rwanda, as what happened then and there continues to play out in other countries today, as Mr. Rusesagabina points out.  

Leadership and power often dance together as one invariably comes with the other to some degree.  Would women be immune from Lord Acton’s famous phrase?  He, of course, was referring to men. 

We need to do more than remember Rwanda.

Take care.


One Response to “Rwanda”

  1. Morris mugo Says:

    “Leadership and power often dance together as one invariably comes with the other to some degree.” Agreed. The problem comes in when during the dance,politics of divide and rule comes in to dance,only this time its disguised as leadership and the layman finds it hard to differentiate between the leadership and politics.
    Loved the piece as it is well-thought out and thought provoking as usual. Keep up with the good work.

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