Friday, April 11, 2008

Rwanda: Bomb at Rwanda Genocide Museum Mars Week of Mourning

Budapest, Hungary

Reuters reports that a bomb thrown at Rwanda's genocide museum killed a policeman. This came during the week of mourning marking the 14th anniversary of the genocide. The Hutus apparently resent the week because it focus attention on their misdeeds.

As William Faulkner said: "The past isn't dead. It isn't even passed." That has been a leitmotif of this past week here in Poland and Hungary with the Wexner Foundation alumni group and it is the essence of this terrible event.

6 comments:

Robert86 said...

Sadly I fear that identification with a guilty party can lead to such violence. That is why I think some who is connected to a guilty party, who are otherwise smart people, embrace hatred. Some people feel that to acknowledge the misdeeds of their country, ethnic group or ancestors means they can no longer feel pride for their national or cultural past. This is an unfortunate way of looking at history. Pride and guilt seems to be nationalists best weapon against reconciliation.

Ludovic said...

"The Hutus" and "their misdeeds" : are all Hutus guilty ? At the very least the children who were born after the genocide should not be considered as misdeed committing Hutus.

Josh Ruxin has an interesting post on a gacaca on a New York Times blog : http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/14-years-later/

Deborah Lipstadt said...

"The Hutus... and their misdeeds," is as appropriate as, when writing about the Holocaust, saying "the Germans and their misdeeds."

AncestralManor said...

I often wish that the old British TV show "Connections" would resurface. The premise, as I can best recall is that none of us are unconnected. Evolution of thought and progress in civilization is a resonance that can best be described as a global communal - including the frequent backtracking and disasters. Perhaps that is the purpose that blogs serve these days.

In any case, Deborah's blogging of her trip from Krakow/Auschwitz to Budapest is a retracing of some of my connections to the unraveling of the Misha Defonseca Holocaust fraud case.

More than 25 years ago, I met a hidden child of the Holocaust from Budapest. Those were the years when my friend was coming out, encouraged by a non-Jewish partisan to tell her story and work with others - even if she hadn't been in a concentration camp.

Next in 1995, I happened to meet a young Catholic Polish couple (of my daughter's generation) at the German/Poland border when Poland was just coming out of Communist control. I traveled with this couple to the Krakow area for 4 days - including a day at Auschwitz. I still do not have words for my feelings at my Auschwitz visit. I just know that the stark pictures I took of the barbed wire, train tracks, guard stations, firing squad sites and the methodical collection displays of hair, shoes, suitcases, hairbrushes, etc still chill me to the bone.

Fast forward to 2006, when I learned of a Belgian hidden child who lost her parents at Auschwitz, was raised as a Catholic, then in mid-life spent more than 2 decades reconnecting with her Eastern European roots and her living relatives in the US through a needle's eye of identity conflict. I asked my Hungarian friend to introduce a presentation about her Belgian counterpart at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Boston.

Then in December of 2007, I ran across the "unsolved mystery" of Misha Defonseca's life story as a hidden child in Belgium. I thought it could be solved. It was. Defonseca had made herself an icon of the Holocuast in Europe, but she is a fraud.

My connection to the Hungarian hidden child and the Belgian hidden child was an essential part of this fraud revelation.

It was tough going. I did not feel comfortable that real hidden children had to relive their our traumas. Nevertheless, they felt it was important and we all perservered.

Even when our research and discoveries about Defonseca's fraud were really difficult to stomach, I had an uncanny feeling that we were also giving voice to the people who were actually silenced at Auschwitz - as well as those who still live, need to be recorded in history, articulate exactly what makes the Holocaust so difficult to comprehend, and what the lessons are for other genocide efforts like Rwanda.

I am now learning more from my own local Boston area folks who also understand the need to forge such alliances with other objects of such "cleansing" tribal mentality, even if it is assuaged by the cloak of civilization.

1930s Germany was a first world giant, but the world had been embracing eugenics since at least the late 19th century with concepts and practices in racial hygiene, medical experiments and death. The world looked the other way when Hitler's most efficient system was rife.

