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1 NARRATI N G CRISIS : RWANDA, HAITI, AND THE POLITICS OF COMMEMORATION By JONATHAN D. GLOVER A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEG REE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2011
2 2011 Jonathan D. Glover
3 To my mother, father, and sister for your infinite support of all my efforts, scholarly and otherwise
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank Leah Rosenberg for directing this dissertation and encouraging me to follow and refine this topic as well as my committee members Anita Anantharam, Alioune Sow, and Apollo Amoko for their vast and varied insights. I would also like to thank past mentors Kevin Meehan and Myra Mendible for introducing me to the fields of study that would eventually inform this project and Dawn Trouard for guiding my professional development with her in valuable expertise as a scholar and teacher For supporting my studies, I would also lik e to acknowledge the Department of English and the College of Liberal Arts and Sc iences
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 7 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 9 Tribalism, Genocide, and the Idea of Rwanda ................................ ........................ 23 Vodou Politi cal Violence, and the Idea of Haiti ................................ ...................... 28 Commemoration, Appropriation, and the Narration of Political Crisis ..................... 34 2 GENOCIDE AND THE POLITICS OF MEMORIAL IZATION: HOTEL RWANDA AR ................................ ................................ ............... 47 Genocide Scripts: Articulating History ................................ ................................ ..... 51 Schindle ? ................................ ................................ ......................... 56 The Exceptional African ................................ ................................ .......................... 62 Indicting the West ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 66 In troducing the Rwandan Patriotic Front ................................ ................................ 69 3 ANDA IN MURAMBI: THE BOOK OF BONES AND THE SHADOW OF IMANA: TRAVELS IN THE HEART OF RWANDA ................................ ................................ ............................. 74 Polyphony or Ventriloquism? ................................ ................................ .................. 79 ................................ ................................ ................... 89 Theresa Mukandori and the Uses of the Dead ................................ ....................... 98 4 GENOCIDE AND THE GRA PHIC NOVEL: FORM AND HISTORY IN MAUS: A SMILE THROUGH THE TE ARS: THE STORY OF TH E RWANDAN GENOCIDE AND DEOGRATIAS, A TALE O F RWANDA ................ 106 Maus and Holo kitsch ................................ ................................ ........................... 109 Form and Memory ................................ ................................ ................................ 111 Animal ity and Anthropomorphism ................................ ................................ ......... 117 Graphic Histories ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 121 5 DIS COMMEMORATING HAITIA N INDEPENDENCE: ARIS TIDE, INTERVENTIONISM, AND GHOS TS OF CIT SOLEIL ................................ ....... 134 The Bicentennial and the Symbolics of Sequels ................................ ................... 134 Interpretive Frames, Invisible Citations ................................ ................................ 141 Framing History ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 144 Chimres ................................ ........ 151 Romanticizing the Coup ................................ ................................ ........................ 157
6 6 FROM DUVALIERISM TO DECHOUKAJ IN THE DEW BREAKER ..................... 163 The Frame of Evil ................................ ................................ ................................ 164 you Macoute ........................ 167 Retribution, or Revenge? ................................ ................................ ................... 180 7 (RE)HISTORICIZING TH E HAITIAN REVOLUTION IN THE KINGDOM OF THIS WORLD AND THE SALT ROADS ................................ ............................... 188 Silencing the Hai tian Revolution ................................ ................................ ........... 189 Narrating the Haitian Revolution in The Kingdom of This World ........................... 194 Beyond Makandal: Haitian Revolutionary His tory and The Salt Roads ................ 201 Saint Domingue as the Crossroads of History: Jeanne Duval and Saint Mary of Egypt ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 208 8 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 222 WORKS CITED ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 233 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 244
7 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduat e School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy NARRATING CRISIS: RWANDA HAITI AND THE POLITICS OF COMMEMORATION By Jonathan David Glover May 2011 Chair: Leah Ros enberg Major: English In the late twentieth century, the Rwandan Civil War and genocide (1990 1994) and a Haitian military coup and junta (1991 1994) occasioned horrendous acts of political violence. The United States ( US ) a and the United Nations ( UN ) possessed the political and military might required to ameliorate these conditions. This potential power to intervene sparked debate over humanitarian responsibilities in the Global North b ut depictions of these events often devolved into caricature, obscuring the adverse impact of US and UN foreign policy on Rwandan and limit that violence Narrating Crisis examines US and European a s well as postcolonial responses to Rwandan and Haitian political crisis and identifies a perva sive discourse savagery, and the illegitimacy of black sovereignty. Each ch apter identifies new iterations of these narratives in US and European film and mass media as well as African, Caribbean and Haitian American literary texts that seek to confront but some times duplicate a colonial gaze. These competing visions of Rwanda and Haiti relate to a larger discursive quarrel over the meaning of modernity,
8 which post Enlightenment thought has long associated with European/Euro American civilization. failu with the material history of colonialism and the persisting narratives and economic inequalities it continues to produce Ongoing strife in Rwanda and the aftermath o f colonialist paternalism continues to influence Euro American as well as postcolonial responses to African and Caribbean political turmoil T his project also reveals t he insufficiencies of a binary distinction between hegemonic Euro American narratives and subversive African Caribbean narratives, as regressive and progressive accounts of African and Caribbean political violence can be found within both the so called dev eloped and developing worlds.
9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION In the late twentieth century Rwanda and Haiti played host to horrendous acts of politica l violence. In Rwanda, a four year civil war (1990 1994) between the Rwandan government and the Rwandan Patri otic Front (RPF), a rebel group of Ugandan based Tutsi exiles, culminated in a Hutu the months of April and July of 1994. In Haiti, a military coup and junta (1991 1994) deposed President Jean Bertrand Ari stide, militarizing and factionalizing Haiti to its break ing point. T he United States ( US ) as the last superpower left standing, and the UN (United Nations) possessed the military and political power necessary to influence and possibly ameliorate these c onditions in Rwanda and Haiti; this power led to debates over European and North American humanitarian responsibilities for international political crises Subsequent coverage and discussion of these events and the issue of US and UN interventionism imbue d heightened significance but depictions of the crises often devolved into caricature, invoking colonial narratives of African tribalism and Haitian backwardness while concealing the implications of US and UN forei gn policy in contributing to and failing to prevent or limit Rwandan and Haitian political violence 1 H ow this project asks, have literature and film as discursive constructs, contributed to the creation and contestation s mobilized in such debates over humanitarianism, int erventionism, and the causes and effects of 1 A s Melissa Wall notes, ethnic cleansing in Bosnia during the same period, a European crisis, was described by the med ia as systematic, modern, and comparable to Nazism In contrast, the African crisis of the Rwanda genocide was framed as spontaneous, prim ordial, and exemplary of a sort of transhistorical African fratricide (411). On the tribalism narrative in perspecti ves on Rwanda, also see Pottier 64. On the narratives of pathology, political psychosis, and backwardness that accompanied reporting on the 1991 coup in Haiti, see Farmer, Girard 81, and, on the reiteration of these themes in 2004, see Potter.
10 postcolonial political violence ? Ranked respectively as number forty three and number twelve on the Failed States Index (Fund for Peace), present day Rwanda a nd Haiti represent two sites within the so called developing world that have been similarly marked not only by colonial and postcolonial political violence but also a similar discursive positioning that of being seen as anterior to modernity i.e, mired in cultural atavism, d espite longstanding imbrication in global political and economic patterns. While perspectives on such crises are often varied, complex, and difficult to catalogue, this project seeks to investigate the relationships that exist among Eu ro American cultural products such as literature and film, US foreign policy, and African, Caribbean, and Haitian American literary responses to Euro American geopolitical power. Narrating Crisis examines Euro American and postcolonial responses to Rwan da n and Haitian political turmoil reproduces colonial narratives of African tribalism, Haitian savagery, and the illegitimacy of black sovereignty. 2 In this regard, Rwanda and Haiti exemplify the power that such colonial logics of race and modernity continue to exude over contemporary understandings of postcolonial political violence. In comparing narratives of Rwandan and Haitian political crisis, this project aims to elucidate these discursive patterns as well as their broad material effects by drawing connections between discourses of African and Caribbean underdevelopment while remaining attentive to local specificities and historical exigencies. Colonial narratives of 2 As Neyir e Ak pinarli explains in The Fragility of the Failed State Paradigm prominence as an international legal concept ion during even the most extreme humanitarian crises, as the Rwandan genocide clearly demonstrates.
11 indigenous primitivism and savagery attribute postcolonial political crises to an intrinsic social backwardness ( symbolized by the racial, rel igious, and cultural alterity of dynamics such as co lonial history, foreign intervention, and global politico economic structures. 3 As scholars such as Terence Ranger and Mai Palmberg have note d c olonial narratives of tribalism and atavism have been especially prevalent in descriptions of postcolonial Af rican societies (Ranger 252, Palmberg 9). While r ecent 011 democracy movement may indicate a substantive change in how such postcolonial political crises are viewed on the world stage, European thought has long distinguished Egypt, as a supposed foundation of Caucasian civilization, from Sub Saharan Africa, which the social evolut ionist thinking of European science, anthropology and philosophy saw as the epitome of human underdevelopment. 4 In Philosophy of History Hegel systematize d the racial assumptions of colonial discourse by distinguishing civilized or North Africa as far as History goes back, has remained for all purposes of connection with the rest of the World shut up; it is the Gold land compressed within itself the land of childhood, which lying beyond the day of self As extreme cases of postcolonial violence in the black Global So uth the Sub Saharan nation of 3 Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed Rwanda and Haiti serve as his exampl Malthusian dynamics in Rwanda and Haiti, Diamond largely ignores the geopolitical dynamics that inhere in African and Caribbean resource mismanagement and the lack of food sovereignty, rendering state failure a choice that Rwandans and Haitians have made for themselves and thereby revealing the popular assumption that failed states fail because of their own ineptitude. 4 For more on cultural evolutionism and race, see McClintock and Fabian.
12 Rwanda and the Afro Caribbean nation of Haiti demonstrate not only the ongoing impact of such colonial conception s of race and modernity but also the mobility of the devolutionary conceptions of Africa that have followed and been refracted through Haiti, which discursively figures as a sort of Sub Saharan Africa of the Americas due to its status as th a fact observed, as Susan Buck Morss elucidates in Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History by Heg el himself as he developed his views of world history. Each chapter identifies new iterations of these primitivizing narratives in Euro American film and mass media sources tha t often influence and shape general awareness and understanding of political e vents as well as African, Caribbean, and Haitian American literary texts that seek to confront but some times duplicate a colonial gaze if not replace it with their own postcolonial nationalist agenda Ongoing strife in Rwanda and the aftermath of s 2010 earthquake put the importance of this investigation into sharp relief, as colonialist paternalism continues to influence Euro American and postcolonial responses to African and Caribbean political turmoil. In this manner, Narrating Crisis ultimatel y reveals the insufficiencies of a binary distinction between hegemonic Euro American narratives and subversive African Caribbean narratives, as regressive and progressive accounts of African and Caribbean political violence can be found within both the Gl obal North and Global South By turning to cultural products such as literature and film, this study wishes to demonstrate how objects of knowledge are fashioned, shaped, and reconfigured not only by what Bill Nichols aptly d escribes as of e.g.,
13 ( Blurred 67) but also by ostensibly less serious discourses: art, entertainment aesthetics. 5 This study thereby seeks to, as Achi false dichotomy between the objectivity of structures and the subjectivity of r epresentations a distinction allowing all that is cultural and symbolic to be put on one side, all that is economic and material to be put on Postcolony 6). In other words, this study deals with the cultural and symbolic precisely because they do yield economic and material effects. Cultural products reflect and inform audience perceptions, and audience perceptions reflect and inf orm international political opinion and economic policies. Rwanda and Haiti serve as important examples of this dynamic, as prevailing assumptions reaching back to colonialism have influenced how these nations are perceived not only in an aesthetic regis ter but also, and not coincidentally, in the register of geopolitics. Eurocentric cultural narratives of African and Afro Caribbean backwardness aid and abet the creati on of ineffective even exploit ive crisis intervention policies in the US and beyond. In The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism Klein explores the impact that American and European economic policies (8). 6 Friedman that nothing 5 As Nichols elabo rates in Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary discourses of action and entail consequences. Their discourse has an air of sobri ety since it is seldom receptive to 'make believe' characters, events, or entire worlds (unless they serve as pragmatically useful simulations of the 'real' one)" (3 4). 6 While foreign policy applications of shock doctrine are of primary interest to this study, Friedman also advocated the use of disaster capitalism locally in the US. In 2006, for a recent and vivid example, shock doctrine was applied domestically via post Katrina redevelopment strategies that focused on the privatization of the school sys tem, among other new business ventures, rather than the immediate needs 7).
14 creates opportunity for sweeping market changes and neoliberal economic reform like crises (1 10). Realigning foreign markets with the business interests of North America and Europe Friedman recognized is most easil y achieved when a foreign government and population are reeling from the after shock of a political, economic, humanitarian, or governments and corporations to refashion the zone of disaster by financially directing redevelopment strategies. The political crises that afflicted Rwanda and Haiti have provided fertile ground for the refinement of such disaster capital strategies. As Tatah Mentan notes in The New World Ord er: Ideology in Africa shock doctrine as a mode of humanitarian interventionism gained legitimacy after the imperialist induced atrocities in Rwanda, Burundi and the former Yugoslav republic in the 1990s to allegedly put an end to crimes against humanity such as ethnic cleansing and genocide. In the wake of these atrocities, the UN, under the direction of the US and its European allies, has executed the doctrine of humanitarian intervention in all the aforementioned countries and the DR Congo, Iraq, Soma lia and Haiti. (xiii) seems to refer to the politico economic hegemony of Western Europe and North America as the primary catalyst for the Central African and Eastern European atrocities of the 1990s. The participation of postcolonial elites in the continued immiseration of Rwanda and Haiti compels me to a an inadeq uate descriptor for such events unless we already include the compli elites in our understanding of imperialism However, the prosperity and status of postcolonial elites does derive in overwhelming part from the economic aid bestowed upon them by the shock doctrinaires of the Global North.
15 Capitalizing on the shock of the Rwandan genocide, for example, the US has donated massive amounts of aid money to the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), genocide government, who operate with impunity as a quasi ethnocracy in Rwanda and an imperial power in t he Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 7 As I will elaborate in chapters two and three, blind support for the RPF has much to do with the valuable mineral resources e.g., coltan, that Rwandan military operations help extract from the DRC for sale to the g lobal electronics market, a scenario that benefits both the recipients and donor s of disaster capital coups against President Jean Bertrand Aristide offered similar investment and redevelopment opportunities for Haitian elites and their business partners in Europe and North America. As I will elaborate in chapter five ns for wage in sweatshops and creat ing new business investment and development acquiescence to the regressive economic demands of the coup regime and the Haitian business elites they represented. C ri tics of the international response to earthquake have suggeste d that this natural disaster has also create d business opportuniti es and development contracts ( Flaherty 128, 259 Beyond Ulysse ) perhaps even more effectively than th e aforementioned political disasters due to the veneer of unmitigated virtue enjoyed by natural disaster relief 7 The Wretched of the Earth the RPF, through its authoritarianism at home extraction exceeds the mere
16 While Klein and Mentan focus on the economic and material aspects of shock doctrine this project seeks to elucidate the cultural and symbolic concerns that accompany such political interventionist strategies as they are expressed in both ethico political and aesthetic discourses, with a discipline specific emphasis on the literary and the filmic In adopting this approach I do not wish to suggest that aesthetic artifacts do not still enjoy a certain degree of autonomy from the material realities in which they are produced and circulated but rather that the aesthetic and the ethico political are never mutually exclusive. 8 While this assertion may seem obvious or even tautological to some readers, it still bears iteration in a project such as this, wherein the political and ethical dimensions of the art objects under study are amplified by virtue of their engagement with hi storical trauma and public memory work. In this regard, my Representing the Holocaust that "we should attempt to work out sustained and careful analyses of the way artifacts [whether 'high' or 'low' cul ture] always to some extent affect social and cultural stereotypes and ideological processes, even when they insistently attempt to reproduce Furthermore, as will be discussed below with more specificity, the texts analyzed in this project all position themselves as political and ethical documents through either direct announcement of a duty (to raise awareness or memorialize) or through allusion and citation of a preexisting historical discourse traversed by competing meanings and significations. 8 remainder, which is nothing other than aesthetic experience. This experience is in a certain sense hypoth
17 For this very reason, my analyses attempt to foreground the implications of form and genre but sometimes give way to the ethico political urgencies that charge saturate and escape confinement within the aesthetic regis ter of each t ext. Suffice it to say, s uch ethical, political, and h istorical considerations are never cut off from aesthetic choices such as genre, medium, and mode of address, thus demonstrating th e symbiosis of form and content In fact, attending to this symbiosis reveals a certain confluence between aesthetic experience and political value. For instance, some of the texts studied herein f avor moral certitude linearity, closure, and redemption forma l investments that may impart politically reductive and narrowly periodized narrations of historical crisis while others favor moral complexity, ambiguity, fragmentation, and reflexivity formal investments that tend to impart politically complicated and self conscious crisis narratives (still others fall within a spectr um between the two). While the interplay of form and content inheres in varying ways in any enunciation (textual, vocal, gestural, imagistic or otherwise), the chosen subject matter of postcolonial political violence tends to raise the stakes of narration by situating the author/text in a seemingly infinite range of discursive antagonisms marked not only by the trauma, victimization, and massacre of actual persons but also by indigenous memory, colonial history, anticolonial nationalisms, decolonization, g lobalization, and the invention and centuries categories consecrated in an ever shifting litany of global divisionism s: metropole/ colony, First /Third World, developed/develo ping nation, Global North/ South. In the case of the developing world, reductive narratives of Third World malfeasance, ineptitude, and social backwardness can authorize questionable
18 intervention ism as it has in Haiti and post genocide Rwanda as well as obscure the legitimate need for foreig n assistance, as in the case of Rwanda during the genocide 9 N ational interest therefore, deeply influences the po litical application of thesis as either an impetus for intervention or an excuse t o turn a blind eye. In the apt words of Robert DiPrizio, slaughtered Rwandans did not threaten Clinton's healthcare reform and crime bills [like the ] Haitian refugees" the shores of Florida (160) Within Rwanda and Ha iti invokes vodou, as an African derived religious practice, in the latter. The words of Lawrence Harrison, a United States Agency for Internationa l Development (USAID) official and author of Underdevelopment is a State of Mind sharply exemplify how colonialist narratives of Africana cultural backwardness legitimate neoliberal intervention strategies in de v 348). As symbols of African atavism, thes e tropes of tribalism and vodou racially link Rwanda and Haiti to a colonial conception of Africa as the site of the premodern and the 9 For complex reasons still being addressed today, the Clinton administration intervened in Haiti by militarily reinstalling Aristide but di d nothing to deter the course of the genocide in Rwanda. In terms of scale of violence and degree of public outrage, the crisis in Rwanda far outweighed that of Haiti in 1994. A growing literature, primarily in political scie nce, continues to address the se quandaries and three observations are exceedingly pertinent: the looming specter of the Somalia debacle made another military too politically risky (Harrow 35) two centuries of US influence in Haiti, an African des eclipsed any ana logous interests in Rwanda (Dash 1 21 ) and given immediate sphere of US influence. In Rwanda, US influence has since e clipsed that of the French due to the RPF in the post genocide years (Gnamo 345)
19 primitive and cultural products like literature and film serve as sites where these narratives are negotiated, modified, perpetuated, and contested. Comparative analysis of Rwanda and Haiti therefore elucidates the influence of a colonialist that is not stationary and static but mobile and dynamic, influencing observation of both contemporary Africa and th e Afro Caribbean in general, In The Idea of Africa Valentin Mudimbe genealogical ly traces Africa as an idea conveyed through conflicting systems of knowle derived from Greco Roman notions of the barbaric other (xi, 71), then modified by fifteenth later and nineteenth centur y y and ultimately consolidated in an enduring (albeit contested) colonial library of texts and artifacts supposed to represent the reality of Africa (xi xii ). in Orientalism n create not only knowledge but also the very reality they appear to describe. In time such knowledge and reality produce a tradition, or what Michel Foucault calls a discourse, whose material presence or weight, not the originality of a given author, is (94). Mudimbe and Said therefore, are both concerne d with colonial libraries that have produced knowledge of and discourses about colonized lands. This method of colonial discourse analysis reveals a n interplay between colonial conceptions of time and spac e, between (Said, Orientalism 49 55) For colonists and explorers, t he barbarians, primitives, and savages that inhabit ed subject lands represent ed a historical p ast that the inhabitants of
20 the metropoli tan north had long since surpassed. Crystallized further by the ascendance of nineteenth century colonial anthropology, g eography became temporalized, or, as Jo hannes Fabian puts it, time became spatialized (15). To travel from the metro pole to the colony, therefore, wa s to travel backwards in time toward an earlier phase of human development. T his social evolutionist perspective on human mean ing a geographical area perceived as developmentally behind the standards of social progress attained by the Western world i.e., chronologically behind Western time In nineteenth century Europe, this cultural evolutionism was refined into acial family tree that used the findings of colonial anthropology and race science to rank the Africans The African continent, McClintock explains, thereby became the epitome of geographic anachronism : "Africa came to be seen as the colonial paradigm of anachronistic space, a land perpetually out of time in modernity, marooned and historically abandoned. Africa was a fetish land, inhabited by cannibals, dervishes and witch do ctors, abandoned in prehistory ." ( 38, 41). T hese narratives of black primitivity have been influenced not only by colonialism in Africa b ut also by colonialism in Haiti demonstrating a mutually reinforcing quality between and twentieth century Atlantic World. The Euro American discourse on black sovereignty for example, derives in large part from Western reactions to the Haitian Revolution (1791 1804) which marked an end to French colonialism in Haiti and followed the American Revolution (1775 1783) by a mere sixteen years. As the first successful
21 large scale slave rebellion and anticolonial war for independence, the Haitian Revolution is a kind of primal scene of postcolon ial violence, and the powerful narratives it has produced about black nationhood and sovereignty have exerted a strong influence on the contested meanings of race and modernity. The slaveholding nation s of Europe and North America for instance, perceived the struggle for Haitian in dependence solely as a threat to the economic system of plantation slavery. Haiti thereby became an ominous symbol of African slave rebellion and the illegitimacy of black soverei gnty in the Western imagination In the US Sou revolution [in Haiti] In this regard, just as notions of Africa have influenced concept ions of Haiti, notions of Haiti, particularly in terms of the feasibility or infeasibility of black sovereignty have impacted conceptions of Africa, especially in the United States, where close proximity made the Haitian Revolution a frightening example of how the American plantation system just might meet its end if African American slaves followed the example of their Saint Domingue counterparts Aiming to capitalize on this fear, southern politicians, as well as some o Once Haiti had achieved independence, US and European politicians often black racial inferiority (May 176), an assessment that cast a politically charged shadow of doubt across the prospect of African and Afro Caribbean self rule. As this project
22 aims to demonstrate, such colonial narratives of illegitimate black sovereignty in Africa and the Caribbean persist to this day, ite rated in the lexicon of tribalism, primitivism, underdevelopment, and failed states. While indebted a nd informed by critics of colonial discourse such as Mudimbe, Said, and McClintock this study differs from the works of these scholars in its emphasis on much more recent events. Focusing on late twentieth and early twenty first century political strife rather than the colonia l discourse(s) of centuries past necessitates the exigencies of contemporary geopolitics (especially, but not limited to, the issues of diaspora postcoloniality, and globalization th at accompany a comparative African/Afro Caribbean project such as this) Due to the blossoming of African, Caribbean, and Haitian American literature in the twentieth century, t contemporary also allows for engagement not onl y with the colonial/neocolonial library but with the anticolonial/decolonial voices that have attempted confront th e hegemonic assumptions of neo/ colonial discourse. As Ashcroft, Griffith, and Tiffin assert in The Empire Writes Back: T heory and Practice in Post Colonial Literatures postcolonial writers continue to write back to the imperial center even values and ideas that undergirded the colonial pro je ct still exude hegemonic influence in the era of postcoloniality (6 7). A ttentiveness to this very dynamic has influenced the dia logic structure of this project which addresses hegemonic narratives as well as the postcolonial counternarratives that seek to confront them
23 By examining and dramatizing both the political and personal aspects of these crises, the African, Caribbean, and Haitian American literary texts analyzed in this study times in a dialogic struggle with official histories and mainstream journalistic observations. However, I do not assume a simplistic moral Manicheanism between in this project (nor, for that matter, bad journalism and good literature) Such a maneuver would amount to what LaCapra describes in Writing History, Writing Trauma acting out the subject positions with which one begins without subjecting them to critical testing that Instead, this project critically tests the limits of such identitarian Manicheanism by questi oning rather than assuming, a deterministic relationship between the geographic cultural, and generic origins of texts/authors and their ability to effectively narrate postcolonial political crisis. Tribalism, Genocide, and the Idea of Rwanda How, t hen, have discursive constructs from the colonial past influenced comprehension of the postcolonial present? Before the genocide, Rwanda had been primarily known as an ecotourism destination, home to the mountain gorillas popularized in Gorillas in the Mi st private papers. 10 In his graphic novel Smile Through the Tears, Rwandan genocide survivor Rupert Bazambanza laments the prevailing pre genocide image of Rwanda 10 is own interviews and research, into Woman in the Mists: The Story of Dian Fossey and the Mountain Gorillas of Africa (1987), the primary source material for Gorillas in the Mist.
24 that Gorillas in the Mist has helped ci Visitors really only seemed to care about This endangered species had been the subject of a famo us film, Gorillas in the Mist which told the story of Dian Fos sey and her quest to save them (3) Nicki Hitchcott describes this view of Rwanda the Western touristic reading of Rwanda as an exotic, dangerous, uncivilised place, in which mountain gorillas are more important than a million dead citizen This nearly singular focus gorillas has be filled with colonially inflected, Euro American stereotypes about Africa. When Rwanda descended i nto genocide, the stereotype of African tribalism provided a ready fill for this vacuum. The genocide erupted on April 6, 1994, when a surface to air missile attack struck down a Dassault Falcon jet carrying two Central Africa n Hutu heads of state, Rwand an P resident Juv enal Habyarimana and Burundian P resident Cyprien Ntaryamira. 11 Hutu extremists accused the RPF and began an extermination campaign against Rwanda Tutsi population as well as any Hutus who refused to join in the killing. Human rights groups, UN peacekeepers, political leaders, and other observers from around the world greeted only with legal de bates (particularly in the US and UN) over the applicability of the term genocide to the violence engulfing Rwanda. One hundred days later, the 11 u hardliners who inquiries suggest that the RPF may have ordered the killing to destabilize the country (Moghalu 51 52).
