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Title:Whispering truth to power: the everyday resistance of Rwandan peasants to post-genocide reconciliation
Author:Thomson, SusanISNI
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Geographic term:Rwanda
Subjects:nation building
External link:https://doi.org/10.1093/afraf/adr021
Abstract:The government in post-genocide Rwanda stakes its moral claim to legitimacy on a policy of national unity and reconciliation, claiming to create a 'Rwanda for all Rwandans'. This article investigates peasant resistance to this policy. Focusing on everyday acts of resistance - staying on the sidelines, irreverent compliance, withdrawn muteness - among the rural poor, it demonstrates that despite the appearance of widespread popular support, many peasant Rwandans consider the various mechanisms of national unity and reconciliation to be unjust and illegitimate. Obedience to the dictates of the policy of national unity is frequently tactical, rather than sincere, as peasants employ various strategies to avoid participation. Through a focus on everyday acts of resistance, the article reveals how the post-genocide State through the policy of national unity and reconciliation seeks to depoliticize peasant people by orchestrating public performances and by closing off the possibility for individuals to join together to organize politically. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]