Broken Memory--Rwanda
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Broken Memory

Broken Memory | Broken Memory--Rwanda | Scoop.it

Novel by Elisabeth Combres

Darby Janss's insight:

Broken Memory by Elisabeth Combres tells the story of a thirteen year old girl, Emma, trying to recover from the Rwandan Genocide.  The story starts with events from the 1994 genocide.  Emma witnessed her mother being killed by the Hutu militia.  The last thing she remembers her mother saying is "You must not die, Emma" (Combres 17).  These words are what gives Emma strength to find a new home.  She finds Mukecuru, an widowed woman, nearby, and lives with her for the years to come.  The majority of the story takes place in 2002, and Emma is now 13 years old.  She is still living with Mukecuru and is having nightmares about 1994. The old woman suggests that she sees a therapist to deal with her PTSD.  During this time, Emma encounters a boy a little bit older than her.  He was a victim of the genocide, with a dent in his head from where he was struck with a machete.  The town ignores the boy, but Emma sees him for who he really is.  They become friends and help each other through the pain of reconciliation in Rwanda.  At the end, Emma travels to her old home.  She finds memories of her mother and is finally at peace with the events in 1994.

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Gacaca Courts

Gacaca Courts | Broken Memory--Rwanda | Scoop.it
Darby Janss's insight:

In the article, "Rwanda Politics: Genocide Trials", the author describes the gacaca courts, their purpose, and the process of holding them.  The article explains that these courts are a way of deciding on whether a Hutu is guilty or innocent.  Since there are way too many of them in jail, this is a simple and fast way of deciding their fate.  Keeping all of the oppressors in jail is a large financial burden on the country, says the article, so allowing some of them to be set free helps the country's economy.  The article goes on to explain that a group of prisoners comes out on a patch of grass (gacaca) and stands infront of the judges.  Everyone that was present during the killing gives a testimony to the judges, who then decide who is guilty.

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International Teams | We bring people together to help the oppressed

International Teams | We bring people together to help the oppressed | Broken Memory--Rwanda | Scoop.it
Darby Janss's insight:

International Teams is a non-profit organization focused on Christian service internationally.  They work to spread the love of Jesus Christ to the people they are working with.  I-teams believes it is important to work with the oppress, and not "over" them.  Community is a huge focus of their mission.  I-teams leads short-term, mid-term, and long-term mission trips in over 40 locations allover the world (ex. Nepal, Zambia, Oregon, and Bolivia).  I-teams hopes to restore dignity in the oppressed and the countries that have gone through great troubles.

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Left to Tell

Left to Tell | Broken Memory--Rwanda | Scoop.it

Novel by Immaculee Ilibagiza

Darby Janss's insight:

In the book, Left to Tell, Immaculee Ilibagiza tells her experience of the Rwandan Genocide.  At the beginning of the book, Immaculee shares stories of her family and how she is an intelligent woman going to college.  But suddenly, on April 6th, 1994, the president's plane is shot down and the Rwandan Genocide starts.  Her family is Tutsi, so they are in danger of being killed by the Hutus.  Some of her brothers joined the RPF to try to end the genocide.  She writes about how she had to leave her family to hide from the Hutu militia.  She and seven other strangers are all hiding in a Hutu pastor's small bathroom for 91 days, barely escaping death and starvation.  The pastor's son spends his day as a part of the Hutu militia, bringing terror to the eight women in the bathroom.  Everyone around them is either being killed or killing.  They can hear the voices of the Hutus outside.  Finally, after 91 days, the eight women all fled the bathroom to a refugee camp.  At the refugee camp, Immaculee meets with many other Tutsi and moderate Hutus.  They are all in shock, trying to collect their thoughts on what has happened in the past 100 days.  Immaculee and others in the camp choose forgiveness and are reconciled with the ones who killed their families. 

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Names of Victims

Names of Victims | Broken Memory--Rwanda | Scoop.it
Darby Janss's insight:

This list of names is found at Kigali's Genocide Memorial outside the gardens by the mass graves.  These are names of the identified victims in the graves.  There are bodies in the grave that haven't been identified.  This is in relation to the book because Emma's mother was probably buried in a mass grave.  Because Emma's memory was slowly fading, her mother may have gone unrecognized and was never taken note of.

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Map of Rwanda

Map of Rwanda | Broken Memory--Rwanda | Scoop.it
Darby Janss's insight:

Rwanda is a small country covered in thousands of hills located in Eastern Africa.  In 1994, a large genocide broke out between two different ethnic groups of people.  Ever since the 100 day war, the country has focused it's energy on reconciliation and healing for the people and the land.

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PTSD in Children

PTSD in Children | Broken Memory--Rwanda | Scoop.it
Darby Janss's insight:

Ikeh and Combres write about the struggle of curing war-affected children from PTSD.  After a few meetings with Emma, the doctor in Broken Memory isn't finding any success with his practices.  The narrator says, "Ever since their second meeting, the old man had been trying to make her tell him her story.  But the words wouldn't come...So he asked her to draw her past instead" (Combres 99).  Here, the old man is trying different traditional methods of curing, just like Ikeh said most African countries do because of the lack of Western technology.  Like Ikeh suggests, PTSD can stem from dead spirits.  This is seen in Emma's life, as the author says, "Her mother and the rest of her murdered family had never been buried.  She didn't even know where their bodies were.  In Rwanda, they said that when the dead were not buried, their spirits stayed around to haunt the living.  They became the abazimu, the bad spirits--sometimes even bad for those close to them" (Combres 30).  Children like Emma, Ikeh suggests, should be healed with rituals to cleanse the dead.  These bad spirits are what are most likely causing her trauma.  Many children, not only in Rwanda, are experiencing PTSD because of the lives of loved ones being taken from them, and not having the proper medicine or technology to help them get through it.

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Ghosts Of Rwanda | FRONTLINE | PBS

Ghosts Of Rwanda | FRONTLINE | PBS | Broken Memory--Rwanda | Scoop.it
Darby Janss's insight:

In Ghosts of Rwanda, much of the focus is on the international involvement during the 1994 genocide.  Although there were UN Peacekeepers in Rwanda at the time, the movies describes them as not helpful and only caring for their own people instead of the Tutsis.  In his interview, Major Brent Beardsley says, "It was like the world had disappeared out there.  The world just didn't care...They just didn't want to do anything" (Ghosts of Rwanda).  The documentary continues on to talk about the pulling out of our military, leaving the RPF to end the genocide.  The world abandoned this country, and didn't bring aid to the country.

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Genocide Remains

Genocide Remains | Broken Memory--Rwanda | Scoop.it
Darby Janss's insight:

This photo is what I imagined when Emma described her house at the end of the novel.  There are untouched remains of clothes and books scattered everywhere.  This photo reminds me of the genocide memorials I visited when I went to Rwanda.  Many places leave clothes of victims laying around where they were killed.

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Child Soldiers

Child Soldiers | Broken Memory--Rwanda | Scoop.it
Darby Janss's insight:

This photo relates to Broken Memory because these children, like Emma, probably suffer from PTSD.  They have seen more in their life than most of us will ever experience.  This photo is alarming; the gun is nearly as big as the child holding it.

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