25 campaign to eradicate the Tutsi of Rwanda was brought to a halt only after the RPF had secured the capital cit y of Kigali. The genocide yielded a high yet still contested body count estimates range from 500,000 to ove r one million and fifteen years later Rwanda still suffers from a lack of significant justice for the dead or reconciliation between the living. R ecourse to African stereotypes leads to minimization and misunderstanding of these details, and although the tribalism narrative did not characterize all reporting on Rwanda, it did constitute a substantial trend across media outlets. United Press Interna tional for example, de scribed the situation in Rwanda (Gruenwald para. 1), while The Washington Post (Parmelee A1). Similarly, The New York Times (Lewis 2), while The Philadelphia Inquirer A1). Similarly, after giving hundre ds of interviews for print and television news media, Human Rights Watch analyst Alison Des Forges concluded that her attempts to historically and politically old clich 66). A few years later, i n a similar but perhaps more nuanced and poetically fatalistic vein Madeline Albright co ntine Carruthers 164). Senegalese novelist Boubacar Boris Diop registers an anxiety over this primitivizing tendency in his novel Murambi: The Book of Bones. On the eve of the
26 genocide, a Tutsi video store owner named Michel Serumundo realiz es that he has held false hope for a European, American, or UN intervention force: The World Cup was about to begin in the United States. The planet was interested in nothing else. And in any case, whatever happened in Rwanda, it would always be the sam e old story of bl (9 10). Serumundo provides an apt definition of and laments how such a notion misconstrues events in Rwanda and subsequently obstructs concern among the international community. Appeals to the tribal atavism narrative render the Rwandan genocide a premodern conflict, an event anterior to the machinations of modern global politics and hence a case of irreparable, internecine slaughter. But the Rwandan genocide, rather than a simple case of tribal violence, constituted a complex interplay of national, regional, and international dynamics reaching back to colonial history. Originally a German colony, the League of Nations bequeathed Ruanda Urund i, which would be partitioned into the independent states of Rwanda and Burundi in the Central Africa relied heavily on the work of Christian missionaries, who aided colonial aspirations in the African Great Lakes region. The civilizing mission served to indoctrinate Central Africans with European culture and religion, but also led some tac tics, which often included the dismemberment, starvation, and murder of uncooperative African workers (Bendetto 189) The most enduring product of the
27 sharpening of the H amitic hypothesis. An invention of colonial discourse, the Hamitic hypothesis used biblical scripture to legitimate theories of African inferiority. Africans, according to the Hamitic hypothesis, are the descendants of Canaan, the accursed son of Ham, wh o committed a grave sin against Noah in the book of Genesis (9:20 27). This originally biblical theory received a scientific makeover from the missionaries, whose everyday interactions with Great Lakes natives allowed them to apply the tools of anthropol ogy to their African inferiors, first in the Congo and then in Ruanda Urundi. In Ruanda Urundi, the Hamitic hypothesis translated into a radicalized bifurcation between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority. Favoring the Tutsi monarchy, the Belgian co lonial administration sought to scientifically validate and catalogue the physiological differences that the Belgian missionaries had attributed to the two ethnic groups in their pseudo anthropological musings. The Tutsi were thereby phenotypically design ated as more European than the quintessentially Negroid Hutu. To substantiate this claim, the Tutsi were said to have immigrated to Ruanda Urundi The Hamitic hypothesis black skin and forced to settle in Sub Saharan Africa, the original home of the Negroid (Zachernuk 428). The Hamitic Tutsi were now distinguished from the Canaanite Hutu as a superior settler class ri ghtfully predisposed to rule over the native Hutu, and this distinction was codified by the Belgian census of 1933, which forced all Rwandans to carry ethnic identification cards ( Melvern 5 ) Hutu extremism reversed this narrative, casting the Tutsi as in ferior precisely because they were an alien and therefore not authentically African race, providing the ideological blueprint for the genocide. As a
28 identification cards, still in use sixty one years after the Belgian census, allowed the Hutu army and militias to more easily distinguish their Tutsi prey from the rest of the population. Vodou Political Violence and the Idea of Haiti While African gorillas and a colonial conce ption of tribalism have not dictated vodou has played a substantial role in defining Haiti as an underdeveloped, irrational, and superstitious extension of primordial Africa on the world stage. A syncret ism of various African spiritual practices with Catholicism, vodou woes to a supposed African derived primitiveness, vodou is often invoked by proponents and detractors alike as an explanation for Haitian history, culture, and politics. Much like the narrative of tribalism in the Rwandan case, the invocation of vodou can obscure the relevance of the regional and historical complexities at work in political crises. The potency of vodou especially evident in the United States, where Haiti despite over two centuries of active trade relations, numerous American military interventions, and waves of Haitian emigration the popular imagination (Farmer 56) In the twentieth century, this image of Hait i was perpetuated by sensationalist journalism, exploitative travel narratives, opportunistic marine memoirs (written by soldiers returning from the 1915 1934 US occupation of Wade
29 The Serpent and the Rainbow (1985), 1988 horror movie of the same name. In the words of Miriam Neptune, The Serpent and the Rainbow depicts hor a Haiti 149). the earthquake merely punctuates two ce nturies of Haitian suffering caused by a pact with Satan to the Haiti an Consul General to Brazil that African derived witchcraft created the Haitian underdevelopment that the earthquake exacerbated (Obenson) colonial narratives of Haitia n primitivism continue to obscure the effects of global politico economics on the current state of affairs in Haiti. In their appraisal of the Haitian present, Robertson and the Consul General refer back to the Haitian Revolution as an illogical, atavisti c and demonic spasm of black violence, a precise reiteration of the eighteenth and nineteenth century Euro American vision of the Haitian war for independence as the illegitimate, aberrant, and doomed founding of a sovereign African /African descended nati on. These examples testify to a long tradition of viewing Haiti as somehow exterior to the Western hemisphere and anterior to modernity itself, even as international and ra. This preexisting lens of Haitian superstition and irrationality has also influenced understanding of the tumultuous Haitian politics of the early 1990s, inflecting representations of Aristide. Before he became a candidate for presidential restoratio n via Operation Restore Democracy, US politicians and media sources frequently characterized Aristide as a Caribbean psychopath or Africa
30 proper as (148), a nave child incapable of democratic leadersh ip. A lternating between image s of Afro Caribbean madness and innocence the se reductive depictions of Aristide both offered premises f or intervention by revising both the nineteenth century American plantation stereotypes of the savage and [and] good black Helg 50 n7). These very same stereotypes reemerged in the early twentieth century during the US Marine occupation of Ha iti (1915 1934) when paternalistic notions of Haitians as either menacing savages or helpless children underwrote American interventionist policy (Renda 13 16). Aristide, then, had been discursively situated with in a US race paradigm that transposed plan tation stereotypes of African and African American slaves onto independent Haitians first in the nineteenth century and then again in the twentieth T he Clinton administration set Operation Restore Democracy in motion in mid September 1994 in order to re install Aristide as t he overthrow of Aristide in 1991 had plunged Haiti into new depths of violence as popular demonstrations of outrage over the coup were met w ith brutal military retaliation (Robinson 180 ). However, given the cial support of the 1991 coup the move to rein stall Aristide was not as straightforward a de cision as it may have appeared (von Hippel 99 ) In a Washington Post writer Lee Hockstader sow s the seeds of what will later become a blatant characterization of Aristide as an insane despot condoning retributive political violence. As Aristide explained in a speech to his supporters,
31 powerful Macoutes today so t (A14). Here, Aristide comments on dechoukaj describe a cts of political reform that sometimes include ret ributive violence against former Duvalierists, milita rists, and members of the tonton macoutes paramilitary security force This statement alone seems to corroborate the co nclusion embedded in the Hockstader only that the mobs who are s eeking out Ton Tons Macoutes the dreaded militia that bolstered the 29 year Duvalier family dictatorship and that they turn macoutes in to the army instead of killing them (A14). While the shows Aristide sympathizing with the desire to engage in readers toward a different conclusion, that of Aristide being a bloodthirsty manipulator and orchestrator of mob violence. By the time Aristide had taken office, this image of psychotic violence was being supplemented with depictions of Aristide as an innocent who would fall prey to nefarious political forces if he did not receive proper financial education f rom his First World benefactors. In an article from February 1991, Washington Times reporter are now in the process of educating [Aristide] but there could be other m ore (A7). However, by October 1991, a month into Cdras the militarily overthrown Haitian president, with President Bush making an uncharacter istically candid admission about the US military record in the Americas:
32 and seemed to de rive from an understanding that the long history of US power in Lati n America and the Caribbean demanded that further intervention be prudent, selective, and unequivocally in the best national interest, otherwise the US sphere of influence in the Americas could be unnecessarily tarnished reinstalling Aristide did not fit the bill. B y 1992, a CIA psychological profile offered another reason for keeping Aristide out office by declaring him homicidal tendencies In 1993, CIA officer Brian Latell publicly defended this profile Aristide was effectively rebranded in accordance with this psychological profile, despite the fact that the Canadian medical board has shown that Dr. Harv Martin, the Canadian physician supposed to have diagnosed Aristide, does not exist (Farmer 184). More recently, Frederick H. Fleitz, Jr., a Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Secur ity and a former CIA analyst, has described Peacekeeping Fiascoes of the 1990s: Causes, Solutions, and US Interests poses as rigorous academic analysis, thi s assessment of Haitian politics has
33 it does with scholarly research, observation, and evaluation. While consulting these sources that infantilize and pathologize Aristide before and during the junta, the motivations for restoring Aristide to power assume a curious character. Rezistans Allan Nairn sheds some light on the dynamics at play in Operation Restore Democracy the US had a very clear, systematic policy of supporting the forces of terror in Haiti while at the The objective of Operation Restore De mocracy, therefore, was to reinstall a domesticated Aristide, one that c ould assuage the Haitian populous that saw him as their representative while still upholding the economic status quo of Haitian subservience to the demands of the global market. 12 This mounting pressure ultimately led to the restoration of Aristide to the presidency but only after Aristide had been forced to accept nearly all of the demands of the coup leaders and de facto ruler General Raol Cdras and his accompli ces could leave with a severance package instead of prosecution for their crimes. 13 Many of th ese factors were omitted from the domina nt script of events. Instead, the over w helming conclusion to be drawn from the US media was much like The Comedians 12 Not everyone was behind the miss ion to reinstall Aristide, however. As US Senator Bob Dole quite bluntly expressed it, 49). 13 after giving the generals the greenlight to de cimate the popular movement for several years, the US took good care of them when in October 1994 their mission accomplished they were eventually induced to step down. After arranging to lease three of his houses, the US flew Cdras into a luxuri ous retir 41).
34 black lunacy. Haiti as th e throbbing organic centre of darkness in the Western Haiti 111). Commemoration, Appropriation, and the Narration of Political Crisis Depictions of Haitian politics portraying Aristide as either psychotic or infantile render Haitian po litics irrational and insular, despite the fact that global logics have been at play since the very inception of Haitian independence. Similarly, when media reports slaught variation on the trope of tribalism, they establish a phantasmatic chasm between modern Euro America and premodern Africa. These perspectives comprise a dangerous and prevai li ng sentiment: such postcolonial political crises result from a kind of backwardness intrinsic to developing nations. This sentiment is dangerous in the sense that it produces narratives that omit, ignore, or obscure the external factors political, histori cal, and economic between stability and violence. The chapters that foll ow examin e a variety of creative texts that respond to such primitivizing discursive treatments of Rwanda and Haiti. Surveying a variety of literary and filmic texts is important because historical production takes place in a variety of places and contexts, not just in academic departments or journalism offices As Michel Rolph Trouillot explains : We cannot exclude in advance any of the actors who participate in the production of history or any of the sites where that production may occur. Next to professional historians we discover artisans of different kinds, unpaid or unrecognized field laborers who augment, deflect, or reorganize the work of the professionals as politicians, students, fiction writers, filmmakers, and participating members of the public. (25)
35 How, then, this project seeks to ask, have novelists, filmmakers, and even comics artist s contributed to the making of recent Rwandan and Haitian political history, histories that are still being written and are highly contested? 14 In a related vein, Pierre Nora distinguishes memory, as a certitude about collective origins consecrated uncons ciously in taken for granted cultural practices from history, a conscious and systematic reconstruction of the past as a mode of identity verification. 15 For Nora, as modernit y erodes the certainty of collective memory, history becomes increasingly import social identity: Following the example of ethnic groups and social minorities, every established group, intelle ctual or not, learned or not, has felt the need to go in search of its own origins and Historical consciousness, extracted through archival research, serves to archival. It relies entirely on the materiality of the trace, the immediacy of the recording, the visibility of the image (Nora 13). Along with writing and audio and televisual recording, museums, anniversaries, and other forms of commemoration serve as ways 14 Stephen Smith demonstrates the highly contested nature of the history of the Rwandan genocide in am not arguing that we shoul d all know everything there is to know about Rwanda. My point is that we lesson from the organised massacre of 800,000 people, which we failed to prevent. Ea ger to pay off our previous regime in Rwanda impels us to shower Kagame with leadership awards and aid money even as 15 As Nora permanent evolution, open to the dialectic of remembering and forgetting, unconscious of its successive deformations, vulnerable to manipulation and appropriation, susceptible to being long dormant and periodically revived. History, on the other hand, is the reconstruction, always problematic and incomplete, of what is no longer. Memory is a perpetually actual phenomenon, a bond tying us to the eternal present; hist
36 of documenting, preserving and imagining the past that often take moments of historical crisis rupture, or revolution object of remembrance (Nora 7). This dynamic is exemplified by the recurrent h istorical tropes encountered in this projec t: the Rwandan genocide, the Hutu Revolution, the Haitian Revol ution, the Duvalier dynasty, the Aristide administration. Due to the dialogic (but not deterministic) structure of this project, the primary texts d iscussed herein were produced from a variety of locations under divergent circumstances. As narratives of crisis, these te xts not only negotiate Rwanda and Haiti describe events in which actual people were tor tured, maimed, raped, traumatized, and murdered as well as forced to witness the mutilation and execution of their friends, family, and community members With the exception of Rwandan genocide survivor Smile Through the Tears I have chosen texts pr oduced by writers or filmmakers who have not directly experienc ed the crises they narrate Therefore, the texts analyzed in this project are marked by varying degrees of distance or proximity to the actual site of violence and trauma. While some of these texts utilize survivor, witness, and perpetrator testimonies with limited mediation to construct their narratives, they nevertheless engage in divergent modes of commemoration and appropriation that may not accurately reflect the wishes, needs, or memorie s of the victimized Hence, f ollowing LaCapra I find it important to emphasize that conflating the trauma of the victim with that of the perpetrator as well as that of the witness, let alone that of the seco ndary witness (who observes through textual or testimonial mediation rather than direct observation ), would not only be misleading but also highly
37 inappropriate 16 While the observer of crisis may experience trauma empathically, the victim of crisis experiences trauma directly, trauma of an irreducibl e, nontransferable, experiential psychic quality. T crisis narratives that enact commemorative and appropriative gestures rather than unmediated testimonies of trauma (althou gh a certain collapsing of these categories can be seen in chapters three, four and five ) has necessitated readings informed not only by the aforementioned discursive, historical, and geopolitical considerations (time and space, geography and history) but also by formal attention to the narrative strategies throu gh which these stories of trauma, crisis, and conflict are told (voice) I n other words, while I am primarily concerned with how narratives of crisis ideologically and aesthetically render recent history for implicit or explicit political purposes this p roject must also consider like LaCapra, ( Writing 18 n24 ). The concept of narrative is useful for approaching these multiple considerations of time, sp ace, and voice as features of discourse, history, and story telling. F or this reason, I tend to avoid except for very discrete, specific literary image or object such as a single person/character, artifact, or landscape, while 16 as the proper way of representing the Holocaust. In a seeming performative contradiction, he even writes that the middle voice is the way to represent realistically not only the Holocaust but modern experience in general. A rashly generalized middle voice would seem to undercut or undo systematically not only the binary opposition but any distinction, however problematic in certain cases, between victim and perpetrator, as it would seem to undercut the problems of agency and responsibility in general. (LaCapra, Writing 25, 26).
38 objects and images (representations of people, places, and things) that experience a serie s of events (plot) within a textually constructed world, whether fictional or nonfictional. In drawing this distinction, I do not wish to suggest that an isolated representation is not interpreted in a narrative fashion that places a singular representati that narrative texts demand hermeneutic as well as intertextual reading strategies that discursively and textually situate rather than decontextualize individual representations ( images, objects) from the textual habitats in which they reside. I find this distinction exceedingly important when dealing with narratives of postcolonial political crisis, i.e., stories filled with racialized representations of violence and suffering, a s it would be far too misleading and reductive to decontextualize and label singular representations In chapter two I demonstrate how Hotel Rwanda a Hollywood film that narrowly construes the exigencies of the Rwandan genocide through its singular focus on the redemptive witness figure of Paul Rusesabagina, provides an example of how mass media texts can hegemonically memorialize events in ways that suit the ideolog ical and material desires of Western, especially American audiences. Hotel Rwanda temporally an d nationally bounds the genocide to a single time and place, 1994 Rwanda. This narrow periodization of the event partitions Rwanda off from other related regi onal Congo, Burundi, and Uganda. Critics such as Lemarchand, for instance, assert that inte 96). In
39 Hotel Rwanda, the RPF are depicted as an unequivocally messianic force quelling violence that they never had anything to do with in the first place, despite the fact that key element in the chain of events leading to the butchery is the outbreak of the bitter civil war instigated 103). This largely Euro American conception of Rwanda is not securely fixed within the Western world, however, as both Hotel Rw anda and the Rwandan government utilize a Hotel Rwanda This trunca ted narrative underwrites Rwandan imperial operations in the DRC, where Rwanda and its allies extract valuable resources such as coltan for sale to multinational communications and electronics corporations. Subsequently, Hotel Rwanda participates in a dis course on the Rwandan genocide that suits t he intra and international ends of the RPF as well as Western material interests posits can be found. Chapter three examines tex ts that might provide a n alternative to the hegemonic, narrowly periodized narrative articulated by Hotel Rwanda, texts by African writers that, through translation into English, have become available to American audiences. Part of to bring African writers together in solidarity with Rwanda, Boubacar Boris Murambi: The Book of Bones and V The Shadow of Imana : Travels in the Heart of Rwanda research and interviewing of survivors, witnesses, perpetrators, and aid workers in post genocide Rwanda. If the to situate the Rwandan genocide within a
40 transnational, transhistorical and transcultural framework memorialization is conceptualized and achieved. M uch like the prevailin g discourse embodied by the Murambi conceal s ongoing Central African atrocities even as it seek s to commemorate the Rwandan atrocities of 1994. T Murambi (Hitchcott, effects of French imperialism in Rwanda while excising the infidelities of the RPF from its narration of the genocide In contrast, The Shadow of Imana prov ides a drastically different articulation of the Rwandan genocide than that of Murambi by utilizing a broader spatial and temporal construction of the crisis, a more radical form of often stand with limited or no mediation), and a bifurcated narrative structure that resists definitive closure. These structural characteristics demonstrate a depar ture from the Diopian desire to appro priate the Rwandan genocide as part of an anti France political agenda, thus allowing for engagement with the struggle for national reconciliation in post genocide Rwanda, including fuller attention to the actual concerns of genocide survivors Cha pter four brings these issues into comparative context with Holocaust studies by examining graphic novels about the Rwandan genocide alongside Jewish (1973) Using the visual literary mode of comics, Maus was among the first graphic novels to tackle an
41 issue as grave as the Holocaust. In this regard, Maus sets a formal precedent for Smile Through the Tears: The Story of the Rwandan Genocide (2005) and Bel Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda (2006). While these issues could easily be broached in other genres, the use of the graphic novel enables Deogratias and Smile Through the Tears much like Maus, to visually render complex tempo ral and spatial associations between the personal and the geopolitical, as well as the past and the present. But at the center of Smile Through the Tears and Deogratias, as well as Maus, is a concern with the issue of animality, the animalization of the g enocide victim. Through their adoption of the graphic novel, Bazambanza and Stassen, like Spiegelman before them, enact a reversal of the animal trope that rendered the Jews u ntermenschen (underhuman) and the Tutsi inyenzi ( cockroaches ) Rather than detr acting from the content of these genocide narratives, the graphic novel allows for a historical engagement with a twentieth century comics and cartoons corpus that animalized Jews and Africans. Historical comparison of Smile Through the Tears and Deograti as also problematizes easy distinction between For instance, d Deogratias travails and challenges the narrative of Tutsi/Hutu tribalism. invested in national reconciliation, Smile Through the Tears wanders dangerously close to a Tutsi centric narration of Rwandan hi story that duplicates the Manichean ideology of the genocide.
42 In c hapter five I begin to repeat the organizational structure of the Rwandan chapters by turning to a hegemonic text that reflects and informs a reductive and primitivizing Euro American di scourse on Haitian politics, demonstrating that representational dynamics similar to those of the Rwandan genocide have impacted understanding of the Haitian military coup and junta of 1991 1994, the effects of which culminated in a second military coup ag ainst deposed President Jean Bertrand Aristide Ghosts of Cit Soleil (2007) depicts the violence that accompanied the 2004 coup by following the lives of gang leaders from the slum of Cit Soleil, a pro Aristide stronghol documentary reduces Haitian politics to street thuggery and explicitly and simplistical ly gang violence in Cit Soleil. These depictions of contemporary Haitian politics relate to a subtext on the Haitian bicentennial that dis commemorates Haitian independence By discommemoration, I refer to an act of reversing or negating the significance of a memorialized event. Ghosts of Cit Soleil discommemorates Haitian independence by implicitly equating Jean Bertrand Aristide, (and twice militarily ousted ) president, with Francois and Jean Claude Duvalier, the infamous father and son dictators who ruled Haiti with terror an d violence for a combined thirty years. revolutionary history are cast in negative terms and given voice primarily through Aristide supporters, who are constructed in an often criminal, violent, and unhinged manner. In turn, the foreig n supported coup forces who deposed Aristide in 2004 (much the same forces that also deposed him in 1991) are romanticized as liberators and democracy promoters despite their effective role as a paramilitary death squad guilty of
43 terrorizing and massacring thousands of Aristide supporters, largely at the behest of Haitian and Western business elites invested in preserving Haiti as a low wage labor bastion The external factors such as foreign occupation and interventionism that have contributed to Haitian strife whose intrinsic backwardness testifies to the failure of black sovereignty, a failure incepted at the dawn of Haitian independence and serialized in the Duvaliers and Aristide. In chapter s ix I continue to follow th e pattern laid out in chapters two through four by examining Haitian The Dew Breaker (2005) a text that confronts the neo/colonial narratives exemplified by Ghosts of Cit Soleil by elucidati ng the geopolitical inequities that f oment Haitian political strife primarily through Dantica s depiction of the tonton macoute not as a demonic embodiment but as a human figure corrupted by harrowing social conditions. Nine short stories comprise The D ew Breaker, each story interweaving with the others to create a novel from originally autonomous, alinear fragments The characters of each story, from the diasporic characters living in Brooklyn to those living in rural Haiti, are connected to one anothe Haiti and span the administrations of Francois and Jean Claude Duvalier (1957 1986) as well as Jean Bertrand Arist ide, their democratically elected successor (1991, 1994 1996, 2001 2004), and the first administration of Ren Prval (1996 2001), revealing the transnational and cyclical dynamics that perpetuate Haitian political violence. This transnational and broadly periodized narrative thereby resists the commemorative
44 process of fixating on a particular moment of crisis or a particular political figurehead, often for partisan, politically instrumentalist ends. Through these narrative strategies The Dew Breaker reh umanizes the tonton macoute and demonstrates that Haiti is neither isolated from Western hemispheric politics nor anterior to North American modernity. In chapter seven, I follow up on the issues raised by The Dew Breaker by turning more fully toward the Western reactions to the Haitian Revolution that continues to be forcefully contested by postcolonial, especially Caribbean, writers. For many in the slaveholding nations of Euro pe and North A merica, th e Haitian Revolution (1791 1804) amounted to an outbreak of African sava gery. Since c olonial d iscourse had perceived African slaves as premodern subjects inca pable of pursuing liberty and national sovereignty, Haitian independence challenged the Eurocentric narrative of political modernity, instantiating a rupture in Western historical consciousness. Nineteenth century historians dressed this epistemological wound by attributing the Haitian Revolution to the intellectual influence of the French Revolution (Haitian culture, symbolized by the African derived religious practice of vodou, retained its primitive connotations). But rather than reifying the hypocrisies of Enlightenment philosophy, the Haitian Revolution had revealed its obscene contrad concealed a European provincialism predicated on African enslavement. This historical since been an important site of epistemological contestation in Caribbean literature
45 Chapter seven explores this dynamic in Caribbean Canadian writer Nalo The Salt Roads (2003), a magical realist/ v odou fantasy novel that challenges both the Western his toriographical and Caribbean nationalist traditions of writing the Haitian Revolution. If Western epistemology has subsumed Haitian history in to its fabric, constructing the Haitian Revolution as a byproduct of French modernity, Hopkinson reverses this re lationship by connecting eighteenth century Haiti, nineteenth century France and fifth century Egypt through a v odou inspired vision of world history This radical re envisioning of time and space replaces a unidirectional, linear, and hegemonic understa nding of historical causality (French independence yields Haitian independence) with a multilateral, circular, and subaltern appreciation of global human events The Salt Roads depicts the lives of three women spiritually conn ected through Ezili, a female Vodou lwa Throughout the novel, Ezili possesses Mer (a n eighteenth century sl ave in Saint Domingue), Jeanne Duval ( the mulatto mistress of French poet Charles Baudelaire), and Thais (a fifth century Egypt ian prostitute ). Mer, Jeanne, and Thais are wome n who have like the Haitian Re volution been silenced, paralleling the epistemological process of historical silencing on a personal level. As a slave woman, Mer represents a historical absence, a figure omitted from dominan t histories Likewise, Jeanne D uval also suffers from the biases of dominant historiography, entering the historical record through Bau delaire scholarship, a tradition that has effectively silenc ed depicting her a leeching dependent. Simila Catholic hagiography, which describes her as a formerly sex addicted prostitute saved from her self in duced debauchery by a miraculous conversion. The Salt Roads
46 historicall y recovers these historically silenced women and places them within a narrative of global political modernity that finds its center in Haitian history and culture In conclusion I will synthesize the individual findings of these chapters into a more gen eral statement on the narration and commemoration of political crisis and the historiography of the recent past. I will also attend to current events in Rwanda and receive d as well as cholera outbreak, and botched elections Observations and reactions to these situations continue to be influenced in varying degree by the reductive notions of Rwanda and Haiti that are delineated througho ut this project, subsequently obfuscating broader systemi c understandings of Rwandan and Haitian political violence and short circuiting the efficacy of relief and redevelopment efforts in favor of neoliberal economic interests.
47 CHAPTER 2 GENOCIDE AND THE POLITICS OF MEMORIAL IZATION: HOTEL RWANDA AND Genocide has become banal, much more banal than Hannah Arendt thought possible when describing Eichmann. It is now the tool employed by those with the power to impose their narratives of his tory, or of freedom, on the world. 40 Between April and July of 1994 an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus died at the hands of Hutu militiamen, soldiers, and the ordinary Rwandan civilia ns who, by coercion or of their own free will, joined in the killing. The mass slaughter, lasting roughly one hundred days, erupted after a missile assault brought down a jet carrying Hutu President Juvnal Habyarimana, who had been on a return flight fro mobilized the Hutu army and extremist Hutu militias, who used the attack as evidence of Tutsi aggression, an aggression they claimed could only be stopped through the systematic exterminatio n of all Tutsis in Rwanda. This rhetoric of fear compelled many Hutu citizens to turn on their neighbors and participate in genocide; others refused, only to be executed alongside their Tutsi peers. This immensely complicated situation, with sociopolitic al roots in colonial history, the Hutu Revolution ( 1959 ), its national and regional aftershocks (1960s to 1990s) and the Rwandan Civil War of (1991 1993), prompted a veritable non reporting from the mainstream media, which often resort ed to a well worn culturally developmentalist explanation for African political crisis 1 1 For examples of the tribalism narrative in US media reporting on the Rwandan genocide, see Wall.
48 Ten years later, the world seemed ready to listen, to learn from its mistakes, and to grieve along with Rwanda over remembrance emerged, those conducted by and for the traumatized Rwandan nation and those conducted by and for the shamefaced West. As exemplary of these two l state sponsored genocide commemorations of April 2004 and a Hollywood film released that same year, Hotel Rwanda, which has become a historical cipher for Western, especially American, audiences wish e other forms of remembrance have arisen befo re, during and since the tenth anniversary, the Rwandan commemorations and Hotel Rwanda bear unique distinctions: where the commemorations have been imbued with the stamp of official national narrative by the Rwandan government Hotel Rwanda has become an oft praised and widely distributed 2 L ike a po int of comparison in this essay, Hotel Rwanda ha s acquired the power of the atrocity it represents (Claude Lanzmann qtd. in Bernstein 432) Both Hotel Rwanda and the Rwandan commemoration ceremonies function to memorialize and raise awareness about the Rwandan genocide, but what happens when an event like is commemorated enshrined in a particular time and locality, and what purposes do the s e memorials serve? 3 2 Upon its release to DVD, Hotel Rwanda was among the most rented movies from Netflix, and five years later (as of 2 Ma rch 2010), the film Hotel Rwanda (IMDb). 3 The Rwandan commemorations bear the additional burden of seeking national reconciliation and healing, but, as the remainder of this essay will argue, reconciliation has been obstructed rather than nurtured by the historical narrative imposed on the Rwandan citizenry by the commemorations.
49 wandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the ruling regime in post genocide Rwanda, renders the genocide banal, instrumentalizing the history of the crisis to serve its own political ends. 4 On 7 April 2004, President Kagame presided over the tenth annual commemo rati on in Kigali with a speech at the Amahoro Stadium 5 Raising the profile of the tenth anniversary over previous commemorations the U nited N ations (UN) 2004 as an International Day of R United Nations Today 89). Making the most of this heightened exposure, the 20 04 commemorations (Thompson 433). Significantly, these commemorative events focus ed exclusively on t he events of 1994 (Harrow 41) thereby assert ing a historically and geographically narrow script of the genocide Rwandan history. That role is, in fact, singular: those who quelled the Hutu led genocide of the Tutsi. War) as well as its aftermath (reprisal massacres, Africa 4 I use the acronym RPF to refer to the ruling political party as well as its pre genocide military branch, the military, the RDF (Rwandan Defence Forces). 5 predecessor, Pasteur Bizimungu, who had attempted to create a new opposition party. Bizimungu was arrested three weeks later" (523).