Decades later it is still hard to comprehend, but it is there to behold in one of the most meticulous records systems in the world. I only hope that more real survivors can give voice to the people behind those records.

Sharon Sergeant
www.ancestralmanor.com

AncestralManor said...

I often wish that the old British TV show "Connections" would resurface. The premise, as I can best recall is that none of us are unconnected. Evolution of thought and progress in civilization is a resonance that can best be described as a global communal - despite the frequent backtracking and disasters. Perhaps that is the purpose that blogs serve these days.

In any case, Deborah's blogging of her trip from Krakow/Auschwitz to Budapest is a retracing of some of my connections to the unraveling of the Misha Defonseca Holocaust fraud case.

More than 25 years ago, I met a hidden child of the Holocaust from Budapest. Those were the years when my friend was coming out, encouraged by a non-Jewish partisan of World War II to tell her story and work with others - even if she hadn't been in a concentration camp.

Next in 1995, I happened to meet a young Catholic Polish couple (of my daughter's generation) at the German/Poland border when Poland was just coming out of Communist control. I traveled with this couple to the Krakow area for 4 days - including a day at Auschwitz. I still do not have words for my feelings at my Auschwitz visit. I just know that the stark pictures I took of the barbed wire, train tracks, guard stations, firing squad sites and the methodical collection displays of hair, shoes, suitcases, hairbrushes, etc that still chill me to the bone.

Fast forward to 2006, when I learned of a Belgian hidden child who lost her parents at Auschwitz, was raised as a Catholic, then in mid-life spent more than 2 decades reconnecting with her Eastern European roots and her living relatives in the US through a needle's eye of identity conflict. I asked my Hungarian friend to introduce a presentation about her Belgian counterpart at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Boston.

Then in December of 2007, I ran across the "unsolved mystery" of Misha Defonseca's life story as a hidden child in Belgium. I thought it could be solved. It was. Defonseca had made herself an icon of the Holocuast in Europe, but she is a fraud.

My connection to the Hungarian hidden child and the Belgian hidden child was an essential part of this fraud revelation.

The Defonseca fraud investigation was tough going. I did not feel comfortable that real hidden children had to relive their our traumas. Nevertheless, they felt it was important and we all perservered.

Even when our research and discoveries about Defonseca's fraud were really difficult to stomach, I had an uncanny feeling that we were also giving voice to the people who were actually silenced at Auschwitz - as well as those who still live, need to be recorded in history, articulate exactly what makes the Holocaust so difficult to comprehend, and what the lessons are for other genocide efforts like Rwanda.

I am now learning more from my own local Boston area folks who also understand the need to forge such alliances with other objects of such "cleansing" tribal mentality, even when it is assuaged by the cloak of civilization.

1930s Germany was a first world giant, but the civilized world had been embracing eugenics since at least the late 19th century with concepts and practices in racial hygiene, medical experiments and death. The world looked the other way when Hitler's most efficient system was rife.

Decades later it is still hard to comprehend, but it is there to behold in one of the most meticulous records systems in the world. I only hope that more real survivors can give voice to the people behind those records.

Sharon Sergeant
www.ancestralmanor.com

FAIIRPLAY said...

There was an article on child development in the Daily Mail, London, recently, which used the new to me expression the 'emotional brain', and, it went on to claim that parents had to capture 'it's interest' [this brain was spoken about as if it another person, or secret person living inside their child and all children] the result being that if this 2nd identity wasn't talked to, loved, or nurtured you had a backward or unsociable child and schooling problems big time.

This set me off thinking that maybe all of us are ruled by our 'emotional brains' and we could be manipulated by the state, or others, mobsters perhaps, into killing others, especially if we are told we are hitmen working undercover in order to cleanse the state, or the Mafia, or whoever, of it's enemies. I would hazard a guess that if some University, Emory University perhaps?, set up a phoney programme to recruit 'secret police, or government agents hitmen and James Bonds, the results would illustrate how the Nazi SS, and the camp system was accomplished.

In the UK children spend hours on computers playing killings games, shooting at targets and mock people, and one needs to ask is this good, or bad, and should it be banned, think about it when did you last see a child walking a dog, planting a packet of seeds and fishing with a net in the local pond?