50 and Hotel Rwanda presents a genocide script temporally compatible with th is tr uncated narration of the genocide By participating in a mythology of the genocide that supports Hotel Rwanda conceals ongoing human rights abuses even as it seeks to reveal the atrocities of 1994. In other words, by giving the impression that all is well in post genocide Rwanda, Hotel Rwanda erases the domestic and regional infidelities of the RPF from general public consciousness and fossilizes the violence of the genocide in the discrete time and place of 1994 Rwanda. These parallels between Hotel Rwanda and the Rwandan commemorations need not lead to a conspiratorial view of the film there is no collusion among Hotel Rwanda government. In fact, P resident Kagame has publicly lambasted Hotel Rwanda ( apparently detesting how the film makes a hero of Paul Rusesabagina, a Hutu hotelier who harbored more than a thousand Tutsi refugees in the Htel des Mille Collines during the ti me dramatized in Hotel Rwanda ) despite the friendly narrative arc. And Rusesabagina has voiced extreme dissatisfaction with the Rwandan government, even declaring Kagame a war criminal in a 2006 letter to Queen Elizabeth II ( Rusesabagina, Lett er In response, Kagame and his partisans have made Paul Rusesabagina a target of their comme moration speech denunciations (Waldorf 523). Suffice it to say, Hotel Rwanda expresses neither the views of Kagame nor of Rusesabagina, whose fierce opposition puts his perspective at odds with Hotel Rwanda Instead, this essay asserts that Hotel Rwanda both narratives are easily reconci lable with the ideological preconceptions of American
51 audiences. Ideologically, th e film supports the view that the RPF as current US allies, must be a force for good and a lso reifies a Euro American belief in exceptional African figures (protagonist Pau l Rusesabagina and the RPF) who excel despite the intrinsic African political backwardness from which they purportedly originate. Given its lack of attention to the geopolitical implications of the Rwandan genocide, Hotel Rwanda also tends to reify rather than challenge the tribalism narrative. In turn, these ideological preconceptions which Hotel Rwanda does not create but rather crystallizes in a textual touchstone, support Western material interests in the resources now being pillaged in the Democrat ic Republic of Congo (DRC) particularly coltan, an ore used to manufacture an enormous range of electronics by Rwanda and its allies Genocide Scripts: Articulating History The final shots of Hotel Rwanda exemplify this narrowness of historical perspecti ve and the peculiar image it subsequently presents of Rwandan current affairs. The film concludes with a series of black screens bearing white text. Providing the film when the Tutsi rebels drove the Hutu army and the Inter a hamwe militia across the edged sword, as the desire to raise awaren ess of the Rwanda n genocide is satisfied by initiating a static and insular view of one that obscures ongoing strife in Rwanda and the Congo. The RPF led Tutsi government in post genocide Rwanda has utilized a similar historical ar ticulation in order to gain political leverage in both the national and international arenas. This narrow historical articulation allows the RPF to cash in on what Filip
52 gen ocide credit derives from their acquisition of unquestionable status as both victims of the genocide and the messianic force that quelled the violence. This double standing as victims and saviors has made regional human righ ts record a blind spot for foreign observers eager to support the RPF as an act of (Lemarchand 106). But how would Hotel Rwanda if we questioned these concluding screens, asking, w hat happened to those Hutu forces driven into the Congo by the RPF? With the genocide in Rwanda creating an overwhelming number of refugees, the Congo (still named Zaire at this point) came to play host to displaced civilians and Hutu military a nd militia forces fleeing from the RPF a refugee population of over two million (Prunier, 47) This influx of refugees exacer bated preexisting tensions over land and citizenship rights in Z aire (Mamdani 14 ) and paradoxically, many refugee camp s became rearmament and training facilities for exiled Hutu forces (Lemarchand 147) Border skirmishes between these exiled forces and the RPF, now eventually became a pretense f or a Rwandan invasion of the Congo This invasion precipitated the First Congo War (1996 1997), which culminated in Laurent Dsir Kabila RPF supported coup against Mobutu Ss Seko With Rwandan forces as a d Democratic Republic of Congo, tensions to order all Rwandan forces out of the DRC. By August 1998, these deteriorating relations between Rwanda and the DRC climaxed in t he Second Congo War, also known as (1998 2003) a
53 five year conflict involving Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Angola, and their proxies ( Prunier, 72, 285 ). A coalescence of multiple regional conflicts, ld War further destabilized the Congo, with exiled Rwandan Hutu forces aligning with Kabila and his allies against the largely pro Tutsi alliance of Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda. O rich nations became even poorer, with Congolese elites, Rwanda, and the other invading forces pillaging the Congo for its lucrative resources and playing mineral broker to Western governments and corporatio ns Arms, drugs, gold, diamonds, and coltan form the center of this criminalized C ongolese economy (Lemarchand 5, 216, 245). Trade in coltan, an ore used to manufacture computers, jet engines, cell phones, and other electronic devices, where eighty percent of global industries and economies dependent on electronics. In the Rwandan controlled coltan mines, Rwandan soldiers force Hutu prisoners to dig for this valuable material (Lemarchand 25 5), exemplifying the ghoulishly synergistic relationship among monolithic demonization of the Hutu, glorification of the RPF, and exploitative extraction 2003 as the confli driven instability and violence continue in the DRC. three and a half million people have died in the eastern Congo three million have become refugees. In the DRC, t his recurrent cycle of instability, violence, and displacement begetting more role in the Congo Wars (Harrow 42) and the global trade in coltan.
54 Within the borders of Rwand ongoing human rights abuses, concealing grim Rwandan realities such as 3), large numbers of arrests based on spurious evide nce of genocide complicity (Prunier, 11 ), and organized RPF led massacres (Prunier, 15 ). UN High Commission for genocide behavior in the Gersony Report, a document that was immediately embargoed by the UN so that the new Rwandan government would not be undermined before their reconstruction project had even gotten off the ground A particularly disturbing finding of the report details the use of peace an d reconciliation meetings as an opportu nity for mass killing, with RPF soldiers in the spirit of community healing Using tactics like these, the Gersony Report concludes, the RPF killed 25,000 to 4 5,000 Hutu and Tutsi alike in the first six 16). These activities seem to direct suppression from the UN. The r evelations embedded in the Gersony Report found immediate disfavor among some UN member states, especially the US, which had ignored the genocide but since become a repentant Rwandan ally (31). At the behest of the US, the qtd. in Lemarchand 96). While direct suppression of post genocide activities continues almost organically, aided by t he ideological dissonance that accompanies recognition of RPF brutality. Hotel Rwanda
55 narration of the genocide exemplifies this process, wherein those facts that ideologically harmonize with dominant preconceptions and material interests ac hieve wider and more powerful circulation than those facts that are ideologically challenging and obstruct economic desire for valuable resources. This Hotel Rwanda ultimately self defeating since the film seeks to do human rights work, i.e., it seeks to educate and raise awareness about the Rwandan genocide so that future human rights atrocities might be challenged by a global citizenry enlightened by humanitarianist mass media. If there were any doubt that the makers and distributors of Hotel Rwanda see the film participating in a sort of cinema of awareness a piece of humanitarian pedagogy, we need only watch the trailers that open the Hotel Rwanda DVD: in a brief public announcement following previews for soon to be released movies, actor Don take action in Darfur, highlighting the sentiment that the West can make up for its failures in Rwanda by intervening in the Darfur crisis. While drawing attention to the crisis in Darfur is entirely laudable, even vital, this movement from Rwanda to Darfur creates seriality between the crises: Rwanda, the African crisis the First World failed to amend, is followed by its s equel, Darfur, the African crisis the First World may yet be able to solve. There are, indeed, lessons to be learned from the failures of the international community in aiding Rwanda, and many of those lessons are undoubtedly relevant to the crisis in Dar fur. But this refocusing from a temporally and geogr aphically insular view of 19 94 Rwanda to Darfur renders invisible the ongoing strife present in Rwanda and its neighbor, the DRC where the death tol l from 1998 to 2006 reached
56 four times that of the Rwa ndan genocide (Lemarchand 4 ). This pattern of crisis recognition parallels the enormous rate of coverage Darfur has received in contrast with Congo [1,600 articles v ersus 300], though the Congo situation killed over three times as 353). Just as the Congo constitutes an unsavory narrative, as extended coverage would reveal how both Rwanda and its Western allies have benefitted from coltan extraction and arms d ealing in the DRC Darfur, which has been mischaracterized as a simple case of evil Arabs killing good Christians, resonates with post 9/11 audiences in the US and Europe (Eichler Levine and Hicks 715). s List ? In a sense, all films can be seen as historical articulations of whatever their subject matter might be, but recreating historical tragedy for the big screen raises especially daunting ethical and aesthetic obstacles. These concerns are not lost o n Hotel Rwanda director Terry George, who has expressed his desire to imbue his film which wil l ensure that the film reach es and inform s this as right as you possibly [approach] . I the history of the event. Whether we like it or not, these films have become the The refore, the received history itself goes unquestioned and th en undergoes formal
57 reduction into the constraints of the historical Hollywood drama since, as George admits, the goal of mass market appeal creates formal burdens : indulge oursel ves with any long scenes, because the central element or driving force for a wider audience, if we were to have crossover, was the thriller element. I had to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. If they s[i] g to get lost in the whole mess of it. (qtd. in Motskin 74) Seemingly, then, for George, reconciling veracity and accessibility in a genocide film is a surmoun table task. But for any who recall the debates that have surrounded mass culture Holocaust text s like skepticism may be the natural response to directorial confidence, especially his unrestrained enthusiasm for invoking a Characteristic of a dramatic, Hollywood thriller, Hotel Rwanda much like Schindl e mploys definitive narrative closure. In the words of Gertrud Koch, words just as applicable ( perh aps even more applicable) to Hotel Rwanda, List (405) 6 Hotel Rwanda Schindler's List is not just an ambitious but flawed movie; it is a work that manipulates the emotions raised by the enormity of its historical theme in order to disgui Many of these aspects of Hotel Rwanda also accommodates this 6 hat remains problematic in instead of death and destruction as the core of Holocaust history so much as the problem of voice once again: who is speaking, who tells us to overcome the pain in order to survive and live hap pily ? ( 403).
58 yearning for redemptive meaning, thereby creating a memory of the event that could not be in starker contrast with the grim, on the ground realities continuing to vex Rwanda. Testifying to this redemptive quality, t he American Film Institute places both s List and Hotel Rwanda among its picks (American Film Institute 3) While there may be nothing unsettling about finding inspiration in in and of itself constructing his inspirational narrative b ecomes possible only by excisi n g the more troubling aspects of genocide history. Hotel Rwanda 7 s triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds rather than an actual account of the genocide. A s Michael Andr Bernstein explains of such constructions of historical tragedy do not simply entertain but also serve as tools of cultural pedag ogy: (Berns tein 432). George himself has used similar language to describe Hotel Rwanda calling the film a historical touchstone. I t is from this privileged position that Hotel Rwanda, like works to n 7 Hotel Rwanda and Million Dollar Baby ional and personal struggles. The underdog story works within the redemptory frame by dramatizing individual struggle against overwhelming adversity.
59 genocide and, despite its pretensions to the cinema of awareness commodifying its tragic history for recreational purposes 8 The formal aspects of Hotel Rwanda al fabrication are largely directed by exposition. To create this thriller element for example, Hotel Rwanda evades extended exposition through e vocative use of Radio et T elevision Libres d es Milles Collines (RTLM) broadcasts. Before the genocide began, the Interahamwe used these Hutu Power R adio broadcas ts to incite fear and hatred of the Tutsi among the Hutu citizenry The Interahamwe also used these broadcasts to coord inate attacks and hunts for specific individuals once the genocide had begun. Hutu Power Radio broadcasts recur frequently in Hotel Rwanda, aesthetically imbuing the film with an appropriately ominous atmosphere and providing a modicum of insight into the ideology of Hutu extremis m Signifying a radio dial search for RTLM, t he film opens with a black scr een accompanied by radio static and cross banding frequencies. Once the radio signal has stabilized, an RTLM radio announcer begins speaking e ask me, good rsed son, and migrated to Rwanda from Ethiopia. While European biblical exegesis originally reworking of the Hamitic legend in the nineteenth century, so that the Ancient Egypt ian 8 Commenting on Reid Miller notes how the Hollywood blockbuster subsumes moral consider ations into its fabric even as it commodifies historical tragedy: "In fact, the lowest common denominator feature of the blockbuster becomes evidence in this instance of the film's universal quality, a modal backflip that harmonizes the capitalistic ethic of profit maximization with the emergence of the
60 wonders newly excavated by the French could be claimed as part of Caucasian rather than black African history. This revised version of the Hamitic hypothesis asserted that S the Hamitic hypothesis to rationalize their privileging of the supposedly more European Hamitic Tutsis over the sub Saharan Canaanite Hutus. Originally a product of co lonial discourse, the Hamitic hypothesis became central to Hutu Power ideology as a counterdiscourse: the Hutu were now glorified as autochthonous, the Tutsi denigrated as alien. Along with radio broadcasts, Hotel Rwanda also uses brief exchanges between characters to introduce a modicum of historical context. T he Belgian race science that made the Hamitic hypothesis empirical in Rwanda is touched on in a discussion between Jack Daglish (Joaquin Phoenix), an American news photographer, and Benedict (Moth (Don Cheadle), hotel manager of the De Mille Collines. As they sit at the hotel bar, Jack the colonizers measured the noses and other features of the Rwandans to determine who would be classed as Hutu and who would be classed as Tutsi. Benedict also explains that when th e colonists left they gave power to the Hutu, who sought revenge versi on of Rwandan history mirrors the official narrative put forth by the RPF: the Tutsi
61 Hutu dichotomy, while galvanized by Belgian race scienc e, was not created out of whole cloth by the colonizers. Contrary to revisionist histories that paint precolonial R wanda as an ethnic Eden with no distinction between Hutu and Tutsi, such distinctions did exist before colonization. Colonial race science does, however, radicalize these distinctions, with the Belgian conducted census of 1933 eradicating the fluidity tha t had once existed between Hutu and Tutsi. Before the census it had been possible for a Hutu to rise to Tutsi status ( kwi i hutura ) and for a Tutsi to fall to Hutu status ( gucupira ), primarily through the acquisition or loss of wealth ( Adhikari 286 ). Throu gh economic this mutability of status with a purely static, racialized vision of Rwanda n society, making possible the ID cards used to distinguish Hutu from Tutsi during the genocide. Hutu and Tutsi identities constitutes ethnic am characterizing Kaga amnesia, and denials of historical evidence operate to mask unpalatable truths and 106, ties RPF contributions to the creation of the genocide (106), primarily in the form of the RPF invasions of the early 19 90s that culminated in the Rwandan Civil War (1990 1993 ) Each incursion increased suspicion of internal Tutsis as a fifth column allied with the external, Ugandan based Tutsis comprising the RPF (116). suppression of ethnic identities has worsened rather than alleviated Rwandan
62 ethnopolitics, crea reconciliation, because it rules out the process of reckoning by which each community must confront its past a nd come to terms with its share of responsibility for the horrors reconciliation but rather the political agenda of the RPF, a state of affairs that short circuits Rwanda articulation of Rwandan ethnohistory supports this enforced ethnic amnesia by making Hutu Tutsi strife only a product of Belgian colonization. While Belgian race science certainly did radicali ze the Hutu Tutsi dichotomy, laying the groundwork for genocide, the Tutsi monarchy in Rwanda had often subjugated its Hutu subjects well before national narrative. The Excep tional African Perhaps it is no small coincidence that Hotel Rwanda has not only been nicknamed the African 9 but also falls into many of the same ethical briar patches. In addition to the aforementioned characteristics shared with Schin List, Hotel Rwanda also utilizes a narrow narrative focus on a lone, heroic savior figure, Paul Rusesabagina. Lieutenant General Romo Dallaire, Force Commander of the UN peace keeping mission to Rwanda during the genocide, has suggested that Hotel Rwanda 9 See Burr.
63 eight UN observers who protected people in the hotel. They did a lot of the saving. T he Hotel Rwanda may take dramatic license n I wish to take noth ing away from Rusesabagina himself whose real life efforts in Kigali whether exaggerated or not, at the very least aided in the protection of 1,268 lives (Adhikari 279). I do wish, however, to highlight why Rusesabagina is successful in a discursive sen se, how his story is compatible with preconceived notions Western viewers are likely to have about Africa. Once aga in, George comments, the audience, because he led this European style, middle class life in Kigali, and his career, his training, all taught him to accommodate Europeans and the UN intervention, a nd clearly dismissive about the militia. Then, as the back on his resources, basically taking the talents of his job and suddenly putting them to this monumental use. (qtd. in Mo tskin 75) et ic, relatable protagonist is understandable, perhaps even indispensable. Rusesabagina becomes middle to upper class Rwandan businessmen stand apart from a population otherwis e enamored with Hutu Power broadcasts The film thoroughly establishes style, middle Westernized voice of reason capable o f interpreting African complexities for an American audience. Hotel Rwanda Shortly before the plane crash, Hutu
64 Power Radio broadcasts a message for the president: plane has been shot down by a missile attack, Hutu Power Radio attributes the attack to the RPF. When Rusesabagina returns home to find a dozen neighbors hiding in the dark in his home, they reiterate what they have heard on the Testifying to the controversial nature of this assertion, the living Paul Ruses greatly from that of his fictionalized counterpart in Hotel Rwanda. Rusesabagina has October 1990 to Present: which he asserts the likelihood of the RPF 5), as such violence would authorize an RPF conquest of Rwanda. Though it is still unclear the f ictionalized unequivocally corresponds with the RPF : Hutu extremists killed Habyarimana for negotiating peace agreements w ith their enemies, the Tutsi rebels Much of credibility aris es from his acclimation to European modernity, which Hotel Rwanda portrays th r business etiquette. Rusesabagina demonstrates t his Western business world literacy in a n early conversation with his assistant Dube. When pote ntial business partner s meet Rusesabagina explains, a Cohiba cigar is worth more as a gift than a cash gift of the Each one is worth 10,000 francs but it is worth more to me than 10,000 francs. If I give a busi nessman 10,000 francs, what does that
65 matter to him? He is rich. But if I give him a Cohiba cigar, straight from Havana, hey, In a later meeting with George Rutagunda, also a businessman, tribalistic ethnopolitic business ethic [the Hutu] Rusesabagina tries to politely end the conversation and make his way back to the hotel van, a warehouse worker operating a forklift drops a crate. When the crate breaks, its co ntents hundreds of machetes scatter across the floor. Rutagunda, sinisterly Once back in his van, Rusesabagina remarks to Dube that Rutagunda and his followers Rusesabagina, mixes business with ethnic politics. Rusesa deracialized business paradigm resonates with audiences accustomed to the American discourse of colorblindness Through his role as audience surrogate, Rusesabagina c omes to occupy a Marlowesque position, a positioning tha t seems intentional given to Heart of Darkness in discussions about the film. Describing a sequence Heart of Darkness Kurtz, thereby equating Rusesabagina with Marlow. In this sequence, Rutagund a explains his genocidal intentions to Rusesabagina George explains, Rusesabagina meeting Rutagunda] and put it in the center of the film because I needed that, the Heart of Darkness
66 on. And also hears the militia man, Rutagunda, articulating the definition of genocide: Heart of Darkness links Rutagunda to corrupted by the madness of the Congo. Ruta xterminate all the brutes (Conrad 51) thereby casts him as someone (this time an African) also ove r taken by the savagery sociopolitical context subsequently makes Rutagunda exemplary of an African backwards slide into atavism, a failure to assimilate to the Western modernity demonstrated in the words and actions of the sophisticated, businessman Rusesabagina. Positioned by the film as a Marlowesque audience surrogate a Westernized observer capable of interpreting some details yet also in disbelief at the African darkness unfolding around him Rusesabagina must go through a process of revelation, wherein he comes to accept impending disaster and formulate a response plan. This emphasis on Rusesabagina however, allows the broader context of the conflict to remain as opaque and mysterious as the strange sig hts and sounds that perplexed Marlow as he journeyed up the s stronghold. Indicting the West Even as it exceptionalizes Rusesabagina, Hotel Rwanda critiques its Western characters, particularly Jack Daglish and Colone l Oliver (Nick Nolte) After his conversation with Benedict, for instance, Daglish turns to two Rwandan women sitting at the bar. He asks the first woman if she is Hutu or Tutsi, then asks her friend the same question. When they answer that one is Tutsi and the other Hutu, Daglish proclaims,
67 Daglish whispers his room number to the closest woman, in case she wou l d like to finish their conversation in private. Daglis h comes off as a vapid and opportunistic thrill seeker in this scene, as well as later in the film, when h e returns, sweaty and eager from shooting massacre footage outside the sanctuary of the hotel. Rushing into the room where David has set up a produc tion suite, Daglish hurriedly hands the videocassette of the violent footage to David and tells him to play it, unaware that Rusesabagina is seated at a desk on the other side of the room. Daglish is ashamed to have shown the footage in front of Rusesabag ina and apologizes to him in a later scene. Through his apology, Daglish is allowed some reflexivity that complicates his character and introduces a brief inquiry into the politics of representing mass violence. Hotel Rwanda depicts Colonel Oliver in a similarly ambivalent light. Sitting at the hotel bar alone with Rusesabagina, Oliver snaps from the pressure that has been mounting on his failing UN peacekeeping mission. Rusesabagina thanks Oliver for his help, and Oliver replies: my face irt. Paul. The West, all the superpowers, everything you believe in Paul. You could re not gonna stay Paul. As Madelaine Hron argues, this scene caricatures Oliver, a move that further ennobles hero, the role of t he UN is distorted and vilified, and comes to represent the ineffectual West, symbolized by white troops, as headed by Col. Oliver (supposedly r epresentative of General representation of Olive r distorts the actions of Dallaire as well as the makeup of the
68 consisted of Ghaneans, Tunesians and Bangladeshi forces, so very few Whites [were present]. More i mportantly, General Dallaire was instrumental in rescuing the hotel 15). UN observers statement elucidates a very deliberate element of Hotel Rwanda genocide script: Rwanda is part of t Hotel Rwanda s univalent depiction of the UN distorts the historical material. This distortion further ennobles not only Rusesabagina but also the RPF, whose genocide credit is bolstered by continual denigration of the UN. While it may seem at first glance contradicto ry for Rusesabagina to be made exceptional by his so called Westernization just as the West itself is denigrated, the two gestures are in fact compatible with the Euro American vision of modernity informing the film Rusesabagina is heralded for his Wester n values while the West is chastised for its failure to act on its own values by intervening in Rwanda. Aside from a few passing Hotel Rwanda elides mention of Western complicity in t he creation of the economic and political factors precipitating the genocide. The crisis is therefore rendered as an African created problem in need of messianic assistance from the world police. Ironically, despite its
69 desire to criticize Western incomp etence, the film participates in a pervasive mythology about the Rwanda genocide namely, that its constitutive events can be localized in 1994 and it is precisely such a focus on 1994 that allows continued Western complicity along with RPF improprieties, to go largely unquestioned. Introducing the Rwandan Patriotic Front Beyond Rusesabagina, Hotel Rwanda also depicts the RPF as a heroic force working to save lives during the genocide. As discu ssed above, Hotel Rwanda omission of ongoing Congolese exploitation by multinational corporations and foreign genocide human rights abuses. genocide activities als o facilitates this conclusion, the RPF arrive as a messianic force saving a UN convoy from assured destruction at the hands of encroaching Interahamwe militiamen. In this scene, the RPF overwhelm the Inter a hamwe in eventual containing of the genocide. erly appearance of the RPF soldiers, whose cleaner and more sophisticated uniforms contrast those of the Hutu soldiers and harlequinesque Interahamwe militiamen. a war plan during the genocide that gave greater priority to military victory This depiction of the rebels, then, reb el invasion. When the RPF arrive to save the escaping UN convoy, they arrive as an
70 entity with no history, obscuring the fact that Tutsi as well as Hutu aggression played a part in sowing the seeds of genocide. ng faltering coffee prices, a constraining Structural Adjustment Program, rising tensions between northern and by the general Rwandan population supported counterrevolutionaries ese events fueled Hutu Power ideology inside Rwanda, and the invasion of 1990 was followed by invasions in 1991 and 1992 as well as failed peace talks in 1992 and 1993. The RPF responded to these peace negotiations with non cooperation and the breach of a cease fire agreement in early Peace negotiations in late 1993 and early 1994, after the genocide had begun, were ead to force intervening to quell a genocide in which it had no hand in fomenting, as Hotel Rwanda suggests, the RPF and its operations in Rwanda em body an attempt to rest ore the Tutsi political hegemony of pre independence Rwanda, even at the expense of civilian Tutsi casualties restorative political project conceived by the progeny of Ugandan based Tutsi exiles, a diasporic population perceiving itself as estranged from its ancestral Rwandan origins.
71 Many of the Tutsis exiled by the Hutu Revolution of 1959 and the subsequent anti Tutsi violence of the 1960s and 1970s settled in neighboring Uganda, w here they developed political and military networks from within the Ugandan army, networks that developed over time to form the RPF. In Uganda, Tutsi refugees faced alternating periods of persecution and privilege. Some of these Tutsi exiles found themsel ves first in the military service of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin throughout much of the 1970s and then in to mid 1980s cessor, governmental, and business positions (65 66). The rise of Museveni also enabled the return to Uganda of the Rwanda Alliance for National Unity (RANU), a Tutsi refugee or newly militarized RANU formulated plans for an armed return to Rwanda and christened its shift in outlook with a name change to the Rwandan Patriotic Front (Prunier, That project, restoring an idealized Rwandan homeland to its former Tutsi dominated glory, seems to have assumed primacy over the wellbeing of the Tutsi population internal to Rwanda. Hotel Rwanda ally excises these complexities from its record of the genocide, prompting the question, w hy does such dramatic variance from on the ground Rwandan political realities characterize a film intended to inform audiences about an African humanitarian crisis? In short, some stories are easier to tell than others. Hotel Rwanda the Rwandan genocide harmonizes with a larger discursive field characterized by
72 Western guilt over 1994 coupled with continued evasion of the crisis in the Congo. Admission of UN, US, and European failure in 1994 thereby allows for penance over atrocities of the African pa st to overshadow concern for atrocities of the African present. Effective concern for human rights in Africa must include a broader u nderstanding of the regional and international mechanisms of licit and illicit commerce that impact Africans across the continent. Some corpses, however, are easier to memorialize than others. Hotel Rwanda redemptive narrative closure like the officia l Rwandan commemorations memorializes the corpses of 1994, thereby presenting an image of contemporary Rwanda that does not trouble the ideological and material desires underwriting the First World imperative of supporting the RPF. This failure to transce nd the trappings of narrow periodization causes a self focus on 1994 overshadows ongoing human rights abuses in Rwanda and the DRC. A broadly periodized narration of Rwanda would allow unsavory facts to rise to the surface, facts that have faced both deliberate and unconscious suppression. The image of a peaceful post genocide Rwanda ruled by benevolent victims turned saviors now allied with the US serves the desire for Western atonement as well as conti nued and invisible exploitati on of the Congo ( from which multinational electronics and technologies companies benefit and with which subsequently, countries ha ve no incentive to get involved), whereas the more accurate image of a post genocide Rwanda plagued by reprisal massacres, failed national reconciliation, prisons overpopulated with the spuriously accused, and a militarized government
73 leading imperialistic operations in the DRC clashes with the ideological and material interests o f a world addicted to coltan.
74 CHAPTER 3 ANDA IN MURAMBI: THE BOOK OF BONES AND THE SHADOW OF IMANA: TRAVELS IN THE HEART OF RWANDA In 1998, ten African writers brought together by Nocky Djedanoum organizer of th e annual African visited Rwan da to witness the fallout of the 1994 genocide. Rwanda: crire par devoir de mmoire contribut ors to meditate on the continental and, in turn, global significance of the genocide. in Sma ll 86). And while the notion that a literary initiative can provide a platform for shared mourning with the victims and survivors of genocide has faced many significant criticisms, 1 Djedanoum has persistently and staunchly defended the project as an Afric Djedanoum sa the genocid Through their attention to global dynamics, namely the failures and complicities of the 1 A s Audrey Small notes, it may be difficult for literature to create solidarity with Rwandans when language barriers and widespread illiteracy and poverty prohibit the a verage Rwandan from reading or even acquiring the fictional as well as nonfictional works compris 88). The cynical gesture to provide r
75 UN, the US, and France, the project contributors also highlight the transcontinental significan ce of the Rwandan genocide, enacting what Nicki Hitchcott describes as a ( historical perspective on the genocide does it articul ate? When these writers assume this duty to remember, which aspects of the genocide should they remember? Do they remember for the dead or for the living? F or Tutsis alone or also for Hutus ? Do they remember for Rwandans, for Africans, or for the entir e world? In the words of Amy S. and therefore divisive M emorialization, as both a potential cause and effect of politically instrumentalist historical narratives, be ars a reciprocal relationship with the politicization of the past. Perhaps in response to these very difficulties, the literary device of polyphony most notably in Bor Murambi, le livre des ossements (as Murambi: The Book of Bones blurring travel essay (as The Shadow of Imana: Travels in the Heart of Rwanda ). Diop, in particular, has received significant praise for his polyphonic use of multiple narrators, including Tutsis and Hutus, nationals and exiles, and survivors and perpetrators as well as a French soldier. Marczewski describes Murambi as s multiple voices and dialogue while also including he effect of these multiple narrators is to encourage the reader to view the genocide
76 from a variety of different a ngles and to resist a reductive interpretation of t 54). Polyphony thereby allows Diop to confront the reductive perspectives offered by colonial discourse, Eurocentrism, and Hutu extremism: This decision to present the genocide from a wide range of points of view implicitly challenges the self interested, monolithic narratives of Belgian colonialism, Hutu Power, RTLM (Radio Tl vision Libre des Mille Collines) and the Western media, all of which helped to essential ise Rwanda in the global imagination, and directly or indirectly contributed to the success of the genocide. 57) While it is significant that Murambi polyphonically challenges such reductive interpretations of the genocide, the m onolithic narratives listed here do not account for French imperialism, Hutu extremism, and the Euro American media have all participated in essentializing Rwanda at var ious times for various ends, but so too has the Rwandan Patriotic Front ( RPF ) by officially sanctioning an instrumentalist, Tutsi centric genocide narrative that has had severe repercussions at home in Rwanda and abroad in the Congo. Failure to recognize aftermath allows a new silence on the genocide to replace the general African silence alised Murambi as well as Murambi itself. While there is and should not be a mandate requiring an aesthetic text to work in a historically comprehensive manner, it is reve aling to evaluate how creative works shape history and consider what broader discourses in which those narratives might participate. T Murambi arrative
77 that emphasizes the effects of French imperialism in Rwanda a focus consonant with la francophonie (Qader 16) In turn, b y excising the infidelities of the RPF from its narration of the genocide while emphasizing French complicity, Murambi for quite legitimate reasons, essentialize s Rwanda as an exemplar of disaster in the African Francophonie of French imperialism gone hellishly wrong l Perrin, a idal regime and its harboring of genocide perpetrators after the fact via Operation Turquoise. 2 In its Murambi does demonstrate potential for articulating and imagining that which is abse nt or suppressed in But this potential is only partially realized, as Murambi fails to reveal that which is actively suppressed in the ongoing human rig hts abuses, a slide toward one party rule, military operations in the Congo focus on French failures of Europe and North America, a rhetorical strategy meant t s aggressive military activity within the Great Lakes region the memory of the genocide as a shield against any criticism of his politics. By reminding the United Nations or countries like France, B elgium, and the 2 Turquoise has been criticized for granting refuge to Hutu perpetrators of genocide and facilitating their 86).
78 United States how they looked the other way in 1994, the official m emorialization of the genocide functions as a powerful rebuttal to any i (Daug e Roth 91). On the surface, Murambi may seem to essential to identity formation in post polyphony still prone to politicization, does not offer a certain solution to the pitfalls of memorialization. Murambi remain s silent about related and ongoing atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo ( DRC ) and effectively freeze s the effects of the genocide s. M uch like the prevailing disco urse embodied by the Murambi thereby conceal s ongoing Central African atrocities even as it seek s to commemorate the Rwandan atrocities of 1994. to situate the Rwanda n genocide within a transnational, transhistorical and transcultural framework o how such global memorialization is conceptualized and achieved. The Shadow of Imana for instance, provides a drastically different articulation of the Rwandan genocide than that of Murambi by utilizing a broader spatial and temporal cons truction of the crisis, a often stand with limited or no mediation), and a bifurcated narrative structure (organized around that resi sts definitive closure. These structural characteristics demonstrate a departure from the Diopian political desire to
79 complicity thus allowing for engagement with the strugg le for national reconciliation in post genocide Rwanda In actuality, Diop and Tadjo utilize quite different forms of polyphony in their respective works, one that carries the germ of politicization and another that actively resists it, one that rehearses what Achille Mbembe describes as For instance, in focusing the light of criticism securely on French imperialism in Murambi Diop allo ws the participation of the RPF in the istory to remain in the shadows. Such a privileging of [African] victimhood over [African] subjecthood is derived, from a distinctively nativist understanding of hi story one of history a According to this point of view, the history of Africa can be reduced to a series of subjugations, narrativized in a seamless 24 4). This perspective on African history can have the dangerous effect of inoculating Africans against criticism of their own exploitation of other Africans, as demonstrated by the specific case of Rwandan imperialism in the Congo. Tadjo resists this trap by focusing on the multiplicity of actors, European and African, who have contributed means to achieving true reconciliation in Rwanda and ameliorating the cyclical, regional violence within which the history of the Rwandan genocide is ensconced. Polyphony or Ventriloquism? Murambi is a story Uvimana th e son of Dr. Karekezi traveling to post genocide Rwanda marks a return from exile. a for th e reader, through whom one could begin to grasp the complexity of the
80 94). Cornelius returns to Rwanda to learn about the genocide and attempt to understand it. The genocide thereby becomes an existential cipher for Cornelius, a key to had experienced abroad, away from Rwanda, would only find its true meaning in what had happened four years earlier. In a certain way his 36). In his return from exile, however, Cornelius resembles the countless tourists who travel to former RPF a gents, pick him up from the airport, the taxi driver ascribes tourist status to Cornelius by asking him to write down the name of his country. Puzzled by the taxi and Jessica. Stanley explains that genocide tourism has become a cottage industry in contemporary Rwanda; the taxi driver has mistaken Cornelius for just another foreign manifests in his desire to write an ill conceived play about a French general who mourns the death of his intelligence human
81 resembles that of the nave tourist, the foreigner that comes to Rwanda to gawk at the spe But the revelation that his father, Dr. Karekezi, masterminded the massacre at Rwanda. Cornelius plans to visit the memorial at Murambi and meet with his uncle, genocide survivor Simon Habineza, to learn more about the genocide. A s Jessica reveals, Cornelius has a more intimate relationship with the genocide than he had father organized the massacre of several thousand people there. The carnage at the Murambi Polytechnic, that was his doing. You should also know that he had your mother, Nathalie Kayumba, your sis ter Julienne, and your brother Franois, and all his in 77). Upon learning that his own father plotted the murder of rather than an exile return ing only to search for meaning in a genocide that victimized his family, C o rnelius also finds himself filially connected to the perpetration of that genocide : have the same mea ning. From now on, the only story he had to tell was his own. The story of his family. He had suddenly discovered that he had become the perfect The realization that he is not just the son of a genocide victim b ut also the son of a genocide perpetrator causes Cornelius to rethink ashamed of having and his tirelessly recount the horror because he [now] s[ees] in the genocide of Rwandan Tutsis a
82 great lesson in simplicity. Every chronicler could at least learn something essential to his art to call a monster by its name ( 179). n overcoming s story ends up resembling that of Diop, and the crire (Marczewski 173). Cornelius, now burdened with the responsibility of telling the story of Rw anda to the world, embodies the very responsibility to remember and recount that burdens Diop and the other Duty to Remember writers. mical narrative that reduces Rwanda to a metonym for the African Francophonie. Despite its polyphonic narrative strategy, Murambi history that ignores the complicity of the RP both nationally in Rwanda and regionally in the DRC, while emphasizing French (Marczewski 189 90), the historical perspective delivered through this multiplicity of Despite Murambi esents the same historical articulation of the Rwandan genocide time and time again, an articulation that begins with the 1959 characters, privilege an RPF friendly his torical narrative, Cornelius, the caretaker at the Nyamata church (74), and the father of Faustin Gasana, an Interhamwe militiaman (17), with the onset of the
83 Hutu Revolution ( 1959 1962) in which Gregoire Kayibanda and his Hutu partisans with Belgian assistance, broke the hold of Tutsi political dominance (Lemarchand 114) sses exasperation over the misconceptions non begin on the sixth of April 1994, but in 1959 through little massacres that no one paid anley refers to were part of the violence and social upheaval that constituted the Hutu Revolution, a political and ideologi cal movement that did deepen the soc ial and ethnic rifts that influenced waves of anti Tutsi violence throughout the remainder of th e twentieth century But Stanley neglects the fact that the Hutu Revolution began as a response to Hutu disenfranchisement at the hands of the Belgian sponsored Tutsi elite, an omissio n that expunges Tutsi transgressions from Rwandan history. narration, the events of 1959 serve not only as the starting point of another in his life, has to answer the same question: Should we just sit back and wait for (30). For Jessica, social normality is consonant with the Tutsi domination of colonial and precolon romanticized view of the past. Her historical perspective suggests that political violence Revo
84 pre som for instance, the Hutu Revolution ushers in an epoch of social aberration, one that mars the normat ive social milieu that characterized the Rwanda of bygone days. Subsequently, the RPF than the individuals who participate as well as the country itself, a position t hat seems to derive from a Tutsi centric historical perspective that does not even recognize that Tutsi dominance ever existed. girlfriend in Djibouti, and, much like Stanley, expe other since time immemorial. I tried to explain it to her patiently. I told her that it social inequities that foregrounded th history, providing an RPF friendly genocide script that ignores Tutsi complicity in delves deeper into Rwandan history, answers there. The documents prove that the Hutu and the Twa were oppressed long
85 ago by the Tutsi. I am Hutu but I do no t want to live with that legacy. I refuse to ask of the historical record could have made possible a more complex understanding of the genocide than that of the 1959/19 94 narrative, but Cornelius quickly forecloses this irrelevant past. Cornelius fails to see that he has already asked the past to give meaning to the present by envis ioni ng 1959 as the prefigurement of 1994, a pattern of selective historical memory that supports a Tutsi nationalist vision of Rwandan history. T his historical perspective corresponds to a n RPF friendly spati al understanding of the genocide that Inter a hamwe and Hutu Army forces fled to escape the encroaching RPF toward the end of the genocide Cornelius conveys this narrow geographic vision when he compares the genocide to other contemporary conf licts throughout the world while omitting the appalling things all at the same time. The Balkans. Algeria. Afghanistan. And did you know that in Sierra Leone they ju comparisons can help demonstrate that African crises are not the result of some intrinsically African defect but rather bear similarities with other sociopolitical conflicts around the world (although Cornelius awards Sierra Leone the most grisly status), this list of comparative atrocities curiously omits the DRC, suggesting a conceptual disconnect between related regional conflicts in Rwanda and the Congo, namely the Rwandan genocide and the Congo Wars, confli cts that involve many of the same key actors. Murambi in fact, has nothing to say about the Congo, save for a few references
86 to Zaire as a refugee destination, and subsequently presents a geographic understanding of the genocide that ends at the Rwandan side of the Rwanda Congo border. Murambi therefore commemorates the Rwandan genocide in a manner that histori cally and spatially freezes the conflict in 1994 Rwanda, thereby concealing the post genocide activities of e xpelled Hutu fo rces and the RPF I er of the Congolese government within the DRC. In this regard, Murambi replaces the African silence on the genocide, the silence Djedanoum hoped to break, with a silence on RPF abuses throug hout the region. The latter silence has had a devastating effect t he nearly one million corpses attributed to the Rwandan genocide have si nce been eclipsed at least four fold by violence in the DRC (Lemarchand 5) a great deal of which has been fomented b y the Rwandan Congo Wars and the Congolese conflict minerals trade. In Murambi focus on French complicity in the Rwandan genocide. In keeping with the nove allegiance with President Habyarimana and the extremist interim government that filled the vacuum left by his assassination. While France has much to answer for regarding role in Rwanda n strife. If literary polyphony allows for the minimally mediated critique of the African Francophonie amounts to a false or ventriloquial polyphony, wherein many of the narrators that populate Murambi voice strikingly simi lar sentiments
87 despite their divergent subject positions. From the mouths of genocidaires, RPF agents, French soldiers, and Hutu radio announcers springs forth an insistent ca vested interest in keeping the RPF out of Kigali (28), her statement is both historically accurate and appropriate in a literary sense to her role as an RPF agent. But we learn much the same thing from Dr. Karekezi, who, despite speaking from the opposite end of the political spectrum, has more to say about the French than he does his arch enemies in the RPF (105) tradictory narrative deploys a remarkably harmonious historical perspective that reconciles the conflicting sentiments of these multiple narrators. Beyond Jessica an apotheosi s in the words of French military officer Colonel Perrin Through Perrin, the rea der learns that the genocide has sparked a debate in the French government over whether or not the Frenc h military should intervene and engage the RPF rebels in going at it with the RPF resistance fighters in the streets of Kigali, to sort this business Colonel Perrin connects this paternalistic relationship between France and Hutu controlled Rwanda to a near pathological desire among some French officials to maintain control of la francophonie at all costs: th a one noticed that the least resilient of them ended up becoming racists. Knowing of Africa only their distant and docile creatures, chosen preci sely for their
88 mediocrity, they get to be convinced, even if they can never say it out loud, them. (123 ) Here, Perrin offers a n insightful critique of French imperialism in Africa, one that elucidates both the relationship that exists between the French government and their despotic African protgs and the racism that informs this kind of neocolonialism, as such fundamental and opportunistic tampering with African governance operates under political engineering. This depiction of mination to support their Hutu allies to the bitter end corresponds with the actual sentiments of French President Franois Mitterrand at the time of the genocide. Mitterrand saw mission to invade Rwanda and topple the Habyarimana government sim ply as part of an Anglophone crusade to conquer Francophone Rwanda in order to diminish French influence in Africa (Melvern 257 60). 3 and vehemently criticizes Mitterrand in his preface to genocide survivor Yolande Les Blessures du silence (2001) a preface that the Frenc h publisher [Actes Sud] refused to include because it aligns the former French pr esident with the g 56). confront French imperialism, in general, and Mitterrand, in particular, revea ls the lucidity 3 and UK supported Angl ophone RPF making English an official Rwandan language in 1996 (Crystal 4).
89 anti French sentiments as own anti French political ncophonie critique to the mouth of Colonel Perrin has a peculiar effect, one that inoculates the RPF against criticism: just as Perrin moves from the general case of French Africa to the specific case of Rwanda th ey get to be convinced that Africa whole world ), the RPF becomes an unassailable entity, as only the French imperialists that Perrin castigates would dare denounc e the RPF African Francophonie is well founded, his insistence on iterating French offenses at the expense of ignoring RPF offenses grants Murambi a morally reductive political climate, in which the Hutu and the French sh are responsibility for Rwandan political strife while the RPF stand as eternally innocent savior figures If, as Hitchcott suggests, Murambi numerous riticisms of the French government reveal the extent t o which the genocide extended beyond the Rwandan nation state they only reveal the transnational reach of the genocide in one direction toward France. The Shadow of Imana a very diffe rent historical and geographical perspective on the Rwandan genocide emerges, one that foregoes a polemical insistence on emphasizing French complicity and resists the lure of synthesizing the multiplicity of voices present in the text into a singular and harmonious historical narration. Like Murambi, The Shadow of Imana is framed as a nar rative of travel and discovery,
90 e Cornelius and his the reader in a more universal register by focusing on issues of human subjectivity, namely the fear of the other as an engine for mass violence. At the beginning of her journey Tadjo positions herself as an outsider burdened with the desire to understand was starting from a particular premise: what had happene d there concerned us all. It was not just one nation lost in the dark heart of Africa that was affected. I could no longer keep Rwanda buried inside me. I needed to lance the abscess, lay bare the wandan genocide testifies not to a specifically African mode of savagery but to an all too human capacity for large scale violence. Acknowledging this capacity haunts Tadjo, as demonstrated in her use of nightmare and exorcism tropes, and forms the underl ying motive for her search for understanding in Rwanda. Rather than focusing o n external forces (Belgian colonialism French imperialism) as catalyst s for the genocide, Tadjo directs her attention toward the internal social conditions that sparked the gen ocide and consider s the potentiality of a similar crisis occurring faces look familiar to me. Everything is so similar to my own home that it breaks my Tadjo also considers the circumstances in which participants were had been caught up in the spiraling violence of the massacre? Would I have killed or would I have is inside me, in you, in By employing this existential register, Tadjo tries to envision the
91 circumstances that can turn neighbor against neighbor in a manner that does not resort to universal signifiers of evil, madness, or inhumanity. In doing so, she approximates that while traumatized by their experience the historian should attempt to understand and explain such behavior and experience as far as possible even recognize the unsettling possibility of such behavior and exp erience in him or herself Writing 41). Contra Diop, who has Cornelius progress from naivet to epiphany, Tadjo maintains the position of traveler and suspends the possibility of revela tion. By positioning herself as a tourist/traveler, Tadjo comes to construct a spatial and temporal understanding of the Rwandan genocide that invokes its regional, Central African describes a newspaper story she reads while on the plane about tourists in Uganda who were murdered by Hutu extremists exiled by the ascendance of the RPF in Rwanda: The tourists murdered in Uganda are still making headline news. E ight foreigners, including an American couple, have been murdered in the Ugandan jungle by, according to informed sources, Hutu rebels. Despite the steep terrain and the insects, the tourists had come in hope of seeing some gorillas. The journalist wants to know who is to blame, starting with the travel agency and going right on up to the government and political authorities in Uganda. In my case though, no one could claim that I have not been duly warned. (7) The European and American ecotourists T adjo describes had traveled to southwestern Uganda to see the renowned mountain gorillas of Central Africa, a species also indigenous to northwestern Rwanda and the eastern DRC. Popularized by the work of Dian Fossey, the primatologist whose field work in Rwanda inspired the film Gorillas in the Mist (1988), these mountain gorillas had served as the principle attraction for
92 Central African tourism, especially in Rwanda and the Congo. But unlike these tourists, as Hitchcott notes, Tadjo enacts a reversal o f the colonial trope of exploration and disco very by as an African woman traveler rather than a white searching for humanity rather than savagery in her Rwandan travel narrative: ern touristic reading of Rwanda as an exotic, dangerous, uncivilised place, in which mountain gorillas are more important than a million dead citizens. Following in the footsteps of Stanley and Livingstone, s he is part of an an unfamiliar and possibly dangerous place, but rather than s Tadjo endeavours to find the humanity behind the genocide. B y showing a keener interest in the human inhabitants of Central Africa, ion differs substantially from that of the murdered tourists. However, Tadjo still ascribes herself touristic status claiming she is aware of and subject to the same dangers these tourists faced in their journey to the Great Lakes region. Through her id entification with the murdered tourists, Tadjo disavows any privileged status that may derive from her occupation as an African writer; her subject position does not grant her any automatic insights or immediate knowledge of the genocide. Tadjo therefore strives to suspend her own preconceptions and political perspective as she embarks on her journey in order to learn from what Rwanda presents her rather than imprint her own politicized narrative of African history onto Rwanda. This attempted suspension allows for a more future oriented depiction of post genocide Rwanda, one that fully engages the difficulties of national reconciliation and the unrest that continues to vex Rwanda and its neighbors in the region. Differing drasti timeline in Murambi Tadjo notes the ongoing and multilateral nature of Hutu Tutsi strife in post
93 incursions on the p art of the Hutu rebels. Attacks on and counter attacks by the are filled with hatred once more? We have to dismantle the cycle of violence. We must continue to cond This foreboding image of cyclical against displaying the corpses of genocide victims: dead accordin g to our rites, bury their desiccated bodies, their bones growing old in the open air, so that we keep of them nothing but their memory, heightened by respect (44). a gainst the traditional burial rites and the victims themselves. Such displays are also complicit in perpetuating violence and hatred: for vengeance and the perpetual cycle of violence and reprisals. The dead are no t at Through the voice of the diviner, The Shadow of Imana illustrates precisely what gets lost in the 1959/1994 script that informs Murambi the cyclical nature of Centr al Afric an political violence, a primary obstacle to national reconciliation in Rwanda. I however, Tadjo demonstrates the difficulties that accompany the project of dismantling cyclical violence. From the unnamed lawy er from Kigali, Tadjo learns that the Rwandan judicial system has devised ur categories of responsibility to facilitate the arduous process of prosecuting those accused of participating in the genocide. The sheer number of the accused hundred and thirty thousand prisoners! Even the United States does not have so and the significant differences in magnitude that characterize each alleged
94 crime necessitate the use of these categories. Category one for instance, includes positions of authority, that is to say those who ordered or encouraged the massacr es by manipulating the people, while c ategory two encompasses In c ategory three we find ll but who wounded or mutilated, and in category four, Such categorization attempts to make prosecutable an unwieldy number of prisoners, but delineating the sev ere crimes from the minimal, the volitional from the compulsory, only accounts for the first step in the legal process. The question of just punishment still remains. When it comes to punishing the categories of highest responsibility, t he lawyer from K but stadium calls the merit of the death penalty into question fire and continued to fire for four or five minutes. The crowd applauded but the atmosphere was grim. In various districts, on the same day, seventeen other Tadjo suspends direct judgment of the use of public executions, but her tone conveys a sense of futility and dist rust toward the death penalty as a tool of justice. Her skepticism is amplified by her recurrent inclusion of stories of spurious genocide accusations and their decimating effects on the lives of the accused. Jailed for accusations of genocide participat Baptiste, a former headmaster, now suffers in addition to the loss of his daughter to the genocide from stigmatization, unemployment, and the impoverishment of his family (21). Similar ac cusations and st igmatization le d Romain who preferred
95 death to the humiliation of unemployment to commit suicide (55). Consolate conveys a similar story about her mother, who, imprisoned on a spurious accusation of genocide complicity, awaits a trial that may never com e (27). genocide Rwanda even more forcefully while simultaneously calling her own ability to comprehend and coherently narrate the genocide into question. Tadjo immediately frames the duty to remember, beginning with a retelling of the story of the murdered ecotourists. Once again, Tadjo reads a newspaper story about the murders during her flight to Rwanda. While both stories attribute the killings to Hutu rebels, the first story fourteen, all English nd Britain (83). After describing this second version of the story, Tadjo introduces a third perspective on the murdered tourists from a fellow traveler, a member of the Dian Fossey Foundation : I ask my traveling companion if she is not frightened. She gives me another version of events. The tourists were not supposed to die. No one really wanted to harm them. It was just that the scales of chance were tipped by an unfortunate circumstance. They found themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time. As far as the authorities are concerned everything is back to normal. The chain of volcanoes is peaceful once more. (83) one can possess complete factual knowledge of an event; a multiplicity of vantage points and interpretations always accompanies the narration of even the most discrete
96 three versions of the tourist story demonstrate that the narration of history is not only subject to the influence of politics and ideology but also access to reliable data, as the first published story seems to suffer from a lack of reliable demographic information vocational obligation to the Dian Fos sey Foundation. Comprised of testi monies from genocidaires (84, 100, 102) and survivors (88, 105, 108, 115), stories of children military tribunal wrought with bureaucratic ineptitude (93), an account o f a pastor who, forced by the Inter a hamwe to kill a child during the genocide, has turned himself in and seeks the death penalty (96), a bleak depiction of the overcrowded Rilissa prison (96 ommandments of the 13), and a foreboding description of an RPF counter massacre of Hutu Wh ile visiting S ection for Those Condemned to Death criticisms of the Rwandan justice system : One prisoner cannot testify i genocide survivors. And what about those who have killed, but have also saved lives? The courts should take that into account. Wh y is there no
97 follow up when someone appeals? Where are the copies of the organizations? Some people have pleaded guilty, so why have they still been condemned to death? What should be punished is false testimony, false accusations. The witnesses for the prosecution are living in our houses and taking our possessions. The judges are among the genocide survivors. How can they judge our cases impartially? Who will punish the war crimes commit ted during the liberation? The murders carried out in reprisal? And all those people who took part in the massacres before the genocide of 1994, are they going to be punished as well? ile. And when some high ranking official is arrested, at the international court in (99) It is not lost on Tadjo that although these criticisms are substantial and disturbing, carries with it a certain discomfort: Does accepting his arguments amount to siding with a killer? Or does ignoring his calls for a more honest and transparent justice s ystem allow new injustices to enter Rwandan society? Subsequently, her commentary on his away, so he of this category two felon clearly illustrates the many insufficie ncies that plague the Rwandan system for prosecuting genocide. No category exists for those who saved lives by actually killing, a scenario in which performing allegiance to Hutu Power by killing a discovered Tutsi could help conceal harbored Tutsis from the Interahamwe.
98 category blurring acts to go unnoted, as other Hutu prisoners would more likely have witnessed and survived incidents involving Interahamwe search part ies than Tutsis. The lack of visits from investigative human rights organizations compounds this breach in the prosecutorial system by allowing faulty record keeping, wrongful condemnations, and the partiality of judges to go unchecked by outside observer s. Massacres of Hutus that have occurred before, during, and since the crisis despite their relation to the genocide also have no rightful category for prosecution in this legal system, a dynamic that risks granting impunity to reprisal killings. In the executioners were becoming the victims, the victims the executio ners. / As if violence would n insufficiencies actually affect the category one criminals who enjoy impunity, or at least mitigated punishment, in exile Theresa Mukandori and the Uses of the Dead T hese distinctions in how Murambi and The Shadow of Imana narrate the history of the Rwandan genocide correspond with how each text deliberates on the subject of genocide memorial sites especially the memorial at Nyamata Church The Nyamata memorial, which features the corpse of Theresa Mukandori a Tutsi woman whose raped and mutilated body was exhumed for display in 1997 recurs throughout the Duty to Remember texts as an image that significantly shocked project contributors (Cazenave 71) splayed body raises an ethical quandary over the appropriateness of utilizing a raped maimed, and murdered memorial purposes. In Murambi however, Dio p glosses these issues, ultimately
99 favoring the RPF contention that the bodies of the dead must be displayed so that no one can forget the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda. Much like, the Duty to Remember writers themselves, Cornelius expresses shock d uri ng his visit to the Nyamata Church memorial : The young woman had her head pushed back and the scream extracted from her by the pain had been frozen on her still grimacing face. Her magnificent tresses were disheveled, and her legs wide apart. A stake of wood or of iron, had rema ined lodged in her 73 ). Engagement with the ethical issues raised by this display is briefly introduced when the one of the Nyamata survivors. He wanted a decent grave for his sister, but the authorities pleaded with him to leave her body as it was, so that the 73). f amily her body becomes a sacrifice to the nation By u authorities, however, the caretaker mitigate s the ethical questions that charge this s of a famous that blacks are, in fact, savages. I recognize my mistake. I ne ver want to fight for evidence of African savagery, Corn elius does not ponder the ethical issues inherent in and instead moves onward in his tour of N yamata. Once at the Murambi Polytechnic Cornelius returns to the issue of whether or
100 however, he quickly sides with the RPF, condoning such displays as a way to make cert ain the world does not forget what happened in Rwanda: victims of the genocide after the controversy that came up about it in the country. Some people said that they had to be given a decent burial, that it agree with that point of view. [E] very Rwandan should have the courage to look reality in the eye. The strong odor of the remains proved that the genocide had tak en place only four years earlier and not in anc ient times. ( 147) Here, Cornelius g losses a number of significant issue s to come to the conclusion that displaying the bodies of the dead is an appropriate form of memorialization. As the diviner who narrat displaying corpses breaches traditional burial rites, a religious and cultural issue that does not factor into Cornelius the questio and how do t he Rwandan memorial sites testify to this reality ? The Rwandan memorials do not present of the genocide, but rather a state sponsored representation of the events of 1994 Such representations, Dauge Roth reminds us, often contradict the memories and sentiments of actual genocide survivors: symb too often censures the voices by imposing offic ial and impersonal representations in which sur t recognize themselves and feel fur 86). Exemplifying the representative and contested power of these memorials the findings of a two year sociological study have revealed that while some Rwandans feel that the memorial sites victims and society at large from m oving )
101 In Murambi account [of the genocide] that refuse (qtd Harrow, as Hitchcott notes, has been highly cri s use o f functio n to canalize our reactions and understandings into a fixed narrative of the genocide one th at seems to almost write For Hitchcot Murambi polyphony and a complicit protagonist (58). However, Harrow draws no such distinction, noting that Murambi much like the official RPF genocide script, emphasizes the massacres of 1959 as the true origin of Rwandan ethnic strife (Harrow 39) For Harrow, then, Murambi does not, as Hitchcott the genocide. These complex issues are quickly glossed over in Murambi via reality, the debates surrounding the memorial sites were far more complicated. In fact, a some Rwandans felt that the victims deserved a decent burial and that it was una cceptable to put corpses on display in this way; others, including the RPF government, were committed to exhibiting the bones in order to resist revisionism and prevent But where Cook draws attention to the conflicting pol itical motivations that informed such debate, Hitchcott seems to unequivocally accept the RPF argument that such commemorative preservation counteracts revisionism and prevents renewed massacres. What is
102 missing from this reading of the memorial sites, as well as Murambi itself, is the acknowledgment that the memorials have already revise d history and have already genocide credit In The Shadow of Imana Tadjo also encounters the exhumed body of Theresa Mukandori at Nyamata Murambi body as it was, so that the where she had been slain, without repositioning for the purpose of the memorial. But as Tadjo notes, the corpses of Nyamata had been moved twic e, first by UN soldiers (12), then by the Rwandan government (11). Tadjo prefaces a lengthy description of three year s after her death to be featured in the Nyamata memorial site: five. Exhumed in with a clinical character, these short descriptions recall the catalogue notes that accompany archive and artifact collections at libraries and museums. But by considering whether or not Mukandori had children, Tadjo reclaims Mukandori from he question Tad jo raises as to whether Mukandori had a child signals this recognition [of her humanity]. (
103 on the Nyamata site as ostensible evidence of African savagery and lead s Tadjo to a sustained and critical description of how she has been displayed: Her wrists are bound, and tied to her ankles. Her legs are spread wide apart. Her body is lying on its side. She looks like an enormous fossilised foetus. She has been laid on a dirty blanket, in front of carefully lined up skulls and bones scattered on a mat. She has been raped. A pickaxe has been forced into her vagina. She died from a machete blow to the nape of her neck. You can see the groove left by the impact. She still has a blanket over her shoulders but the material is now encrusted into the skin. She is there as an example, exhumed from the ditch where she had fallen with the other bodies. On show so that no one can forget. A mummified victim of genocide. Rem nants of hair are still attached to her skull. (11) bound, raped, her genitals impaled n of her body a preserved corpse staged before a carefully arranged collection of skeletal remains. Extending her commentary to these dead are screaming still. This is not a memorial but death laid bare, exposed in all its rawness. Tadjo registers a similar ambivalence to the Ntarama Church site, where the bodies of the dead have The dead point an accusing finger at the living who are still making use of them. The dead want to return to the In the following extremists in 1992 for p ublicly accusing the Habyarimana government for launching massacres against the Tutsi, Tadjo further questions the genocide narrative proferred by the Ntarama and Nyamata memorial sites, noting that countless Hutus also suffered violent deaths during the c
104 moderate Hutus, those men and women who rejected genocide, are mingled with those The Rwandan g enocide was buil t on a story of ethnic division; t hese memorials retell that story by making all victims Tutsi. These differences in how Murambi and The Shadow of Imana deal with the issue of Theresa Mukandori and the memorial uses of the dead correspond with broader vision of the genocide and the politics of commemoration in g eneral While Murambi emphasizes the complicity of foreign actors, primarily the French, and minimizes the and post genocide strife, The Shadow of Imana avoids appropriating and narrowly politicizing Rwandan history by focusing on the multiplicity of actors implicated in and affected by the Rwandan genocide and its aftermath The devastating and criminal effects of French imperialism in Rwanda and la f rancophonie itself demands attention and criticism, but focusing o n European complicity to such an extent that African complicity becomes silenced monolithic passivity eternally subject to the tyranny of abstract historical forces. In effect, the RPF become a messianic force that has miraculously vanquished the occultic powers of imperialism and colonialism. As in Hotel Rwanda failure to recogniz e the and post genocide activities in the region allows exploitation in Rwanda and the Congo to persist with limited critical attention. In contrast, refusing to obscure RPF complicity in Rwandan political strife uncovers A frican participation in the politico economic machinery that continues to immiserate Central Africa. the obstacles that
105 continue to vex contemporary Rwanda including the appropriation of victims bodies and survivors voices for politically instrumentalist commemorations of the Rwandan genocide
106 CHAPTER 4 GENOCIDE AND THE GRA PHIC NOVEL: FORM AND HISTORY IN MAUS: A SMILE THROUGH THE TE ARS: THE STORY OF TH E RWANDAN GENOCIDE AN D DEOGRATIAS, A TALE O F RWANDA Beyond literature such as Murambi and The Shadow of Imana and films such as Hotel Rwanda the last decade and a half has also s een a flourishing of texts about the Rwandan genocide in other genres, each of them bearing their own formal characteristics, capabilities, and burdens of ethical representation The graphic novel became a microtrend within this phenomenon when two graphic novels appeared almost simultaneously to tell the story of Rwanda, Smile Through the Tears: The Story of the Rwandan Genocide (2005) and Deogratias, A Tale of Rwanda (2006). Both texts deal with the Rwandan genocide and its effects, but Smile Through the Tears and Deogratias differ substantially in their approach to recounting the crisis. Smile Thr ough the Tears, written by Rwandan genocide survivor Rupert Bazambanza, depicts the pre and mid genocide lives of the Rwangas, a victimized Tutsi family that the author had known since childhood, while Deogratias written by J. P. Stassen, a Belgian journ alist and comics artist who lives in Rwanda follows a Hutu boy who had been forced to participate in the slaughter as he tries to adjust, plagued by alcoholism and genocide flashbacks to life in postgenocide Rwanda. The graphic novel, a genre derived f rom comics and cartoons, may seem an unlikely f orm for dealing with a n event as grave as genocide, a topic that challenges all attempts at understand ing and representation, b ut comics artist Art Spiegelman challenged unfavorable assumptions about the genre volume series Tale (1973 1986 ). Maus, a complex narr ative and aesthetic achievement, uses the graphic novel as a vehicle for dealing with the Holocaust, an
107 event so destructive and unimaginable that all sub sequent genocides, including novel, an ostensibly frivolous medium, initially drew skepticism from observers and emembrance of the Holocaust, Maus ultimately demonstrated that the graphic novel offers complex multimodal (visual and literary) narrative possibilities well suited to dealing with challenging subject matter. If the formal characteristics and capabilities of the graphic novel are the major catalyst for the narrative accomplishments of Maus does the graphic novel form similarly affect how Smile Through the Tears and Deogratias narrate the Rwandan genocide ? To exp lore this question, this chapter first surve ys the issues of form that accompany Maus and then considers how these issues play out in In terms of content, both Smile Through the Tears and Deogratias display a concern with the Rwandan genocid onial history ( particularly the effects of Belgian race science on the ethnopolitics of Rwanda), the effects of tourism and globalizat the failures and complicities of the international community. While these issues could be broached in other genres, the use of the graphic novel enables Deogratias and Smile Through the Tears much like Maus, to visually render complex temporal and spatial associations between the personal and the geopolitical, as well as the past and the pr esent. But at the center of Smile Through the Tears and Deogratias, as well as Maus, is a concern with the issue of animality, the animalization of the genocide victim. Both Nazism and colonial pposed distance from
108 modernity was given the visual marker of animal characteristics Jews as rats, Africans as apes i n comics, cartoons, and film. By appropriating and inverting the colonial race hierarchy that privileged Tutsis over Hutus, Hutu extremism also animalized Tutsis, favoring the insect imagery of a cockroach infestation. Through their adoption of the graphic novel, Bazambanza and Stassen, like Spiegelman before them, enact a reversal of the animal trope that rendered the Jews u ntermenschen (u nderhuman) and the Tutsi inyenzi ( cockroaches ) Rather than detracting from the content of these genocide narratives, the graphic novel allows for a historical engagement with a twentieth century comics and cartoons corpus that animalized Jews and African s. More than graphic novels, Smile Through the Tears and Deogratias are also graphic histories, i.e., literary visual articulations of the history of the Rwandan genocide. Therefore, along with issues of form, these graphic novels also raise issues of hi storical narration and its relation to authorial positi onality. In seeking understanding In ot her words, d disqualify him from being an adequate narrator/witness of the Rwandan tragedy of 1994? Deogratias resists narrative closure through the inexplicable metamorphosis of protagonist Deogratias into a groveling dog who cannot find peace of mind in post genocide Rwanda, a Rwanda haunted by a lack of justice or reconciliation. This chapter will a rgue that this approach in Deogratias more effectively narrates the complexities and ongoing traumas of the Rwandan genocide than Smile Through the
109 Tears, which ass erts a rhetoric of, to use Rwandan Patriotic Front ( RPF ) Tutsi/RPF Maus and Holo kitsch Utilizing the anthropomorphic conventions of cartoons, Maus depicts the different races and nationalities involved in the Holocaust and its aftermath as varying animal types: f or example, Jews are mice, Germans are cats, Americans are dogs, and Britons are fish. S been a hotly debated issue for over half a century. As Thomas Doherty explains, No matter how austere and reverent the tone, no matter how traditional the format any representation of the Holocaust attracts a special measure of critical scrutiny and, if judged lacking, earns a severe measure o f opprobrium. The usual criteria for literary and cinematic excellence originality, wit, for are suspended for depi ctions of the Holocaust. (71) The duty to remember is thereby tempered by an ethica l injunction to not remember inappropriately. But this cautionary edict remember, but be careful how you do so has not led to a scarcity of Holocaust texts. The more common situation may actually be oversaturation and superficial titillation, which deval ue the importance of acknowledging the Holocaust and weaken the ability of remembrance to engender empathetic responses to history, yielding an effect similar to what Susan Moeller has [a] popular perception that there is no problem [with Holocaust representation]: that the Holocaust as theme and subject saturates the cinema, television, fiction, and classroom discussions. This is related to the problem of overtitillation, which s tymies and deadens Spiegelman had
110 therefore entered a realm riddled with ethical and aesthetic challenges and had chosen to do so through the undervalued, underestimated, and oft trivialized m edium of the graphic novel. Through its visual renderings of anthropomorphic characters an aesthetic device native to comics and cartoons, Maus creates fictionality that breaches the requirement that Holocaust ficti on produce historically (Budick 379). But despite this excessive fictionality Spiegelman has always considered Maus nonfiction, which led to with the New York Times over how to categorize his work on the best sellers list. Spiegelman recounts the episode in an interview with Atlantic Monthly writer Harvey Blume: I had an entertaining moment with the New York Times Book Review when Maus was gi ven a spot as a bestseller in the fiction category. I wrote a letter saying that David Duke would be quite happy to read that what happened to my father was fiction. I said I realized Maus presented problems in taxonomy but I thought it belonged in the n onfiction list. They published the letter and moved Maus to nonfiction. But it turns out there was a debate among the editors. The funniest line transmitted back to me answers, w Maus in nonfiction. (qtd. in Silbergleid 141n14 ) While the content of Maus is true, a narrative based mostly on conversations between Art and his father Vladek, an Auschwitz survivor, the conventions of the graphic novel have imbued it with a fi ctional aesthetic quality in which humans are depicted as humanoid animals Reservations about fictionality in Holocaust texts have often derived As Andreas Huys sen notes, Maus undercuts this dichotomy in the first rather obvious sense that Spiegelman draws on the comic as a mass cultural genre, but transforms it in a narrative saturated with modernist techniques of self reflexivity, self
111 irony, ruptures in narra (70). resort to shallow he roism and facile happy endings. novel, a genre derived from comic strips and cartoons, adds further interest to his criticism of Holocaust kitsch, as comics evoke connotations of frivolity and brevity more than most, perhap s more than all, other me diums of narrative aesthetic expression only the comic can run the gamut of material adaptation from the bubble gum wrapper to the novel. For Spiegelman it is not the choice of medium or genre in itself that can tarnish the quali ty of a Ho locaust text, but rather how a text shapes history and memory Me re recreation, then, is not enough; the effective Holocaust text must incur affective and intellectual engagement to avoid the travesties of Holokitsch; contrary to modernist expectations, the graphic novel allows just such engagement in Maus primarily th rough Form and Memory The multimodality of the graphic novel exists in its combination of the literary and the visual, which enables the genre to visually represent multiple temporalities in sequences of drawn frames. The treatment of memory and trauma in these graphic multiple temporalities. Commenting on Maus, Hillary Chute describes this technique as he past and the present [accomplished] One series of frames in Maus for example,
112 ied arm, readying for her suicide, floats out from the body of the youngster Artie, its thumb just about touching the leg of the adult Artie, who This densely layered panel thereby brings four di stinct moments into temporal and spatial proximity. Similar strategies are emp loyed in Smile Through the Tears and Deogratias, wherein the multitemporal capabilities of the graphic novel are utilized to dramatize the trauma of genocide as a haunting that reflects back on the past while carrying forth into the of the present. Smile Through the Tears, for instance, u tilizes a layering and packing technique t only the past and the present but also of the personal and the geopolitical The opening frame of Smile Through the Tears depicts a beautiful mountainous landscape with a jungle in the foreground; a superimposed inlay frame shows a pair of crying eyes. Big bluish tears spill from the smaller frame and touch the snowcapped mount aintops of the larger frame. The accompanying text reads: The genocide of the Rwandan Tutsis took place under the shocked gaze of the international community. One million slaughtered. Those who could have stopped the horror did nothing, seemingly indif ferent to the drama. Rwanda, it was often said, is too small, too poor and too black to elicit compassion. Faced with the unbelievable, the martyred Rwandans could only wonder. (3) This complex frame juxtaposes the natural beauty of Rwanda with the post genocide sorrow of its inhabitants and implicates First World complacency as complicit in the
113 success of the Tutsi massacre. Subsequently, this juxtaposition makes visible the relationship between collective trauma and the dep ersonalized realm of geopolit ical structures The second and third frames expand on this relationship by referencing Gorillas in the Mist. A film crew is depicted happily shooting footage of a gorilla posed in a jungle o f bamboo, as the same blue, snowcapped mountains of the first frame still rest in the background. A unknown country. The real question is why the international community did nothing is frame places the genocide within a global context, wherein the Rwandan ecoscape and animal population has enjoyed more international attention than the hardships of its human popula tion. By the third frame, the gorilla has taken center stage; a television set, a photograph, and a newspaper float around the smiling visage of the gorilla, now a bona fide celebrity covered in all forms of mass media. A narrative header forces us to co mpare the popularity of Gorillas in the Mist with the indifference given to the genocide in Rwanda: its mountain gorillas. This endangered species had been the subject of a famo us film, Gorillas in the Mist which told the story of Dian Fossey and her quest to save them. Visitors completely ignored the murder of thousands of Tutsis and the fact that large numbers of Rwandans had been forced to remain in exile, despite their repeate d pleas to return to the land of their ancestors. (3) Gorillas in the Mist and Dian Fossey highlight t he appeal of Rwanda solely as a site of natural beauty and animal rights activism elucidating the
114 position of Rwanda under gl obal capitalism it is either an environmental Eden for tourists to enjoy or a forsake n hell in the center of Africa Deogratias makes simpler use of its panels but still enacts a similar weaving of past and present. The nearly six hundred panels that fi ll the pages of Deogratias use the straightforward approach of classic comics: the frames are whole and intact (no overlapping or insetting of smaller frames) and no more than one or two dialogue bubbles or narrative headers accompany them. Where Bazamban za and Spiegelman Stassen distills the form to its essence, illuminating the capabilities of a simpler frame and text approach. Within each frame, however, Stassen displays his strengths as an artist. Vivid color schemes give the highly stylized, cartoon like drawings an intense expressiveness. T he opening frames of Deogratias stand alone with no textual ogratias loitering listlessly in front of the Hotel Umusambi speak for themselves. Following an almo st cinematic style, frame one provides a close up of Deogratias whose ragged T shirt, frazzled hair, and dilated, wide open eyes clearly convey his postwar trauma while frame two zooms outward and upward, in mimicry of an aerial shot, to show the bartender brandishing a club as he walks through the hotel bar patio toward Deogratias who stands in a sandy courtyard beside the bar. The bartender screams another man sitting in the bar interrupts him The bar patron, an ex soldier from France who was stationed in Rwanda during the genocide, commands the bartender to let Deogratias in and bring him a beer (1). Once Deogratias has been seated, the former
115 missed this place, so I came back only as a tourist this time. I just got back from volcano country. I saw plenty of gorillas. Look at the cool pict ures I took. I had them developed in Kigali With these opening pages, Deogratias contextualizes the Rwandan genocide just as Smile Through the Tears does, with reference to the renowned gorillas of Rwanda, a strategy t : population. Deogratias adds the extra twist of making the Frenchman not only a tourist, but also a for support of the Hutu Army President Habyarimana received arms and aid from the French government and military, a fact that Deogratias reminds the Frenchman of after the hotel bartender This French soldier turned French tourist thereby links the compli city of the French military with the complicity of the global tourist the global imaginary 1 The further s the distinction between Europe as the site of modernity and Africa as the site of insignificance and primitivity Where this passage shows the Frenchman using technology as an index of development, a similar passage shows him identifying the local practice o f drinking warm beer as a symptom of Rwandan savagery: 1 Madelaine Hron defines a non as a space of insignificance, if not non existence (200).
116 drink that poison! I mean really in this country people drink their beer warm. They say that cold beer woul brothel (102) the French tourist soldier also sexualizes Rwanda characterizing the genocide as an unfortunate massacre of Tutsi women who could have been potential shame, when you think about it. thighs with anyone anymore. All those sweet pieces of ass hacked to bits with 3). As equ al parts ex soldier, tourist, and potential sex tourist the Frenchm a n becomes a composite of various forms of European corruption and exploitation (military, econom ic, sexual). Deogratias remains mute for most of the genocide. The flashbacks gradually increase as the novel proceeds, imbuing Deogratias with a multitemporal complexity similar to Smile Through the Tears and Maus, as two or more chronologies are rendered synchronous through juxtaposition on shared or adjacent pages. Through these juxtapositions of the past and the present we learn the extent of and c rimes had just consummat ed a new relationship with his Tutsi girlfriend, Benina With the genocide beginning right outside his door, Deogratias harbors Benina in his room while fe igning loyalty to the a ge nda of his Hutu extremist peer s. After two days of hiding, Ap ol l inaria and her mother Venetia. D eogratias locks Benina in his apartment to prevent her from risking
117 capture by the Int erahamwe, but she breaks out while Deogratias is away and reunites with Ap o l linaria (57 64). After hiding in latrines for two weeks, Benina and Apollinaria surrender at a Hutu roadblock, where they find the raped and beheaded body of their mother (74) J ulius, the leader of the Interahamwe roadblock, forces Deogratias to rape and murder Apollinaria while the other militiamen rape and murder Benina (71). As Julius begins to lead his men into the safe haven of the Turquoise Zone, Deogratias defies him, wit h the aid of the French soldier, and turns back toward Kigali, now under RPF control (72 73). When he returns to the roadblock, Deogratias finds dogs feeding throughout the novel, as he imagines himself morphing into a dog as punishment for his sins (26 27 47, 52, 57, 67, 76 ). Before being captured by the police, Deogratias poisons and kills the Frenchman (6, 31, 54, 69), Julius, (40, 46, 69), and Bosco, a former RPF s oldier (69) Therefore, as these temporal associations demonstrate, Deogratias seems to hold all parties accountable, including himself, for the destruction of 1994 and takes on the role of penitent as well as executioner as he ritualistically reenacts his traumatic memories. Animality and Anthropomorphism Beyond this enabling of such multitemporal juxtapositions, the use of the graphic novel also allows Deogratias and Smile Through the Tears to play host to a complex convergence of form and content, particularly in regard to the issue of animality the animalization of the genocide victim. This topical commonality points to the deep influence of scientific racial discourse on modern genocide in both Europe an d Africa, as all three novels dramatize animalization: Maus through a counteraesthetic of fabulist anthropomorphism and Deogratias and Smile Through the Tears through strikingly
118 similar depictions of a Rwandan s choolhouse scene where the subject of the day is racial pedagogy, the racialization and demonization of the Tutsi. Deogratias also enacts anthropomorphizes into a groveling dog bereft of home, safety, or security by th e entwined with twentieth century racial iconography, from the subliminal blackface n comic Tintin and the recurrent depictions of Jews as rats in Nazi political cartoons. In the works under study here, the graphic novel reverses the animal trope to highlight the fabricated character of racial hierarchies and situate genocide as a lo gica l conclusion of biopower, i.e., a final solution to the problematics of population control and the consolidation of political power. As Achille Mbembe explains, following Foucault, live and those who must die. This control presupposes the distribution of human species into groups, the subdivision of the population into subgroups, and the establishment of a 16 17). In Maus, the comics strategy of anthropomorphism directly confronts the aesthetic and ideological implements of Nazi biopower, while Deogratias and Smile Through the Tears dramatize animality as a pedagogy of dehumanization, thereby confronting col onial narratives of tribalism and primitivism by exposing genocid e as an aspect of modern biopower a praxis derived from scientific theories bound up with maintenance of the nation state rather than with atavistic ethnic violence.
119 th e comics aesthetic in Maus resonates not only as a stylistic stance, but also as an historical and political stance; the structure and style of Maus is inextricably bound with its content. The graphic novel, and the world of comics in general, may be suited choice of medium as w ell suited to confrontation with Nazism because comics and cartoons were a popular vehicle for Nazi animalization of the Jew. Periodicals like Der Sturmer nosed, beady eyed Untermenschen, creatures whose ferret fac (Doherty 74). These cartoons and comics told a certain story about humanity, one of nationalist Nazi exceptionalism and non Aryan racial inferiority; by adopting the basic form of this vehicle, Maus hijack s and redirects the purpose and orientation of Nazi sy mbology. As Andreas Huyssen notes Maus also reworks the imagery of Nazi films like The Eternal Jew (1940), which portrays Jews as an invading rodent horde carrying disease and degeneration : Spiegelma reversing its implications while simultaneously keeping us aware of the Instead of the literal representation of destructive vermin we see persecuted little animals drawn with a human body and wearing human clothes and with a highly abstracted, non expressive mouse physiognomy. (75) The animal scheme renders the power structure visible; the Jews in Maus are not racially or essentiall y vermin; instead, they have politically been rendered vermin, the targets of an extermination campaign.
120 Smile Through the Tears also makes deliberate aesthetic and historico political use of the comics form through allusion to the Belgian comics series Tintin, which exemplifies the role cartoons and comics played in the dehumanization of Africans. Tintin in the Congo (1930 1931) specifically utilizes an African landscape to stage the adventures of main character Tintin, a Belgian journalist. A famous s cene from the (qtd. in Sadoul 180 205). Tin Tin creator Herg was compelled to redraw this scene as a mathematics lesson in 1946, when such overt colonial racism had become less acceptable (Sadoul 180 205). This passage blatantly exemplifies the paternalism of Belgian colonial ideology, a paternalism that Bazambanza links to Rwan da, also a Belgian postcolony, through his allusion to Tintin In Smile Through the Tears, Degroot, a member of the Rwanga family, is shown reading a Tintin comic, as his sister asks Why are all the Africans in Tintin so black, like our indicates his assimilation to the colonial gaze, his visual reorientation to the infantilizing perspective of the European colonialist. Bazambanza further id entifies the ability of racism to achieve normalization with a heading to the Tintin This statement register s a tone of irony, as Degroot is too caught up with racist comic books to be w orried about the racism intensifying all around him. The racism of Tintin has been normalized for Degroot to a level of
121 minimizes the intrusion of the Graphic Histories If the ultimate image of comic book paternalism is Tintin instructing Congolese children in their Belgianness at a schoolroom chalkboard, it is sig nificant that the chalkboard becomes a common image in Smile Through the Tears and Deogratias the chalkboard becomes a symbol of institutionalized power and its proliferation through the educational system. In Smile Through the Tears, Bazambanza explains that the This narration provides a sense of inescapability a nd entrapment, as private school cannot provide refuge from the pedagogy of ethnic division. At the TUTSI chalkboard. The dashes separating each ethnic group signify a chain of regressio n from the superior Hutu to the lesser Tutsi to the abjectly other pygmy Twa a minority group systemically overlooked in commentary on Rwanda, despite estimates that the genocide destroyed nearly half the Tw a population (Scherrer 24) The teacher elabora tes on the distinctions between the three groups with snippets of Rwandan history and a public outing of Wilson Rwanga as a Tutsi: Today you have to tell me which of the three ethnic groups on the board you belong to. Now I know that none of you are Twas. This inferior race, otherwise known as pygmies, lives in the forest. As for the Tutsis why Tutsis think they are a kind of royalty who have the God given right to kill the Hutus. For instance, Queen Kanjoger a used to impale Hutu children on her spear. (6)
122 propagan of dichotomization and dehumanization As the school day comes to a close, the The subsequent frames of Smile Through the Tears elaborate on this scene of ethnic pedagogy by mo ving in two directions, first to the intimate/personal level of the Rwanga family as Wilson tries to make sense of the incident by discussing it with his family (7), then to the historical level as a two page narrative section summarizes colonial and preco lonial Rwandan history to contextualize the contemporary ethnic politics of postcolonial Rwanda. This historical narration is grounded in the authority of family tradition, as Smile Through the Tears of Rwanda older Mr. Rwanga imagining his younger self, cheerful and innocent, speaking with his sagacious, whit e bearded grandfather, shown wearing a robe and thoughtfully smoking the Twa arrive diff s two pairs of hands, those of a Hutu and those of a Tutsi, holding a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, and milk. This
123 idyllic perspective on the Twa, Hutu, and Tutsi migrations to Rwanda omits the str ife that often accompanied the arrival of each successive group to the area. The indigenous pygmy minority, the Twa, suffered marginalization as Ruanda Urundi (as the area was called before Rwanda and Burundi became separate, independent nations) came to be dominated by a Hutu majority and then a precolonial Tutsi elite, a dynamic illustration. Deogratias, in a significant departure from this dynamic, reintegrates the Tw a into narration of the genocide through the character of Augustine, a landscaper for a white landowner. Demonstrating a puerile fascination with his Twa employee, the en transcends this objectification by operating as an intelligent, independent subject. Responding to a claim from Philip, a Belgian missionary, that priests gave Au gustine the gift of education, Augustine reminds Philip and his father, visiting from Belgium, that his degrees are worthless, as working for wealthy whites is one of the few lucrative ut we have (45). In Smile Through the Tears it is only t he arrival of Belgian colonists, who bring with them the instrumental divisi veness of race science, that disrupt s this idyllic King Leopold II has sent us to colonize you. We will protect you, educate y (8). King Musinga, the Tutsi
124 monarch of Ruanda sequence depicts Rwandan ethnic unity as the legacy of the T utsi monarchy, a legacy force, the next frame shows Belgian colonists measuring the noses of Rwandans. The accompanying narr ation explains, the colonizers looked for s omething to divide the Rwandan people, who had lived together peacefully for over a thousand years. The Belgians split the Twas, Hutus and Tutsis into different ethnic groups. Those whose physical ere ranked according to the number of cattle they owned: people owning less were considered Hutu. Children born of the same parents suddenly found they belonged to This articulation of Rwandan history asserts that colonialism alone shattered over a millennia of Tutsi ruled pax Rwandana While the scientific racism of Belgian colonialism did have a tremendous impact on Rwanda giving scientific support to colonial sponsored Tutsi elitism and its correspondent, Hutu extremism an ideal ized vision of Rwandan history underwrites the notion that no significant differences or perspective erases Tutsi oppression of the Hutu, as well as Tutsi and Hutu oppression of th e Twa, from the historical record. This gesture denies the possibility of Rwandan historical agency and places that agency solely in the hands of colonialism an iteration Murambi: The Bo ok of Bones Acknowledging Rwandan complicity in Rwandan political crises should not lead acknowledgement should highlight how elision of certain historical factors can reiterate the colonial mythos that modern African history begins only with colonialism. In this
125 schema, the political grievances of precolonial Rwanda disappear, eclipsed by the grievances that can be attributed exclusively to colonialism, an articulation of Rwandan history that supports the restoration of Tutsi dominance in Rwanda. This Tutsi centric narration of Rwandan history begins with the opening frame of Smile Through the Tears As described above, this densely packed frame provocatively asserts status as a worthy of productive intervention during the genocide. However, this frame allows these international implications to overshadow the intranational the early to return to the land of their ancestors throughout Smile Through the Tears of emphasizing Hutu violence against Tutsis while omitting Tutsi aggression against Hutus from its narration of Rwandan history. If Westerners ignore d Tutsi deaths while simultaneously consuming Rwanda as a tourist commodity and the subject matter of media like Gorillas in the Mist, they also ignored Hutu casualties in Rwanda as well as its neighboring, ethnic mirror, Burundi. Between 1990 and 1993, m ilitary incursions into Rwanda from the RPF, the militarized Tutsi exiles Bazambanza refers to in this frame, yielded both Hutu and Tutsi civilian deaths These RPF invasions of the early 1990s fueled a heightened atmosphere of national insecurity that in creased violence against Tutsis within Rwanda. Events within Burundi also fueled this atmosphere of Rwandan insecurity, with the 1972 Tutsi
126 Hutu strife that have often mirrore s ethnic strife Certainly, Tutsi rather than Hutu trauma can and does serve as the relevant, legitimate, and necessary focus of many genocide narratives, and this critique of Smile Through the Tears wishes in no way to undermine the need espec ially for a genocide survivor, complete evasion of Tutsi complicity in the fostering of Rwandan ethnic strife obfuscates the politico economic complexities that led to the genocide, an obfuscation l of preventing future conflict As Bazambanza explains in his introduction to Smile Through the Tears, awareness of the genocide must be spread so that future genocides become less likely. With the goal of genocide prevention thereby inscribed directly into Smile Through the Tears Why me? Why did I survive when so many loved ones around me perished? After years of wrestling with this question, Bazambanza role of witness to genocide so that such violence may never be repeated, but the Tutsi centric narration of events immediately undercuts his achievement of this goal. With the c omplexities of Rwandan history reduced to a simplistic narrative of Hutu brutality against Tutsis, the actual social processes that led to the genocide remain opaque and the dichotomy between Tutsi victims and Hutu victimizers remains intact. The Hutu R timeline of the genocide. Instantiating a major shift from the Tutsi dominance of precolonial and colonial Rwanda to the Hutu dominance of independent, postcolonial
127 Rwanda, the Hutu Revol ution sets Rwandan history on the ideological and social track that makes the 1994 genocide possible. The Hutu Revolution does, therefore, serve as a logical starting point for understanding the historical trajectory of the genocide, but Smile Through the Tears presents the Revolution in conspicuously reductive terms. To construct his narrative, Bazambanza distances himself from his text by writing from the perspective of the Rwangas survivors of the anti Tutsi violence of the Hutu Revolution and their ch ildren, Wilson, Degroot, and Hyacinthe. As Bazambanza explains, My story is told from the point of view of a family very dear to me whose near total annihilation I witnessed: the Rwangas. Only Rose Rwanga, the mother, has survived. Orphaned duri ng the first and largely forgotten Tutsi genocide of 1959, she is today without her husband and children because of the same murderous folly, become more monstrous still. (1) Major r eferences the Hutu Revolution as the first installment of the 1994 genocide. In an early ry and allows him to disavow the
128 crucial fact that Tutsi oppression of the Hutu had prompted the Revolution of 1959 and neither exonerates nor legitimates the excesses of the Hutu Revolution. But omission of the problematic view of Rwandan history, a view in which the monolithically malevolent Hutus continually and inexplicably slaughter the homogeneously benevolent Tutsis. on Wilson reiterates this notion when a school friend turns on him for being genocide o school boy in a khaki uniform, sits pensively and sorrowful beneath a tree, imbuing his sta tement with the authority of innocence. As a child, Wilson, serves as an apolitical figure providing a positively nave, i.e., non as a dangerous and divisive mythology, a reversal of the Manichean narrative that underwrote the excesses of the Hutu Revolution in 1959 and the genocide of the Tutsis in 199 4. Where Hutu power ideology asserts that the alien Tutsi have senselessly butchered the indigenous Hutu ever since the Tutsi monarchy usurped the sovereignty butchered the Tutsi ever since colonialism usurped the sovereignty of Tutsi rule.
129 The need to historicize the genocide, therefore, introduces the pitfall of replacing one ethnically dichotomized articulation of Rwandan history with another. Deogratias evades this p itfall by focusing on the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide and using flashbacks to provide necessary glimpses of events before and during the genocide. One of these flashbacks depicts a school house scene strikingly similar to that of Smile Through the T ears revealing a common con cern between the two novels with the impact of colonial race science on Rwandan ethnopolitics. teacher asks, while the blackboard behind him reads: Hutu / Tutsi / Twa Dashes once again separate each word and the vertical ordering of the list evokes a devolutionary schema from Hutu to Tutsi to Twa (17): The Hutu are the majority people. These proud and honest farmers, of Bantu stock, are the ones who cleared the country for cultivation. With cour age and care, they turned it into the wonderful garden that feeds us all. You can say that they are the true Rwandans. And now Who here is a Tutsi? The Tutsi are a Nilotic race who arrived much later from their faraway north. With the ir cows and their weapons, the Tutsi took advantage of the natural integrity of the poor Hutu peasants, and treacherously enslaved them. (18) Like the teacher in Smile Through the Tears, the teacher in Deogratias presents an ethnically radicalized version of Rwandan history, one that narrates the past along starkly divided ethnic lines. But comparison of these scenes reveals a significant divergence in how Smile Through the Tears and Deogratias conceptualize Rwandan history. In accordance with its Tutsi centric vision of Rwandan history, Smile Through the Tears makes the ludicrous invention in toto of Hutu extremism. Deogratias departs from a Tutsi or Hutu centric narration of Rwandan history by interspersing
130 flashback with a conversation between Deogratias and Bosco, an RPF soldier. Dark blues and blacks color the frames depicting Bosco and Deogratias, imbuing their use with an ominous and depressive tone. Bosco wears fatigues on his lanky body and a sinister grin on his face, his arm draped around the shoulders of the diminutive Deogratias. When Bosco offers Deogratias some banana beer, Deogratias? Because of what I said conversation in which he had threatened to arrest Deogratias for being a Hutu by not suspected of anything in particular. Besides, the novel will ultimately reveal that Deogratias has, through coercion, participated in genocide, Bosco made hi scene depicts one of the unsettling factors characterizing the postgenocide rule of the RPF in Rwanda: large numbers of Hutu prisoners arrested on spurious or fabricated charges of genocide comp prisons. Paradoxically this policy of ethnically profiling Hutus and charging them with genocide stands side by side with another RPF policy abolishing the public use of with the RPF version of Rwandan history, one in which colonialism alone afflicted Smile Through the Tears,
131 Bosco, his eyebrows raised in scorn and his left ha nd raised in exclamatory between us! They wrote those words on our ID cards! Before the y came, before they perspective in Smile Through the Tears, ion exemplifies a partisan idealization of the past in Deogratias frame, chool teachers depicted in Smile Through the Tears and Deogratias demonize the Tutsi by exaggerating the excesses of the Tutsi monarchy, the Rwangas and Bosco romanticize Tutsi rule by erasing ethnic strife from Rwandan history. Smile Through the Tears bu ilds upon such pro RPF sentiments in its depictions of RPF soldiers. One frame retal iate by killing Tutsi civilians, thanks to their deep rooted notion of ethnic officer for permission to avenge the murder of this father. Composed, and sagacious the officer Smile Through the Tears depicts ethnic discrimination a nd human rights abuses as the sole property of Hutu extremism, despite
132 the well documented reprisal massacres and civilian casualties that tarnish the record of the RPF. Deogratias departs from this RPF/Tutsi nationalist historical perspective by interrog ating both the dangerous ethnic romanticism embodied by Bosco and the ethnic narratives, Deogratias calls attention to the lacunae present in the Hutu e xtremist and Tutsi nationalist versions of Rwandan history. While each work mobilizes the graphic novel form to render complex temporal associations and effectively challenge the animalization of the genocide victim, Deogratias and Smile Through the Tear s differ greatly as articulations of Rwandan history, with the former emphasizing the ongoing trials of post genocide Rwanda and the latter emphasizing a more closed narrative beginning in 1959 and ending in 1994. This distinction manifests in the disjunc ture between the Rwangas and Deogratias : where the Rwangas become unambiguous figure s of moral heroism metonymic of the Rwandan Tutsi population Deogratias remain s a complicated and tortured figure whose eventual transformation into a dog disallows easy n arrative closure. While Stassen avoids problematic memorialization, Bazambanza despite hi s direct experience of the trauma he narrates, engages in a mode of commemorative appropriation, wherein the Rwandan genocide becomes the sequel of the Hutu Revoluti on and in turn, Rwandan There may be, as Dominick LaCapra notes, a legitimate ween the desire to criticize Writing 18), but the author victim, through the act of writing, nevertheless participates in political and historical discourses in ways t hat
133 necessitate respectful evaluati on. W hi le the irreducible, nontransferable trauma of the genocide survivor should be taken seriously and never conflated with more distanced experiences of crisis assuming that the survivor has access to a more privileged understanding of the broader structural realities governing mass political violence is not only problematic but highly dangerous, as such a gesture can imbue regressive, partisan narratives with a sense of virtuous victimhood that shield s them from significant criticism. As demonstrated in the previous chapters, reductive and partisan accounts of the Rwandan genocide have served the politically instrumentalist ends of Rwandan and Western elites and, in the process, yielded incalculable casualties nationally in Rwanda and regionally in the Congo. In this regard, the memorializing impulse of Smile Through the Tears bears more in common with the mass produced Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda and the anti imperialist African novel Murambi which both commemoratively situate the Rwandan genocide in politi cally reductive discourses, than with the closure resis tant and works The Shadow of Imana and Deogratias Failure to recognize the broader, ongoing implications of the Rwandan genocide serves to freeze the effects of the crisis within a narrow historical and geographical frame, a frame that emphasizes the violence of the past over the strife of the present and the future.
134 CHAPTER 5 DIS COMMEMORATING HAITIA N INDEPENDENCE : ARISTIDE, INTER VENTIONISM, AND GHOSTS OF CIT SOLEI L In this chapter, I examine A Ghosts of Cit Soleil a film that situates recent Haitian political strife in a reductive, sensationalized, and hegemonic discourse on Haiti that, much like Hotel Rwanda in the case of Central African political violence, serves the interests of Western and postcolonial elites. Even as it memorializes recent events, Ghosts of Cit Soleil also commemorates, or rather dis as a profound failure of Hait ian sovereignty. Two hundred years in the making, the failed Haitian sovereignty that Leth envisions is the sole product of Haitian ineptitude and criminality, as Ghosts of Cit Soleil deftly obscures the global politico economic dynamics in which Haitian politics have been imbricated since the dawn of Ghosts of Cit Soleil resembles the African tribalism trope in its evacuation of external factors such as foreign intervention from its na rration of postcolonial political crisis. The Bicentennial and the Symbolics of Sequels rechristened the French colony of Saint Domingue Ayiti the original Arawak name for the island o f Hispaniola. This renaming signified the establishment of Haiti as a sovereign nation free from colonial domination. Haitian Independence however, dramatically challenged the Eurocentric assumption that Africans and their New World descendants were pre disposed to servitude instantiating a rupture within the episteme of nineteenth
135 notion that Hait ian Independence was an oxy moron, an insolvent concept that an impending coup and allegations of corruption against Pr esident Jean Bertrand Aristide, a Catholic pries t who had rose to prominence as a populist alternativ e to Haitian dictatorship, nineteenth century narrative of illegitimate Haitian sovereignty become a self fulfilling prophecy? Had Hai tian despotism destroyed the dream of a free and independent Haiti? Or had Haiti become the victim of a colonial revenge fantasy exacted by the former imperial powers and their peers among the postcolonial Haitian elite? These questions throb, largely un addressed, at the margins of Danish director Ghosts of Cit Soleil winner of the Directors Guild of water mark in the relationship between director and Ghosts of Cit Soleil functions as the personal portrait 1 of two Haitian brothers, Bily and 2Pac, leaders of pro Aristide gangs from Cit Soleil called chimres Filtered through an editing style reminiscent of rap music videos, each other and other gang members, and engage in an interracial love triangle with a French relief worker in Cit Soleil UN. 2 paced editing serves only to enhance the ghetto realism of Ghosts of Cit Soleil 1 place their focus on the 2 This is the story of two brothers, Chimeres leaders in Cite Soleil described by the UN as the most dangerous place on earth.
136 editing frenzied, and if he cra nks up the rap heavy soundtrack, he is only being true to But Ghosts of Cit Soleil is not quite the raw yet heavily stylized document of Haitian gang life that Gilbey applauds. Leth, son of Jorgen Leth, the renowned Dani sh film maker and honorary Danish Ambassador to Haiti, garnered funding for Ghosts of Cit Soleil from the Danish Film Institute and Nordisk films after shooting and person film crew (Leth qtd. in Leffler) The trailer also impressed Haitian American rap star Wyclef Jean, who Leth met with in New York at a private screening arranged by 2Pac and co e producers and a co composer of the film score, and Leth flew to Haiti the next day and access to his subjects can be attributed to his family associations with Haiti (it is unlikely that Jorgen Leth has any direct connections or interests in Cit Soleil) and his allegiance with Wyclef (it is also unlikely that Wyclef spent much time with the film crew). But the crew left Cit Soleil many weeks later with more than four hu ndred hours of intimate and harrowing footage, the raw material from which Ghosts of Cit Soleil would be crafted (Leffler). A seductive blend of fast cuts, candid footage, archival material, and interviews with participants and observers, Ghosts of Cit Soleil carefully constructs its own reality, blurring the line between the spontaneous and the orchestrated in many of its frames. The lives of Bily and 2Pac are pieced together through a suggestive and oftentimes disorienting editing style that juxtapose s scenes of
137 purportedly candid gang violence with archival footage of riots and mass political demonstrations. Amidst this juxtaposition of the immediate and the archived, Bily and 2Pac, as As Leth ex plains, the lives of Bily and 2Pac provided the perfect vehicle for creating a documentary that has the energy of toward the feel of a fiction film, with a dramatic struct ure and strong, strong characters a character driven story. emphasis on Bily and 2Pac. Both brothers have dre ams, Bily of becoming a Haitian politician who can finally bring peace to Cit Soleil, 2Pac of becoming a rapper under the tutelage of Wyclef As they oscillate between allegiance and rivalry, Bily and 2Pac lead their respective gangs and sections of Cit Soleil with a mixture of terror and benevolence, ruling with violence in some instances, charity in others. These methods yield Bily and 2Pac large doses of fear as well as respect from the inhabitants of Cit y scenes of celebration, often block party style affairs shot in night vision. But m ounting tensions between gangs quickly eclipse chim re and the disappearance of 2Pac, now als o presumed dead. Ghosts of Cit Soleil is never simply about Bily and 2Pac, however, as these chimres become a metonym for broader Haitian political realities, a metonym that reduces the complexities of Haitian politics to mere street thugge ry and roman ticizes the 2004 coup against Aristide
138 rivalry, and unfulfilled dreams, Ghosts of Cit Soleil captures an evocative temporal palimpsest in its frames: the past in present convergence of the bice Aristide supporters had nicknamed his administration. But the symbolic import of sequels in visions of Haitian history y nearly sixty years, originating with Haitian President Stnio Vincent in 1934, the year in which US forces abandoned their eighteen year occupation of Haiti (1915 1934). By declaring rallel between the end of French colonization and the end of the American occupation. In this sche m a, the US Occupation represents an eradication of Haitian independence, a regression back to the era of colonial dominance, only with a change in the names of the colonizers. However, for dsoccupation it was the beginning of a long and intense ideological and political conflict that would ultimately lead, in 1957, to one of the most brutal dict atorships the the US occupation, the regimes of Franois Duvalier and his son Jean Claude represent yet another retraction of the advancements of 1804. In fact, so litt le had changed seems to have been premature Occupation era but in the post Duvalier administration of Aristide. W hether or no this appellation remains a controversy, as can be seen in how differently Ghosts of Cit Soleil and Aristide narrate
139 own bicenten n ial rhetoric explicitly narrates his presidency as a progressive revolution against the inter national forces of imperialism, the second coming of Haitian revolutionary hero Toussaint Louverture, while Ghosts of Cit Soleil implicitly commemorates Haitian Independence as a profound intra national failure serialized in the failures of Aristide and all who came before him. Partial truths reside in both these narratives, but what do these opposing commemorations conceal? To promote the bicentennia l, Aristide directly linked his pr esidency with the legacy of Haitian Independence to back images of himself (Jenson 167). Some Caribbean Community (CARICO M) member nations and Haitian intellectuals, including many from throughout the Haitian d iaspora, expressed it as a misdirection away from the sociopolitical crises mounting under his administrative watch (Jenson 163). For these detractors, Aristide was no Toussaint Louverture. But Aristide sustained the comparison once in exile, describing his supposed 29 February resignation as a US of Louverture in June 1802. About to embark for France from a dock in Gonaives, Louverture declared, Domingue only the trunk of the tree of the liberty of the blacks; it w ill grow back because its roots are peace, but it will grow back because the trees of the Jenson 166 67). Since only the most militant among his Haitian detractors had ever
140 identification wit h Louverture less egregious. With ion narrative concealed his possible culpability in the embattlement of his administration, his bad faith was monumentally eclipsed by the convergence of ex military officers, death squad militiamen, narcoterrorists, business elites, and former Duvalierists (many of ), in a foreign supported coup that masqueraded as a liberation mission. Ghosts of Cit Soleil presents an entirely different sort of bicentennial of foreign intervention on Haitian politics, and subsequently paints a reactionary portrait of Haitian revolutionary history, one that amounts to a dis commemoration of Haitian coupling Aristide Louv erture, Ghosts of Cit Soleil implicitly corroborates a coup justifying narrative that equates Aristide with Duvalier, the most notorious of all Haitian despots. While many of the allegations against Aristide are quite serious and deserve further investig recognizes that Aristide could not transform himself into a dictator e ven if he had wanted to Canada ha d abolished the military and had not created a formal paramilitary like the tonton macoutes (146) In its reductive portrayal of Aristide, Ghosts of Cit Soleil goes well beyond mere criticism of his administration to further a fatalistic vision of Haiti an
141 sovereignty that justifies and romanticizes the coup of 2004 as well as foreign intervention in general To elucid ate this latent political narrative, I will explore the interpretive frames that Ghosts of Cit Soleil activates, the elliptical historic al narrative the film constructs, and the actors and agents that Leth uses to populate his vision of Haitian political history. Interpretive Frames, Invisible Citations Ghosts of Cit Soleil implies such an equivalency through the activation of interpretive frames. In narrative modes of communication, interpretive frames serve as discursive landmarks, or informational guideposts, that report facts in ways that encourage readers or vi ewers to rely on prior knowledge preconceptions, biases, stereotypes, myths to fill conceptual gaps and render narratives comprehensible. As Amy Potter explains in her l convictions of a group, and they often depend on references to other information within [a ] cultural framework. (213). preconceptions through a sort of invisible citation (213) The visible narrative content of a text is always accompanied by the latent narrative content that the text omits but ideologically engages through allusion and invisible citation. Throu gh quantitative act of foreign developing a solvent infrastructure (217 216 ) Furthermore, the relationship between
142 social dynamics such as poverty and political unrest goes largely une xamined. short term feat that has failed to translate into long term success because of Haitian ed to Haiti (219). These frames omit instances of foreign intervention from their descriptions of Haitian political crisis and instead invisibly cite the myths and examples from the news media are exceedingly relevant to other representations of Haitian political crisis, especially Ghosts of Cit Soleil which combines the sights and sounds of archived news media, formal interviews, and original footage to compose a highly suggestive and erratically edited audiovisual document. ve muddy 36), film reviews for Ghosts of Cit Soleil reveal the latent political orientation that this ostensibly apolitical, humanistic meditation invisibly cites regardless Reviewing Ghosts of Cit Soleil f or Sight and Sound Nick Funnell begins with an introductory paragraph that invokes the History Frame, the Political Unrest Frame, the Poverty Frame, and a vague allusion to sensationalist accounts of vodou complete with inaccurate historical dates and a tone of condescension, in the space of two sentences: republic in 1804, Haiti has since seemingly grown only as a nexus of horror. Duvalier during the 1960s and 1970s), 3 military occupations and trade embargoes have left it 3 Here, Funnell unintentionally erases nine years of Duvalierism from Haitian history: the Duvalier dynasty
143 the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, while voodoo infamy, political au ugly face of the smiling, sun kissed Caribbean. (53) New York Times Ghosts of Cit Soleil : Hip Hop ing the exploits of Bily and 2Pac as accepts at face value, Ghost of Cit Soleil decade long decline from hero of democracy for Mother Jones Julia Klein reiterates this simplistic political premise, describing Ghosts of Cit Soleil in denouncing Aristi Variety, Todd McCarthy makes a similar inference, referring to the chimres Entertainment Weekly film reviewer Owen Gilberman police Ghosts of Cit Soleil film reviews surveyed, only Malc New Internationalist departs from reification of the Political Unrest Frame by noting that while Ghosts of Cit Soleil works hard to establish irrefutable connections between Aristide and the chimres the nature of those connecti ons has never been substantiated: claim to be working for liberation theologist and former priest Jean Bertrand Aristide, Haiti's first makers hav emphasis added). As these reviews demonstrate, while Ghosts of Cit Soleil may
144 function on the surface as a personal portrait of Bily and 2Pac, pushing some of the content to the background, interpretive frames work to fill in those contextual gaps by invisibly citing preexisting colonial narratives of Haitian politics and history. Framing History The activation of these interpretive frames derives from the particul ar narrative of Haitian history that Ghosts of Cit Soleil constructs. The film opens with aerial shots of the Haitian countryside, all adorned with text summarizing an important historical moment. These screens culminate in an idiosyncratic historical n arrative comprised of As the second screen de rigeur for historical understandings of Haiti, are given dates, the third screen encompasses the two hundred years that followed Haitian Independence. Lacking pre cise historical dates, the third screen summarizes the period between Independence and the bicentennial in one elliptical description implies a chain of causality: an internal action (dictatorship) provokes an external reaction (embargo). This sleek equation underwrites the temporal logic of Ghosts of Cit Soleil and makes more dynamic understandings of the post i ndependence period inoperable within the hermeneutics of the film. The third historical date thereby orients the viewer s and rebels closing in, President Aristide
145 and his Lavalas party enlisted the support of armed gangs from the slum of Cite Soleil. February 2004 is thereby filtered through t he prism of embattled dictatorship. Thus, from the outset, the rebels are legitimized, Aristide delegitimized, and the chimers made an official extension of his administration. The participation of the very same rebels lectoral legitimacy in 1990 and 2000, and the autonomy of the chimres as well as the interference of foreign governments with both In its disavowal of the external embattlement, the historical narrative produced by these the worst example of the Political Unrest frame occurred in USA Today the second coup because adequately acknowledge that Aristide claimed he was kidnapped, whereas both the United Sta tes and France said he resigned (216 17). Ghosts of Cit Soleil duplicates this omission, adhering to the script offered in these opening screens for the duration of the film. This elliptical historical narration introduces two centuries worth of major lacunae, erasing the fact that democratic Haitian elections took place in the 1990s and 2000s as well as the negative effects of foreign intervention i n Haiti including the hypocrisy of embargoes. The US embargoes against Lieutenant General Raoul 1991 1994 junta are a case in point. T he US Office of Foreign Assets Control s electively enforced the embargo by failing ow ne baseballs and black market gasoline from alleged b coup regime, and waiting
146 lead distribution in Haiti (Freedberg and Swarns). o hundred years than dictatorships and embargoes. While many dictators did rise and fall in nineteenth and twentieth century Haiti, they did not operate in a national or even regional vacuum. Nor did they operate within the simplistic moral economy impl ied by the contrasting terms of dictatorship, which signifies internal corruption and embargo, which signifies external virtue (even if that virtue is oftentimes misguided, as screen three also seems to imply). 4 In the nineteenth century, Haiti was denie d national recognition from its fellow Western nation states until it submitted to certain economic demands, first by payin g the French indemnity of 1825, a reparations package for French losses read: land and s laves in the Haitian Revolution This failur e to consider the implications of the French indemnity commentary on Haiti. Foreign imposition of similarly predatory economic programs in recent decades also suffers from a lack of widespread recognition: Very few people, it seems, know that in 1825 the young nation of Haiti had to pay reparations to France in the form of 90 million gold francs in order for its independence to be acknowledged. In more recent times the media have failed to acknowledge the industrial development initiatives of the 1980s, which favored U.S. investors who sought to take advantage of Haiti s cheap labor. These initiatives only made Haiti more dependent on imports. Such ideas are missing from th state and failed economy. (217 18) 4 Paul Farmer describes as a myth designed to justify foreign policies that intentionally exploit Haiti in favor of Euro American interests (355).
147 By paying the French indemnity, Haiti earned French recognition of its national sovereignty but became re enslaved through the manacles of debt. Haiti became dependent on loans from Fren ch banks, fostering the institutionalization of a state system that exploits its citizenry to service debt payments while pocketing enough capital to furnish the lifestyles of the Haitian elite. National recognition, as well as more bank loans, soon follo wed from Germany, Britain, and the US. Despite its long history of trade and political relations with Haiti, the US was the last of these nations to recognize Haitian sovereignty, waiting until 1862. This cycle of loans further entrenched the Haitian kle in the early twentieth century. In 1914, an uprising against Haitian dictator Vilbrun Guillame Sam and fears of a German occupation threatened the guarantee that Haiti would be able to make its loan payments. In December of that year, t he US responded by (Renda 99). The marine occupation that followed in 1915 facilitated a rewriting of the Haitian constitution to allow foreign property ownersh ip and the training of a new Haitian army intended to suppress popular insurgency against the occupying US forces. By the end of t he occupation, fifteen to thirty thousand Haitians had been killed in combat, executed, or worked to death through forced labor, and a string of compliant dictators and a coup ready military were left to fill the vacuum left by the US marines (Hallward 14) But the French indemnity and the US Occupation of Haiti, as examples of corruption v er s us external virtue )
148 The dictatorship/embargo narrative gestures elsewhere, toward the conclusion that Aristide is simply another Haitian dictator By evacuating foreign exploitation and democratic elections (internal virtue and the legitimacy of black sovereignty) from its narration of Haitian history, the opening sequence of Ghosts of Cit Soleil conflates past dictatorships with the presidencies of Aristide. To accomplish this task, the documentary avoids sustained discussion of first presidency by relying on an unattributed US radio broadcast that elected presid ent in 1991. Now, three years into his second term, his Lavalas anonymous and disembodied voice of authority on Haitian politics, with grainy images of Aristide as a po litician that alternate with images of Aristide as a priest. Presented through the darker hues of this archival footage, these images of Aristide giving impassioned speeches as both a politician and a preacher paint Aristide as the essence of the Third Wo rld dictator who freely mixes and manipulates political and religious rhetoric. This sequence is then followed by archival footage of protestors running through Port au chimres add the aura o f popular support to the official discourse of the radio commentary. administration, including the widespread support that secured his el ection and the violent coup that replaced his administration with a repressive military junta facilitate
149 first democratically elected president on 16 December 1990, he beat out heavily funded opponents such as Ma rk Bazin, the I nternational Republic Institute /World Bank supported candidate, with a 67% share of the vote. The US also $36 million i invited the outlawed Macoute chief Roger Lafontant to return to Hait i and pose as an ultra supporters, Aristide was precisely what his bicentennial billboards would claim thirteen years later: a Louverturean figure who would deliver the Haitian people from Duvalierism, macoutism, mi litary juntas, and foreign exploitation. For his detractors, Aristide was nothing more than a radical socialist who would impede the economic growth of the Haitian business sector and roll back the advances of free market enterprise in Haiti. Internation level US delegation fronted by ex favor of (Hallward 3 7). Once in office, Aristide worked to rai se the minimum wage, and increase literacy interest in literacy promotion which dates back to his community work as a priest, was especially divisive beca use widespread literacy would enhance the access of the Haitian peasantry to the institutions of formal democracy (Ballard 218). actors had seen enough: Raoul Cdras, with support from the Haitian business elite, their partners in Europe and America, and the C entral Intelligence Agency (C IA ) deposed Aristide in a military coup. As de facto ruler, Cdras presided over a three year military junta characterized by widespread political suppression and the murder of four t housand civilians, many of whom were
150 Aristide supporters residing in Cit Soleil and other Port au Prince slums (Kaussen 158, Hallward 155). The coup was reported as a popular uprising, a legitimate expression of outrage from the citizenry, allowing misat administration (Farmer 352, 364). This misrepresentation of the coup also obscured the fact that Aristide supporters comprised the majority of the death toll. By 1993, the Front for Revolution and Progress in Haiti (FRAPH), a paramilitary death squad led by CIA informant Emmanuel Constant, had begun methodically massacring opponents of regime and only .2% were attributable to s party Fanmi Lavalas (FM) US media reporting consistently cast Cdras as a sensible moderate and Aristide as a violent militant (Farmer 2006, 186). Under this mounting pressure, Aristide was forced to negotiate with the very regime that had overthrown h im, as if legitimate political opposition rather than a violent and illegal military coup had caused his ouster. opposed forces unable to resolve Restore Democracy reinstalled Aristide in 1994, it was only after he had agreed to a host of concessions, including the provision that he w ould only preside over the remaining year of his original term. Aristide, succeeded by his more neoliberal minded Prime Minister Rene Preval, left office with a fraction of his tenure served, his policies compromised, and a large number of his political b ase massacred. In spite of these
151 leading to his reelection on 26 November 2000 by an even greater margin: 91.7% of casted votes. Chimres who enter the film through formal interviews and archival footage, and Aristide supporters, represented by Bily and 2Pac, the gangter/thugster chimres who enter the Ghosts of Ci t Soleil as a tale of sibling rivalry, for most of the film, Bily takes a back seat to 2Pac, the more sensational and music video ready of the two brothers, as indicated by his name alone an homage to African American rap legend Tupac Shakur. Blurring hi s role as documentary participant and documentary producer, Wyclef enters the film in a well ther the coordination of two cameras and microphones or a post facto recreation of at least one side of their dialogue. During the conversation, 2Pac tells Wyclef that he nicknamed lef the call on speaker phone and enthusiastically bobs his head in approval. After concluding his call people deep over there. They will live by it, and they will die by i
152 fiction and documentary truth, but the staging of this scene has more in common with reality TV production than with documentary film making. With th is statement, however, Wyclef, as participant/producer patches this seam in the film text, gesturing toward the conclusion that Ghosts of Cit Soleil documents reality in the raw This gangster rap frame is amplified by scen es that suggest but rarely show the chimres perpetrating excessive violence, including another curiously constructed and his gang oversee food distribution from the back of a relief truck. With a crowd assembled around the truck, Bily hands out large bags of food. An atmosphere of confusion and tension starts to mount as the frames cut back and forth between the truck and Ghana, who seems to shake his head in disapp roval from the back of the crowd, as shouting grows louder among the gathered. For reasons that remain unclear, an unnamed gang member suddenly fires a machine gun into the air. The gang members who had been inside the food truck run and jump down to the ground, but the crowd below only stirs curiously, they neither scatter nor duck in response to the deafeningly loud gun shot. A second shot follows from somewhere off camera. In response, Bily draws his pistol, climbs back onto the truck with assistance from one of his followers, points downward at a forty five degree angle, and pulls back his arm and torso, implying the pull of a trigger. In the split second gap that exists between this extradiagetic sound of a reverberating gunshot synchs with the next frame, which features Lele the French
153 relief aid worker 2Pac has been sleeping with turning around, in front of a surprisingly unfazed group of people, with a shocked look on her face. Le le then directly addresses the camera in the next shot, explaining that Bily has shot Ghana in the foot, as X rays of a wounded foot flash intermittently on the screen. Lele then visits Ghana to offer medical assistance and shows his foot to the camera. be real, the discrepancies between image and sound suggest heavy editing or even partial reenactment of the actual shooting. tenuously relate which 2Pac threatens to kill a women with a rock for stealing from him. 2Pac lifts the rock and begins to walk toward the woman. He aggressively strikes the rock against the ground twice and just as he begins to move closer to the woman, the film cuts to archival footage of riots and demonstrations in Port au Prince. This editing maneuver implies that 2Pac has indeed struck the woman even though the film gives no visual, auditory, or tex tual hint of confirmation and then juxtaposes this petty, cruel, gender based violence with the political turmoil ensuing in the capital. This highly suggestive editing technique, pervasive throughout the film, works to link support for Aristide with crim inality, outlandish acts of barbarity, and the thuggish connotations of US hip hop that 2Pac and Bily idolize, invisibly citing and conflating colonialist myths of Haitian savagery with the spectacle of American gangster rap. If, like Tupac Shakur, 2Pac a nd Bily employ gangster rap as a politico aesthetic stance against racial injustice, Ghosts of Cit Soleil minimizes this element of their lives, favoring instead criminality and violence.
154 Aristide supporters and their political imperatives are summarily r educed to mere represented by businessmen such as industrial factory owner Andy Apaid and his brother in law Charles Henri Baker, a presidential candidate in 2006 and 2010. Andy Apaid first appears on camera in his office, where he explains directly to the cinematographer that the metal plates covering his office walls protect him from gunfire. four she the number of bullets that have passed through his office walls. This interview is followed by archival footage of Apaid leading an orderly political rally. Surrounded by a dozen silent and respectful supporters, Apaid, microphone in hand, serves a s a stark contrast to Bily, 2Pac, and the other gang members that represent Lavalas in the film, To further this contras t Ghosts of Cit Soleil background as a supporter of both the 1991 and 2004 coups, as owner of Alpha Industries, a sweatshop conglom erate founded under Duvalier, as the patron and protector of Labanye, the anti Lavalas gang leader who murdered 2Pac in late 2004, 5 and as the head of the Group of 184 (G 184), an International Foundation for Electoral Systems ( IFES ) and U nited States Age ncy for International Development (USAID) 5 Acc in July 2003, Andy Apaid invited several Lavalas street leaders in Cit Soleil (Amaral, Dred Wilme, Tupac, Billy, an d Labanye) to a meeting. Apaid asked the young men to become the violent arm of his movement to u ndermine the elected government, and to crush the democracy movement in Cit Soleil. Only Labanye agreed 7).
155 supported 6 political association comprised of former Duvalierists, Haitian aristocrats, and media elites allied in their support for ousting Aristide because of his economic reform policies (Griffin 5, 35, 36). As human rights attorney Thomas Griffin notes in a combination with the violent band of armed attackers closing in on Port au Prince, [G 184] provided the political force in Hai However, the 2004 coup cannot be completely understood outside the context of second ouster mater ializes with crystalline clarity. Shortly after the first coup against Aristide, Apaid made no secret of his distaste for the deposed president, publicly declaring at a Miami business conference that, if Aristide returned to Haiti, he would million dollar USAID Promotion of Investment and Exports (PROMINEX) project designed to attract American and Canadian firms to the cheap labor bastion of Haiti. 7 6 is a U.S. based tax technical assistance to strengthen transit IFES has worked in Haiti since 1990 contracts for millions of dollars, often as the sole bidder ( 27 ). IFES formed new associations and established rela tionships with existing on es. Through various programs that included catered meals, accommodations, entertainment, IFES attendees to the problems with the justice system under Aristide and insisted that they act as a united group for greatest effect IFES media and journalist groups, all the radio into anti Aristide mouthpieces This strategy extended into efforts, the Fdration des Etudiants Universitaires d based at the state university in Port au Prince. Aristide escalated, IFES began a campaign to purported corruption ittee for Individual Rights (CARLI), a small, volunteer based organization $54,000 budget for creating a nd implementing a human of alleged abusers to the police, the U.S. Embassy, the OAS, and other domestic ( 28 29) 7 See Kernaghan.
156 Aristide threaten directly from this wage increase, as did his involvement in the 2004 coup. But Apaid deflected the moti vation for deposing Aristide away from labor issues, claiming instead that Aristide had fostered his own downfall by not addressing what Apaid calls the the election under President Preval) hold the elections before we are ready in January [with a G 184 in Griffin 37n33). Despite their efforts at consolidation under the opposition umbrella association Convergence Dmocratique, Apaid and his allies were unable to prepare a candidate that could compete with Through the voice of Charles Baker, Ghosts of Cit Soleil po 20 Subsequently served as election by other means. Haiti, where the geopolitics of the 1990s and 2000s continue to impact the post earthquake Haiti of 2010 2011. In 2000, for example, t he administration of US President George W. Bush and the Inter American Develop ment Bank (IADB) invoked electoral fraud allegations similar to those of Apaid and Baker as a pretense for suspending water and sanitation development loans t hat had been all o cated to Haiti. A d ecade later, these water, sanitation, and health projects rem ain incomplete. In late 2010, cholera began to spread in post earthquake Haiti through unsanitary water from
157 t he Artibonite region, one of the intended sites of the stalled water treatment project (Mukherjee) If proper water treatment facilities had bee n allowed to develop, as initially planned, the spread of cholera would have been curtailed if not completely contained within the Artibonite. Elucidating the cont inuity between the opportunism of the IADB loan suspension and the condescending irresponsib ility of the UN Stabilizing Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), French epidemiologist Renaud Piarroux reports that the cholera strain originally from Asia, was most likely introduced to Haiti through human waste dumped by Nepalese MINUSTAH troops into the Artibo 388 89). As Piarroux notes in response to this h people in Europe or the US, we would want to know exactly where it came from. So I n its grossly reductive portrayal of recent Haitian politic s, Ghosts of Cit Soleil helps sustain the narratives of Haitian incompetence that not only seek to legitimate the 1991 and 2004 coups as well as the military junta and UN occupation that respectively followed them, but also the irresponsible intervention and aid strategies that have contributed to the Romanticizing the Coup Along with Apaid and Charles Baker, Ghosts of Cit Soleil also contrasts the military and paramilitary forces who le d the coup against Aristide with Bily and 2Pac, imbuing the coup forces with an aura of professionalism and justice that distinguishes them from the connotations of criminality and pettiness that characterize the chimres The film presents Louis Jodel Chamblain and Guy Phi lippe, both career militarists
158 charged with massive human rights violations, as patriotic heroes who have come to liberate Haiti from the government of Aristide. Once again, such a warped depiction is m its narration of recent Haitian the Haitian Armed Forces (FADH) he massacred thirty voters who were waiting to participate in the first Haitian election since Franoi victory in 1957. With Haiti under the military rule of General Henri Namphy due to the ouster of Jean of a larger effo rt to extend the hegemony of the Haitian militiary temporary end. Now under the leadership of Cdras, Chamblain played a major role in the 1991 coup and co founded FRAPH with Emm anuel Constant. Under the dir ection of Constant and Chamblain, FRAPH massacred approximately 5,000 Aristide supporters (Horvitz and Catherwood 193). Continuing this pattern of militarism against Aristide, Philippe, a former Haitian police chief and FADH soldier trained by the US Spec administration in 2001. In response to his orchestration of the 2001 coup attempt, the Domini can Republic (Kovats Bernat 134). In late 2003, from their mutual refuge in the Dominican Republic, Chamblain and Philippe led an invading force comprised of exiled FADH and FRAPH militants led
159 In Ghosts of Cit Soleil however, the violence that Chamblain and Philippe again imbuing the coup with con notations of virtue and justice. For instance, a US radio broadcast (the same disembodied, anonymous voice of authority used earlier in the film) describes the return of Chamblain and Philippe as a pacifying and heroic affair : Guy Phillipe and Louis Jode thousands of jubilant Haitians, as the rebel leaders and several dozen armed fighters triumphantly drove through Port au Prince. The men who days ago pledged to take the capital by force to oust former president Jean Bertrand Aristide drove past the national palace without having to fire a single shot. This sequence is followed by sympathetically constructed interview footage of a teary eyed Chamblain. Foregoing the hip hop soundtrack that characterizes most of t he film, album Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks In the liner notes to Apollo Eno desc ribes the album as a more meditative counterpart to the excessive exposition and comm ercials, including Traffic (2000), 28 Days Later (2002), numerous episodes of Nip/Tuck (2003 2010) and even a Liberal Democrats UK television ad (Lopez). Like these other examples from film and television, Ghosts of Cit Soleil (Ascent : I want to say with a trembling voice that this warm welcome this morning mak back in my c m with my people
160 Chamblain a pacifier rather than a fomenter of violence and injustice, this redemptive These rhetor his self posturing as a returning exile and liberator who has rightfully overthrown the tyrant who unjustly banished him. Following this archival interview footage, the film moves back to Cit Soleil via impromptu footage of an anonymous Aristide supporter whose manic speech, erratic body language, and facial disfiguration make him the perfect foil for Chamblain, the subtitles, invocation of the Haitian bicentennial directly reenters the film : s 200 years! 200 years of independence. 200 years! What did you ask me? We are the people of Cite Soleil. We fought hard to get Aristide as our Preside nt. Tell little Bush we need three things. The Haitian people have three prayers: School for our kids. Food. Sleep. t need peace. We need the Chimeres to fight the extravagant systems right here in Cite Soleil. Look at us today. I feel like killing you to take your camera. eference to Haitian Independence seems nonsensical, especially after the man asks for the question to be repeated by the cinematographer or film crew (the question itself is never heard, and the questioner is ne ver seen). Subsequently, his leap associates his administration with his absurd invocation of the Haitian bicentennial: a serialization of failed Haitian sovereignty that serves to discommemorate Haitian Independence. T hrough his r eference to George H. W. Bush, this man also comes to embody the stereotype of the impoverished person who refuses factors from its depiction of Haitian politics. Th e violence of his gestures soon becomes a feature of his words, as the man calls for continued fighting from the chimres against
161 speech from the composed and sincere el of violence against the cinematographer, as if driven mad by poverty and starvation, this Aristide supporter benefits not from the sympathetic portrayal given to Chamblain. At this point, Aristide has long si nce vanished from the film. A brief comment, once again from the anonymous and authoritative voice of a US radio broadcaster, provi des only the faintest fled into exile and left Port au Prin images of an upturned piano outside the presidential palace and an overflying plane The upturned piano, as an imagistic allusion to the overthrow of aristocratic power, gives the coup connotations of popula r revolt, as if Chamblain and Philippe have perpetrated their own jacquerie against the Haitian royal court. Subsequently, the a suggestive succession of images that e resignation/kidnapping as well as the broader geopolitical mechanics that forced him into exile. Through its use of interpretive frames that invisibly cite neo/ colonialist narratives of illegitimate Haitian sove reignty, its elliptical and elusive narration of Haitian history, its consistent elision of the external factors that have compounded Haitian political strife, and its sensationalized contrasting of thuggish Aristide supporters with professional and Ghosts of Cit Soleil forwards a pro interventionist perspective on recent Haitian politics that romanticizes the coup of 2004 while erasing its direct relationship with the coup of 1991. While as Mark
162 S c huller notes, disagreement among the vast majority of Haitian people living in Haiti at the time the worse Characterized by increased violence e economic crisis and (192). The very same could be said for the conditions that followed Ghosts of Cit Soleil participates in obscuring these rse impact of foreign intervention and neoliberal development schemes in favor of exotic depictions of Through its discommemorating subtext on the Haitian bicentennial, Ghosts of Cit Soleil inscribes its fatalistic vision within a larger vision of Haitian history that delegitimizes Haitian exploits of Bily and 2Pac, who come to embody a hip hop inflected update of the Afro Haitian savage of colonial discourse.
163 CHAPTER 6 FROM DUVALIERISM TO DECHOUKAJ IN THE DEW BREAKER The Dew Breaker as a text that offers a more humane and complex depiction of Haitian political violen ce than Ghosts of Cit Soleil forth by hegemonic sources like Ghosts of Cit Soleil The Dew Breaker demonstrates not only the geopolitical ramifications of reductive acco unts of postcolonial political violence but also, much like The Shadow of Imana and Deogratias in the Rwandan context, the ways in which they obstruct efforts at reconstruction, reconciliation, and forgiveness by reifying the political and moral dichotomiz ation of post crisis populations. Danticat constructs this red emptive frame by re humanizing the figure of the tonton macoute novel and screenplay The Comedians (1966, 1967), a founding t ext of Euro American discourse on Duvalierism/macoutism. To highlight the discursive force of The Comedians to the novel and thereby strengthens the intertextual resonance between T he Dew Breaker and The Comedians Rather than replacing the discommemoration and dehumanization of texts like Ghosts of Cit Soleil and The Comedians with honorific memorialization, however, The Dew Breaker eschews exclusive focus on a particular moment o f Haitian political crisis or on a single political personality such as Aristide or Duvalier. Instead, Danticat stresses the migratory, transnational, and cyclical dynamics of Haitian political strife as well as its effects on ordinary Haitians and Haitia n Americans and thereby resists the political instrumentalization that often accompanies narrowly
164 construed accounts of crisis such as Hotel Rwanda Murambi Smile Through the Tears and Ghosts of Cit Soleil The Frame of Evil In 1957, Fran Haitian countryside, ascended to power through a rigged presidential election. Running on a platform of noiriste a ngritude influenced counter ideology to mulatto elitism, Papa Doc held significant sway with the rural black peasantry, the urban black middle class, and the largely black Haitian military. Despite this widespread popularity, however, Papa Doc saw fit to ensure his election through intimidation and electoral manipulation (Lundahl 266), stron gman tactics that foreshadowed the coming totalitarianism of his self was his creation in 1962 of a personal secret police force, the Volontaires de la Scurit Nationale commonly known as th e tonton macoutes was used to intimidate real or imagi 257). Across Europe and North America, British author Graham Greene popularized the image of the tonton macoutes with their denim uniforms and ever present dark sunglasses, in his novel and subsequent Hollywood screenplay The Comedians (1966/1967). In the dedication note to the novel, Greene asserts the unmitigated realism of his work, describing Duvalier and the tonton macoutes through the symb blackened for dramatic effect. Impossible to deepen that night. The Tontons Macoute are full of men more evil than Concasseur macoute captain (2). The Comedians tourist destination to a totalitarian state through the eyes of Mr. Brown, a British
165 expatriate who owns and operates a hotel i n Port au Prince. Based largely but by no once after The Comedians illustrates an oppressive and brutal period of Haitian history requiring, as Greene argues, no sensational ism The Comedians renders Haitian hile much of the violence and oppression depicted in The Comedians was a common feature of the Duvalierist state, what is at stake in such a depiction of Haitian politics, a depiction that emphasizes darkness and tonton macoute s to the transcendental signifier of evil, a concept associated with an intrinsic spiritual essence, the soul? This question lies at the center of my reading of Haitian American writer Edwidge The Dew Breaker a novel that also depicts the vio lence and depravity of Duvalierism but in a markedly different way through a humanizing rather than a demonizing portrayal of a tonton macoute The Dew Breaker dramatizes the social and political links that connect Haiti and the United States through the relation of numerous Haitian and Haitian American characters to the central figure of the Dew Breaker, a tonton macoute who once tortured political prisoners for Papa Doc but now, thirty seven years later, tries to live a peaceful and anonymous life of exi le in Brooklyn, New York. Through the force of allusion, Danticat makes the connection between The Dew Breaker and The Comedians al l the stronger. I ered in hotel bars at the end of long days of secretly counting corpses and typing single spaced
166 the dedication note to The Comedians Impossible to deepen that night While a full reading of The Comedians which does have more to offer than mere sensationalism, is beyond the s cope of this which announces both the veracity and moral absolutism of his work situates The Dew Breaker as an intervention in the Euro American discourse on Duvalierism/macoutism that was profoundly shaped 1 of evil that serves as an explanatory device for Haitian political violence in a wide array of media, including novels and films like The Comedians and even hum anitarian reporting. Invoking Greene, these human rights workers depict men like the Dew Breaker as devils, intrinsically evil beings who, in accordance with their essential malevolence, inevitably perpetrate evil deeds. This Manichean moral schema (good versus evil) evacuates structural concerns from consideration of Haitian politics and dehumanizes the victims and victimizers enmeshed in such systemic political violence. Departing from the explicatory frame of evil, the multi voiced and chronologicall y fragmented narrative of The Dew Breaker elucidates the geopolitical inequities that foment Haitian political strife and depicts the tonton macoute not as a demonic embodiment but as a human figure corrupted by harrowing social conditions. Nine short sto ries comprise The Dew Breaker, each story interweaving with the others to create a 1 As Dash notes, "[t]here is no American equivalent to Greene's novel about Haiti, no work that has spawned so many different versions, rewritings or interpretations of itself. American attitudes to Haiti from the 1960s onwards are marked by the singular influence of The Comedians and its debt to Conrad's earlier imaginative fixing of Africa" in Heart of Darkness (101).
167 novel from originally autonomous parts. 2 The characters of each story, from the diasporic characters living in Brooklyn to those living in rural Haiti, are connected to one nited S tates (US) and Haiti and span the administrations of Francois and Jean Claude Duvalier (1957 1986) as well as Jean Bertrand Aristide, their democratically elected successor (1991, 1994 1996, 2001 2004), and the first administration of Ren Prval (1996 2001), revealing the transnational and cyclical dynamics that perpetuate Haitian political violence. This tr ansnational and broadly periodized narrative thereby resists the commemorative process of fixating on a particular moment of crisis or a particular political figurehead, often for partisan, politically instrumentalist ends. Through these narrative strateg ies The Dew Breaker rehumanizes the tonton macoute and demonstrates that Haiti is neither isolated from Western hemispheric politics nor anterior to North American modernity. you Macoute The establishing s tory of The Dew Breaker Bienaime thirty seven years removed from his life as a macoute a temporal and spatial distancing from the scene of his crimes that fosters empathy for the now elderly family man and Brooklyn barber whose name itself calls attention to his progression. 2 The Dew Breaker appeared in periodic publications as short stories, albeit not always in identical form.
168 has gone to report her father miss ing from their hotel room. As Ka explains to the hotel manager and a police officer, she and her father have been travelling from Brooklyn to carving of Bienaime depicted as a pris oner in a Haitian jail, has also gone missing from the hotel. As the hotelier and police officer question Ka about her father, she leads them to believe that she was born in Haiti, despite being an American citizen by birth. In a retrospective narration, with my parents 4). A first generation Haitian American, Ka registers a feeling of dislocation, of severed origins. She wishes to have Haiti in common with her parents, but her birth and upbringing in America make Haiti a lost, irretrievable homeland. This generat ional gap between Haitian born parents and their US born daughter also This f Haitian past from the stories she has heard of their lives: this idealized family history grants Ka access to the national cultural origins from which she feels estranged. Ka c reates a concrete embodiment of this idealized past in the form of her wood wound inflicted upon him by a Haitian prison guard during his year of incarceration (5).
169 e of him was the reason for our trip: a three foot mahogany figure of my father, naked, kneeling on a half foot square base, his back arched like the curve of a crescent moon, his downcast eyes fixed on his very long fingers and the large palms of his hand s. It sanctioned torture) and survival (in diasporic exile). But, as will be re vealed to her when relationship with the Duvalierist torture state. Bienaime has thrown the sculpture away in shame because it embodies the fallacy of his revised life story Bienaime was not the victim but the victimizer, a state appointed torturer, during his time in the Haitian the prey. Ka, your father was the hunter, he was not the prey. Ka, I was never in prison. I was working in the prison. It was one of the prisoners inside the prison who cut my face in this way. This man who cut my face I shot and killed him, 21 nt nightmares (23), demonstrates the gravity of his crimes, their manifestation as a burdensome family secret he has long wished to Egyptian Book of the Dead Ka realizes that Bienaime had, in fact, been giving a circumscribed confession to her for many years, if only she
170 one weep. I have never been angry without cause. I have never uttered any lies. I inkling that maybe my father was wrong in his own representation of hi s former life, that represented by the twins of the lwa ue situation of her father in the Haitian prison, Ka, the daughter, opts for a dialectic position, as if applying the Marasa principle of doubleness from voudou lore, seeing her father as both victim ding, I suggest that Ka actually reiteration of a kill or be killed binary. Bienaime, in other words, speaks as though his conscription into the macoutes negated the fate of certain death he was a man with no choice but to become a killer. Ka provides a perspective of shock and abhorrence but one that is not devoid of sympathy, as she tries to reconcile the father she had idealized as a virtuous victim with the fathe r who has just been revealed to her as a brutal torturer. Rather than dialectically synthesizing father as victim with father as victimizer, an inauthentic reductio n of the other paths he could have chosen. with Gabrielle Fonteneau, the Haitian her mother Anne. After explaining to Fonten eau that Bienaime has thrown the sculpture
171 know that I will be able to work on anything for some time. I have lost my subject, the prisoner father I loved as well as pit her imagined link to Haiti as a place of origin. For Gonzlez, in keeping with the Marasa principle, Ka sees her father as a victim of the Duvalierist state as well as a victimizer: dictatorship which engendered violence, persecution and oppression but also a great deal of fear on the part of those who had to follow orders to kill and torture. There is no justific The Dew Breaker does indeed demonstrate the systemic brutality that creates a tonton macoute and asks us to ponder the possibility of redemption, but it does not do so through hurt the people. T his is how I see it. He a seed thrown in rock. You, me, we make him redemptive proverb about seed thrown in rock. Instead, she reimagines the sculpture of ng mantis, crouching motionless, seeming to pray, while actually longer sees her father as a noble victim but as a duplicitous victimizer who hides his predatory intentions behind a mask of kindness.
172 redemption and atonement, and while this may initially see m merely the sentiment of a wife standing by her husband, we learn in the final chapter that Anne is equally haunted by a tortured past, as her own brother in law was murdered by Bienaime. A Bel Air priest preaching Liberation Theology influenced sermons at his church and on his radio in 85). This concluding story depicts the eve nts leading up to the murder of events that led him to join the tonton macoutes church, the Dew Breaker sends a young boy to buy him ci garettes. Noticing a tattered exchange leads Bienaime to think back on the first facto r that contributed to his descent into macoutism power in 1957, when a few local army officials decided they wanted to build summer homes there. Consequently his father had gone mad and his mother had simply hopeless, the young Bienaime becomes a perfect candidate for Vol unteers recruitment. the Volunteers came to his town bussing people to a presidential rally in the capital.
173 Along with this awe inspiring display of political power, po verty induced starvation also influences Bienaime, making him a promising candidate for conscription into the tonton macoutes Bienaime recalls the hunger he felt on the day of his recruitment after noticing that the boy he gave three gourdes has used the money to buy goat meat, plantains, and a few loose cigarettes. Watching from his car as the boy shares his food with a group of friends, Bienaime is once again transported back to the scene of that fateful Flag Day: And so he watched the boys suck the m arrow out of the fried goat bones until the bones squeaked like whistles and clarinets and he thought of how find its own way home and when one of the many men in denim who were circ ling the palace that day had approached him and asked him whether he wanted to join the Miliciens, the Volunteers, what later would be called the macoutes. (195) Joining the macoutes privileges. W watching his bod Volunteers status also earns him free boarding and enough status to indulge in many sexual partners of all classes (196). Enjoying unfettered access to sex, fancy cloth es, and extravagant meal s, the Dew B reaker gorges and satiates his many appetites the internal weight of his many lusts physically mirrored by his corpulence. assault of the preacher, these interspe
174 not to exonerate him but to elucidate his humanity by exposing the systemic exploitation that led him to this moment, the scene of his final crime. Rather than one of Graham goll The Comedians (132), Bienaime is depicted as both a subject constrained by structures of social and political power as well as an agent who still makes decisions within those constraints. For instance, t he ition within the very system that created him is failing to follow orders twice (first by arresting rather than assassinating the preacher, then by maiming and killing r ather than torturing and releasing him) Bienaime rightly fears for his life because he has breached the constraints of his position with the Duvalierist state spread out, a puddle of blood g rowing around his torso, the fat man wanted to vomit. fits overtake him, suggesting n ot only fear of retribution but also a moral purgation of past sins. Bienaime expresses the desire to purge himself of his prior life when he meets Anne, who had been running toward the prison just as Bienaime had been running away from it. Fearing the w orst for her brother after hearing of his arrest, Anne, The two collide and fall to the ground, inflicted upon him by the preacher. to the depth of her concern for her brother, and her white satin nightgown demonstrates
175 the spontaneity of h soaked with Bienaime with the connotations of a marriage ceremony a marriage predicated on the imperative of survival and founded on the basis of a consensual lie as a victim rather than a v prisoner escaping from Casernes. After escorting him back her house, Anne nurses his wound. As the dew breaker convalesces, Anne asks him a powerful question, unaware of what the dew break you opened a door, produced a small path, which he could follow. One day many ways it was true. He had escaped from his life. He could no longer return to it, no longer wanted to. (237) While Anne believes she is asking the tortured what his brutalizers have done to him, she is actually asking the torturer about his structural violence that preyed on his childhood disenfranchisemen t and lured him with every vice imaginable to a life of killing. He can now rewrite his life in exile, and as Anne and Bienaime help each other build new lives in a foreign land, they develop an unusual bond based on a revised past: c story, the one that the preacher had killed himself. And she accepted that he had only arrested him and
176 turned him over to someone else. Neither believing the other nor themselves. But 1). Anne and Bienaime both consent to centering their wedded life around a lie, ultimately an act of survival based on a shared attempt to transcend the past and begin anew. Through Anne, The Dew Breaker nsider the implications of allowing him to start life over, anonymously atoning for his sins in exile. grow, her attitude of forgiveness and sympathy persists even with com plete knowle dge of his life as a dew b reaker. Haunted by nightmares and prone to ritualistically perform the Negative Confession, transcending the past is easier said than done for Bienaime, just as it is for his victims. Even for Anne, the character mos t willing to grant Bienaime the possibility of atonement, there is no complete settling into the founding lie of their capacity for forgiveness as a potential model for moving forward and healing old her to confront the possibility of encount ering another man guilty of politically motivated acts of violence against the Haitian people as co founder and leader of the anti Aristide death squad FRAPH (Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti), oversaw th e rape, torture, and massacre of nearly 5,000 Aristide supporters during the military junta of 1991 1994 (Horvitz and
177 ustice, an absence perceived as present when a much younger Ka mistakes an anonymous parishioner for him at a Christmas Eve Mass. The man resembles the wanted flyers Ka has seen ES presence, Anne recalls the print, television, and radio news reports through which she h followers by circling entire neighborhoods with gasoline, setting houses on fire, and shooting fleeing resident s. Anne had read about their campaigns render them unidentifiable. After the president returned from exile, Constant fled to New York on Christmas Eve. He was tried in absentia in a Haitian court and sentenced to life in prison, a sentence he would probably never serve. (79) By situating this false sighting of Constant at a Christmas Eve Mass, Danticat calls s Eve, a day reserved for family celebration and religious observance, and a Catholic church, a location associated with worship and sanctuary, are haunted by Constant and the international breech in justice that his exile in the US represents. 3 3 Despite requests from the Haitian government for his extradition and his in absentia conviction for murder by a Haitian court, Constant remains in the US to this day (Horvitz and Catherwood 194). To obstruct US deportation efforts against him, Constant publicly described his role as a CIA informant on 60 Minutes in December 1995 and threatened to reveal more in a wrongful imprisonment law suit against Jane t Reno and Warren Christopher (Davis 267 268), effectively blackmailing his way to impunity. whom were exiled as a result of Constant and FRAPH in the 1990 s) until as recently as October 2008, when Constant was sentenced to twenty seven years in prison not for his long record of human rights violations in Haiti but for his participation in a mortgage fraud s cam in the US (Friedrichs 208).
178 se sighting of Constant, a Haitian war criminal whose role as a C entral I ntelligence A gency (CIA) informant shields him from sentencing in Haiti, elucidates the transnational US Haiti scope of Haitian political violence and forces Anne to compare s crimes with those of her husband: How different are these two men? If Bienaime deserves forgiveness, does Constant as well? Or is the breech of justice embodied by Constant also embodied by Bienaime? When Anne recalls seeing around town, she is clearly distressed by the implications that this campaign for justice bring to bear on her secret life of exile with Bienaime, were separated by t hirty plus years, she might arrive at her store one morning to find prospective presenc e at Christmas Eve Mass leads Anne to a broader questioning of inherited by marrying he extend her model of forgiveness beyond her own husband, demonstrating that what may constitute redemption for one party may constitute a failure of justice for another. If Constant deserves A detachment from one and intimacy with the other or in the severity of their crimes? Conversely, if Constant d
179 accountability for those crimes lose all meaning? inates knowledge of his whereabouts would expand the interest of justice beyond Anne to the macoute public knowledge of his life in anony mity versus public visibility, however, the cases of Bienaime and Constant diverge in two important ways: first, unlike Bienaime, Constant held a state and CIA sponsored leadership position from which he oversaw the mutilation, rape, and murder of exponen tially more victims than Bienaime; second, and perhaps more importantly, Constant has never demonstrated the desire to repent and begin life anew, a desire that The Dew Breaker 4 If, as Greene suggests of Haiti, nly the nightmares are real in this place (172) there truly would be no room for justice, forgiveness, or redemption, only vengeance, inhumanity, and the answering of evil with more evil. But T he Dew Breaker however by rehumanizing the tonton macoute forces us to consider difficult questions concerning the nature of justice, vengeance, forgiveness, and redemption. It is precisely these questions that offer a 4 As Constant decla red in 1997, reflected in his presidential aspirations in Horvitz and Catherwood 194).
180 means for deferring judgment and suspending retribution, and it is precisely these questions that th e frame of evil disallow s Retribution, or Revenge? The remainder of this chapter will focus on how The Dew Breaker demonstrates the importance of such deferred judgment through its de pictions of reprisal killings and exposes the fine line that exists between retributive justice and mere vengeance. Dany, a Haitian migr who lives in Brooklyn but has returned to the rural Hait ian village of Beau Jour to visit his elderly Aunt Estina. Orphaned at the age of six by the dew breaker, Dany has since been consumed by the desire for retribution. He has returned to Beau Jour to tell Aunt Estina that he has found begins to fantasize about murder ing Bienaime, who had shot his parents and blinded Aunt Estina by setting fire to their house in Port au Prince (104 105). Interrupted during the day by visiting neighbors, Dany only manages to convey his message to Aunt Estina through his dreams, as both aunt and nephew are palannits or night talkers, those who had come close to exacting his revenge two nights before his trip to Beau Jour, m while Anne was out of town at a church event. As he looks down on the sleeping Bienaime, Dany imagines choking or smothering him, but an unexpected realization stays his hand: years,
181 to feel pity. It was something else, something less measurable. It was the dread of being wrong, of harmin g the wrong man, of making the wrong woman a widow and the wrong child an orphan. It was the realization that he would never know why why one single person had been given the power to destroy his entire life (107). s his humanity (the effects of time, travel, and visually implying that this barber may not be the same man he was four decades ago if he even is the right person and not ano mistaken identity. Whether or not Bienaime is the actual killer Dany has been searching for all these years, the fear of killing the wrong man grows to overshadow his quest for revenge. Dany comes to realize that even if he could find assurance that Bienaime is, in fact, the dew breaker murdering him will never assuage his sorrow or provide an Dany only risks bringing more harm and sorrow into the world, afflicting not only his primary target but the fa mily members with which his target is inextricably linked. He will never know why the dew breaker had been able to destroy his life and killin g him will not change that. Dany thereby realizes that vengeance is not justice and that if he were to kill Bienaime, tather than lessening his own sorrow, he would pass it on to others. defer judgment and suspend, indefinitely, his pursuit of retribution. Dany only experiences this provisional form of closure by returning to Beau Jour a necessary journey indicative of the transitory and transnational causes and effects of Haitian political violence Due to the diasporic fragmentation that has sent Dany to the US, reconnecting with Aunt Estina who offers Dany a connection to his deceased
182 parents can only be accomplished by travelling back to Haiti, the site of his family origins as well as t he violence that destroyed his family and forced him into exile. Speaking to Aunt Estina through his dreams allows Dany to share his internalized least partially, healed. A fter this ameliorative exchange, for instance, Dany wakes to find Aunt Estina dead (110), and while her passing brings great sorrow, it also brings a could at last witness a peaceful death and see how it was meant to be mourned. In this regard, ansnational through the migrat ory exile and return of Dany and the many others who return willingly demonstrates how the systemic violence of Duvalierism links country and city as well as postcolony and metropole. For J. Michael Dash this visit to Beau Jour undercuts the idealized rural space that the H aitian migr hopes to find returns is called Beau Jour, suggesting the romanticized space of home that the migrant cherishes. However, it is the space of the b . ( rural Haitian space, it cannot be due to the murdering of since their assassination actually takes place in Port au Prince. A s Elizabeth Walcott Hackshaw notes, Danticat often draws such a distinction between the city as a site of strife and the country as a site of peace:
183 distinction between a return to the capital and to the countryside. The capital, Port au Prince, is the site of violence where nightmares are created, whereas the Haitian While Beau Jour does figure as a site of healing and Port au Prince as a site of trauma, the dichotomy between idyllic, rural space and violent, urban space is ultimately blurred, as the violence perpetrated by Bienaime follows Dany intra and internationally. Rather than a rural Haiti cut off from the modern centers as well as North America. The type of retributive violence Dany forgoes is most directly addressed in the chap ter Extending these issues of judgment and retribution to a macro political scale the waves of reprisal killings that accompanied story is bookended by the fall of one dictatorship and the impending emergence of another. On 7 February 1986, Baby Doc, under the pressure of a popular uprising, renounced his power and went into exile. On 5 February 2004, the Cannibal Army, an anti Ari stide militia comprised of former soldiers and FRAPH members who had participated in the 1991 coup, captured the city of Gonaives. Within three weeks, the Cannibal Army along with reinforcements from exiled military cadres invading from the Dominican Rep ublic had successfully executed a second coup against Aristide. A multinational, 45,000 strong occupying force led by the US quickly filled the governance c
184 nature of these historical moments through the narration of Michel, a soon to be father whose fa ther was killed for political reasons Speaking into a cassette tape recorder, Michel recalls the events of February 1986 for his unborn son, whose due date in now an ex pectant father imbues the cyclicality of modern Haitian political strife, from symbolics of patriarchal crisis: three months before my birth I had lost my father to somethin g my mother of mostly fatherless boys, though some of our fathers were still living, even if somewhere else in the provinces, in another country, or across the alley not acknowledgi ng us. A great many of our fathers had also died in the regime. (141) The political violence Michel describes shatters families, making orphans and sending fathers into exile. This description characterizes such political strife as deriving from a kind of patriarchal dysfunction, a dysfunction Michel strives to overcome by communing with his son in utero It should be noted that this emphasis on father son relationships does n ot reveal a phallocentric tendency in The Dew Breaker When considered in anot her means for symbolically articulating the personal impact of Haitian political crisis particularly in its effect on young males T symbol of insolvent and corrupt governance but also as an example of just how profoundly the political can affect the personal, with each recurrent regime, coup, and junta creating cyclical violence and scores of fatherless children. There is much more,
185 Tontons Macoute in their dark glasses. (304) ; there is a dramatic human cost, systemically perpetuated by an entrenched cycle of poverty, violence, and reprisal rather than a manifestation of metaphysical e vil father Duvalier has children orphaned by his exile, and their orphaning rather than their reintegration into Haitian society has grave con sequences orphaned a large number of loyal militiamen, who had guarded after those militiamen, those macoutes, with the deter mination of an army in the middle macoutes can be seen as part of the complex Haitian political concept of dechoukaj Creole Dechoukaj describes t he process of renewal and regeneration that follows the demise of political tyranny, in this case Duvalierism, and can refer to attempts at reconciliation, public grieving, and political restructuring (Averill 161). The political will manifested in dechou kaj can and has also led to retributive torture and olfactory imagery s the stench of kerosene and burning tires wafting through the air. It was only a matter of time before the rubber smell would be replaced with that The insatiable brutality of macoutism and the attendant outrage it has created in the Ha itian citizenry should not be trivialized through myopic readings of such retributive violence; just as the actions of the dew breaker are rendered systemic in the
186 Systemic understanding, however, does not equal exoneration or justifi cation, and Danticat critique s dechoukaj through the reactions of Dany and Michel, who abstain f rom taking vengeance against former ton ton macoutes riend of a metaphor of self vampirism for such retributive violence. When Romain replies evident question: 53). Necklacing and other forms of retributive violence can be seen as such an act of self vampirism, as reprisals of torture and murder fuel a recurring cycle of violence within the Haitian body politic The Dew Breaker tonton maco ute as well as its many scenes of attempted forgiveness, deferred judgment, and suspended retribution, demonstrate an alternative, wherein the prospect of cyclical violence might be prevented or, at the very least, diminished. The recent reemergence of political figureheads from the Haitian past highlights the importance of fostering a migrato ry, cyclical, transnational, non partisan and reconciliation rather than revenge oriented vision of Haitian politics. With the recent repatriations of Francois D uva lier and Aristide to Haiti comes the possibility that hardline Duvalierist s as well as militant Lavalassians may use the appearance of their once
187 wounds, and exer The Dew Breaker much like The Shadow of Imana disrupts such appropriative and partisan historical perspectives by using chronological fragmentation and multiple narrators to depi ct the complexities of postcolonial political violence. Such a refusal to reduce Haitian political crisis to a particular time, place, and administration works against political dichotomization and the retributive violence it often fuels. Staying the han d of reprisal offers a first and necessary step toward mitigating past tensions and n urturing the development of stability and reconciliation in the future and it is only through the humanizing rather than the demonizing of the political opposition that s uch a context of suspended retribution can be realized
188 CHAPTER 7 (RE)HISTORICIZING TH E HAITIAN REVOLUTION IN THE KINGDOM OF THIS WORLD AND THE SALT ROADS successful lar ge scale slave rebellion and war for independence, as the ground zero of postcolonial violence in historical as well as discursive/symbolic terms. For the slaveholding nations of Europe and North America, the revolting slaves of Saint Domingue represented a material threat to the slave trade economy and a discursive threat to the founding myths of colonial racism, namely, that Africans and their descendants were incapable not only of governing themselves but also of envisioning and yearning for freedom alt ogether. Hence, for many Europeans and North Americans t he Haitian Revolution was an outpouring of African bloodlust, not a war for independence and sovereignty, that c ould eventually be contained onc e the slaves had been reconquered and reacclimated to their natural position of passivity and servitude with in the colonial order This primitivizing view of the Haitian Revolution has provided fodder for the colonial stereotypes of African and Afro Caribbean violence that inform texts such as Ghosts of Cit Soleil and The Comedians and, even more recently, attributed the earthquake of 2010 to the Satanic African magic they associate with the Haitian Revolution (Obenson) The ascendance of Caribbean literature in the twentieth century provided a significant vehicle for contesting the colonial logics of race and modernity that posit the Haitian Revolution as merely a primitive and shortsighted revolt led by savage and irrational African and African descended slaves This chapter focuses on a recent text within this Caribbean literary tradition, Caribbean The
189 Salt Roads Blending the genres of speculative fiction and magical realism, Hopkinson co nfronts the assumptions of colonial discourse by spiritually and culturally connecting three African descended women through the subaltern religion of vodou Ezili, a female vodou lwa or spirit, links these women across time and space (the three protagoni sts reside in pre revolutionary Haiti, nineteenth century France, and fifth century Egypt) to imaginatively center the marginalized history of the Haitian R evolution as well as the lives of these African descended women as integral aspects of modern world history This radically periodized historical vision also revises the Caribbean literary canon from which The Salt Roads derives by launching a feminist critique of the masculinist Caribbean nationalism The Kingdom of This World a founding text of magical realism that confronts the assumptions of colonial discourse but also minimizes the contributions of slave women to Haitian revolution ary history and exoticizes and glamorizes the reprisa l rapings of the wi ves and daughters of the French colonizers. Silencing the Haitian Revolution An ironic drama of cinematic proportions unfolded at the La Rochelle naval port in France, midsummer 1792. Three years since the uprising of Parisian revolutionaries against thei inspection before journeying to the colony of Saint Domingue, where they would join a French military contingent unsuccessfully attempting to quell a colony wide slave rebellion. The ir ony lies in the revolutionary mottos these young troops had affixed to (Scott 1 2). La Salle, the infamous French general, found no fault with the first two insc
190 s. La Salle argued that if they inher ited such ideas is crossing the sea to bring peace a 3). He convi nced the F or La Salle, the slave revolt constituted an eruption of Afri can irrationality fomenting in re bellious violence against the institution of slavery. If those slaves acquired the French Enlightenment principles of liberty, equality, and brotherhood through proximity to the slogans borne by La Salle this irrational and fleeting revolt might achieve political consciousness and become that much harder to contain. La Salle what Michel Revolution. Even though t he slaves of Saint Domingue had begun revolting en masse the previous year, La Salle clung to the idea that this revolutionary uprising was a mere spasm of violence born of temporary discontent Hence, the tenets of French republicanism remain ed dangerous ideas, ideas that c ould instill a yearning for freedom in these otherwise docile slaves : a firm hand would quell the revolt and return the slaves to their typical state of happy obedience, so long as they were not corrupted by the ideals of European equal ity. Due to this the Haitian
191 history with the peculiar characteristic of being unthinka ble even as Trouillot 73) While abolitionist and anticolonial movements had gained popularity by the late eighteenth century, colonialism and slavery as well as the racism that underwrote them were typically treated as separate subjects in the realms of philosophical, political and legal debate ; hence, abolitionists often protested the Atlantic slave trade on pragmatic and economic rather than moral and ethical grounds ( Trouillot 80). In other words, e ven though abolition was thinkable, the universal equality of all humanity, Africans and Europeans alike, was not. More fundamentally, then Trouillot 87). Such unthin kability has e pistemological gaps, in both professional and popular histories of the Haitian Revolution which emphasize some facts while minimizing or ignoring others ( Trouillot 26). Subsequently, m any commentators and w riters of varying silencing the agency and humanity of the revolting slaves by treating the Haitian Revolution as a subordinate rather than a related event to th e French Revolution excising it Revolutions and focusing on European players at the expense of African and Haitian ones ( Trouillot 98, 106) Despite these epistemological prejudices the Haitian Revoluti on remains historically and symbolically important as the origin ary moment of postcolonial / anticolonial violence in the Caribbean and the Global South more generally F or this very reason twentieth and twenty first century Caribbean literature has be en a major
192 site for contesting reductive, colonialist understandi ngs of the Haitian Revolution and the sensationalized image of black violence they promote in texts as far ranging as The Comedians and Ghosts of Cit Soleil As Lizabeth Paravisini Gebert explains in Literature of the Caribbean the Haitian Revolution pl Caribbean literary and intellectual luminaries such as C. L. R. James, Aim Cesaire, and Derek Walcott to name but a few, have all pu t their imaginat ive mark on Haitian r evolution ary history rendering it an event of modern, global, and ongoing importance by confronting the notion that the revolt in Saint Domingue was a mere outbreak of African savagery This chapter focus es on a re cent work within t his literary tradition, Caribbean novel The Salt Roads (2003) which confronts both the primitivizing gaze of colonial discourse and the masculinism of postcolonial nationalist appropriations of the Haitian Revolution Exe mplary of the latter Cuban novelist Alejo The Kingdom of This World (1948), a primary intertext of The Salt Roads seek s the Haitian Revolution but replaces them with a m asculinist Caribbean nationalism that silences the participation of women in Haitian revolutionary history A founding text of magical realism, The Kingdom of This World takes an important detour away from the historical tradition of focusing on the revol utionary leadership (canonized figures suc h as Toussaint Louverture or Jean Jacques Dessalines ) and instead emphasizes Makandal, a pre revolutionary figure, an d an obscure slave Ti No l. This shift away from the leadership of the Revolution instantiates a subaltern approach to narrating the Haitian Revolution, one that allows for a broad periodization of the Haitian Revolution
193 (from the 1750s to 1826) engenders a critique of th e revolutionary leade rship. Despite the broad periodization a nd subaltern approach to history however, The Kingdom of This World continues to assert a masculinist Caribbean nationalism that minimizes the importance of women to the Revolution. Vi olent acts of machismo also characterize The Kingdom of This World, reprisal r apes of women colonists and inattention to the revolutionary contributions of slave women In The Salt Roads Hopkin son challenges such nationalist machismo as well as colonialist condescension by using the subaltern religion of vodou to connect three female protagonists living in three distinct historical periods. Influenced by magical realism as well as speculative f radi cal/transhistorical periodization not only reclaims the Haitian Revolution as an important aspect of world history but also emphasizes the agency and importance of the historically marginalized African descended women colonial discourse as well as Caribbean nationalis m Facilitated by her fabulist/speculative approach to literature, are connected across time and space by Ezili, a female lwa a spirit of the vodou religion Throughout the novel Ezili possesses Mer, a slave in ei ghteenth century Saint Domingue, Jeanne Duval, France, an d Thais, a prostitute in fifth century Egypt. Mer, Jeanne, and Thais are women who have like the Haiti an Revolution itself epistemological process of historical silencing on a personal level. As a female slave in eighteenth century Saint Domingue, Mer represents an historical absence, a figure
194 omitted from dominant histori ography and minimized in Caribbean nationalist writings such as The Kingdom of This World Jeanne Duval also suffers from the biases of dominant historiography, entering the historical record through Baudelaire scholarship, a critical tradition that has e hagiography, which describes her as a fo rmerly sex addicted prostitute saved from her self induced debauchery by a miracle of conversion. The Salt Roads historically recovers these absent, silenced, or misrepresented women and places them in the context of Haitian history through their connecti on to each other and Saint Domingue through Ezili. If Western epistemology subsumes other histories into its fabric, constructing events like the Haitian Revolution as ideological byproducts of events like the French Revolution, Hopkinson produces a rever sal of this relationship by conne cting eighteenth century Haiti, n ineteenth century France, and fifth century Egypt through a vodou lwa Narrati n g the Haitian Revolution in The Kingdom of This World In the Saint Domingue sequences of The Salt Roads, Hopkin son engages in a Caribbean literary tradition that claims the Haitian Revolution as a symbol of Caribbean resistance to modern neocolonialism. Within thi s tradition, The Kingdom of This World intertextually relate s to The Salt Roads with special potency d ue to their shared use of a subaltern approach to history and the genre of magical realism In The Kingdom of This World Carpe ntier assumes a subaltern emphasis by focusing on the pre revolutionary figure of Makand al who led poisoning campaigns across th e plantations of Saint Domingue in the 1750s, and his unknown peer Ti Nol Crafting his novel through
195 meticulous historical research, Carpentier seems to have constructed Ti No l from records of an actual slave owned by the French planter Lenormand de M zy. While Makandal is frequently featured in traditional accounts of the Revolution, conventional proper (1791 1804) Makandal becomes prerevolutionary rather than a contr ibutor to periodization, allowing Makandal to be an early and enduring figure in Haitian revolutionary history. 1 This subaltern perspective engenders a critique of a hypocr itical, Europhilic revolutionary leadership epitomized in the novel by King Henri Christophe. Chr istophe was a major figure of the R evolution but Carpentier focuses on his reign as a dictator during the early years of Haitian independence instead of his r ole in the Revolution. Through the eyes of Ti construct the Citadel le La Ferrire, the largest fortress in the Wes tern hemisphere and now a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural O rganization (UNESCO) world heritage site. Having just returned from Cuba (circa 1819) Ti going on for more than twelve years, and that the entire p opulation of the North had of M. Lenormand de M In fact, Christophe 1 While other Caribbean writers do reference Makandal in their works on the Haitian Revolution, he typically plays a subordinate if not inferior role to the canonical heroes of Louverture and Dessalines. As The Black Jacobins while Carpentier depicts Makandal as a
196 perhaps even worse than the slavery that preceded it except when they had lost their heads had been careful not to kill their slaves, for dead slaves were money out of their pockets. Whereas here the death of a slave was no drain on the idealization of the revolutionary leadership and illustrates the Haitian Revolution as an unfinished liberatory project obstructed by the postc olonial elites who all too willingly filled the power vacuum left by the vanquished colonists. Carpentier also portrays Toussaint Louverture, the most famous Haitian revolutionary figure, in an idiosyncratic fashion. Toussaint appears only once in The Kin gdom of This World depicted as a cabinetmaker carving wood replicas of the three wise men for a nativity display at plantation. Toussaint incorrectly fashioned wood carvings invoke a sense of terror, foreshadowing the impending slave revolt : Toussaint, the cabinetmaker, had carved the Three Wise Men in wood, but they were too big for the nativity, and in the end were not set up, mainly with special care, and gave the i mpression of emerging from a night of ebony with the terrible reproach of a drowned man. (39) Toussaint becomes a major force in the Haitian Revolution a few years later, but we do no t see these events in The Kingdom of This World since Carpentier follow s Ti Nol to Cuba just as Toussaint assumes leadership of the slave rebellion. Paravisini Gebert sees this turn to Cuba 119 20 tern principles by amending the gaps of periodization and Ti Nol Haitian slave exiled yet still in bondage. In Santiago de Cuba for in stance, Ti No l
197 meets to swap news with other French owned slaves (84), creating a sense of subaltern solidarity that exists beyond the borders of Saint Domingue the site of revolution is thereby extended from Haiti to Cuba exemplifying pan C aribbean n ationalism However, t his sole depiction of Toussaint, though subordinate to the narrative importance of Makandal and Ti Nol is still significant to the anticolonial thematics of The Kingdom of This World e men signifies an anticolonial sentiment of cultural misappropriation, as Balthasar, described as a black magus in the Book of Matthew, emerges fr om the darkness of eyes vexed by the horrors of co lonialism and slavery. C ultural misappropriation becomes a trope within the anticolonial genre of magical realism the armature of empire Another example of such cultural m isreading occurs when Madame Floridor, Lenormand de M second wife forces slaves to watch her perform a monologue from Phaedra a play My sins are heaped / already to overflowing. I am seeped / At once in incest and hypocrisy. / My murderous hands, hot for avenging me, / Are fain to plunge themselves in guiltless / blood (55). Unaware of the context of a confession, making her a licentious criminal who has come to Saint Domingue to escape imprisonment in France : the Negroes came to the conclusion that the lady must have committed many crimes in days gone by, and that she was probably in the colony to get away from the police of Paris, like so many of the prostitutes in the Cap, who had unsettled accounts with the metropolis. In the face of such
198 immorality, the slaves of the Lenormand de M zy plantation continued unshaken in their reverence for M acandal (55 56 ) mythology, derives from a Hellenic vision of European history that sees ancient Greece as the bedrock of Western culture. As high art, a cultural signifier of European ure in the colonized. But disrupt the illusion of French sophistication and moral superiority and rein Phaedr a thereby invalidates the mystique of European civility and bolsters their own sense of moral decency. use of magical realism also corresponds to his subaltern approach to historiography, as it gives life to the v odou cosmology of the slave masses rather than subjugating it to the Western rationalism of the planters and the more literate among the revolutionary leadership. In his pr eface to The Kingdom of This World titled goals and characteristics of the genre and reveals that a trip to Haiti inspired his conceptualization of lo real maravilloso, real : I was in a land where thousands of men, anxious for freedom, believed in produced a miracle on the day of his execution. I breathed in the atmosphere created by Henri Christophe, a monarch of incredible zeal, much more surprising than all of the cruel kings invented by the Surrealists, who were very much affected by imaginary tyrannies without ever having suffered one. Furthermore, I thought, the presence and vit ality of this marvelous real was not the unique privilege of Haiti but the heritage of all of America, where we have not yet begun to establish an inventory of our cosmogonies. (86 87)
199 The marvelous real manifests in The Kingdom of This World s ability to assume the shape of animals and insects. At the site of his execution, the slaves amorphosis into a mosquito (45 46 vodou s miraculous survival solidifies him as an enduring symbol of resistance despite the fact that his executioners pushed his head directly into a fire mere seconds later (45 46) Where the realist text (literary or historical) must subjugate the faith base d perception of beliefs of the slaves, granting it equal cosmological value with the scientific rationalism of his executioners As Carpentier explains, magical reali sm should not be confused with Surrealism, fantasy, and the Gothic, which are genres that invent supernaturalisms (86) Rather, magical realism trades in excessive naturalism, depicting the marvelous that exists in the everyday as filtered through the cos mologies of human belief and perception. B road periodization and the use of magical realism also enable Carpentier to elucidate under recognized historical contingencies, thereby retrieving silenced aspects of the Haitian Revolution As Patrick Bellegard e Smith explains, v odou the Bois Caiman ceremony, marronage, previous revolts, and cooperation between African and Caribbean born slaves were continuous and key features of an evolving Haitian revolutionary ideology. For instance, the 1791 revolt led by the Jamaican houngan Dutty related in a chai n of revolutionary inspiration ( 41). By linking Dutty Boukman, who is believed to have led the Bois Caiman ceremony that rituali zed the start of the 1791
200 r evolt, and Makandal, a vodouisant maroon from Africa who led poisoning conspiracies against white plantations in the 1750s, scholars like Bellegarde Smith and Carpentier in his fiction writing, highlight a continuity between a se ries of seemingly disparate revolutionary activities (clandestine poisoning/herbal warfare; violent uprising), ideologies ( v odou marronage) and origins (the Caribbean Africa) that reaches back at least a full century to 1691 before the advent of the Fren ch and Haitian Revolutions. Highlighting these continuities breaks the silences introduced by standard periodization and decimates the assumption that the revolting slaves of Saint Domingue could only envision freedom after coming into contact with French Enlightenment ideals. While s broad periodization and subaltern approach continues to assert a masculinist Caribbean nationalism that min imizes the importance of women to the Revolution and trades in machismo and sexual violence. For example, him irresistible to the Negro women testifying to his masculinity and sexual prowess (13). Likewise, Ti No l (54) is an avatar of virility and potency While such displays of erotic power might be unproblematic or even life affirming in a more olutionaries climaxes in a wave of reprisal rapes against the wives and daughters of the colonists. Amidst a mob scene of slave men and women raiding de M Ti Nol ascends the longstanding rape fantasies: declamations she had displayed beneath the tunic with its Greek key border breasts
201 Lenormand de M zy later Madame Floridor slaves go on to [e] nearly all the well bo rn girls of the P laine 6, 71 ). These highly stylized portrayals of mob revolt and r eprisal rape position black women as insignificant to the revolt, participating only to loot and binge on alcohol, and white women as mere objects of revenge, casualties of a masculine war between black slave men and their former white male masters Beyond Makandal: Haitian Revolutionary History and The Salt Roads The Salt Roads magical realism but Hopkinson ultimately dismantles the hypermasculinism of The Kingdom of This World by emphasizing the roles of women in a transhistorical, global narrative of Haitian revolutionary histo ry. The Salt Roads utilize s broad periodization to include the prerevol utionary figure Makandal, but Makandal a macho, vodouisant (37) yet mar red by arrogance. Rather than the lone hero accountable to no one that Carpentier depicts in The Kingdom of This World, Makandal is situated within a community of slaves a community engaged in political debate over how best to deal wit h the predicament of enslavement. In The Salt Roads, therefore, the revolutionary ideology Makandal spearheads is ers speeches that outline the nature
202 Patrice in The Salt Roads co unters the position occupied by Ti Nol in The Kingdom of This World mes and disengaging from the aggressive sexuality of Ti slave meeting, Patrice offers incisive debate against Makandal plot: back Eh? Tipingee told me what Simenon [the plantation owner] did to Milo, 2 how he blanched him dead, just for talki ng his mind. Just for talking, Makandal hints at the growing revolutionary power of the slaves as their numbers increase and their solidarity deepens. But gument is an astute caution about the terror and torture the whites wield as well as their weapons/technology advantage, guns. And while Makandal offers a countertechnology, the chemical/herbal warfare of poison, Patrice recognizes the ir disadvantage agai nst the colonists render the enslav ed of Saint Domingue thinking, feeling, political agents rather than the prepolitical subhumans La Salle feared indoctrinating with the liberatory rhetoric of the French Revolution. This debate among the slaves of Saint Domingue also contrasts 2 Patrice refers to an earlier scene narrated by Mer that Hopkinson uses to highlight the sadistic results of Enlightenment scream out his life while Master Simenon peeled the skin from his twitching body with a knife. Peeled split, see Dayan 199 212.
203 s reduction of the slave revolt into Carnivalesque mob scenes and reprisal rapings. Furthermore, The Salt Roads also departs from the masculinist Caribbean nationalist tradition in which Carpentier participates by depicting slave women as influential po litical agents. Hopkinson imaginatively recovers the silenced voices of opponent. While away on marronage, Makandal spreads hope among the slaves on other plantations and terro r among the colonists who have fallen prey to his acts of and your big ideas. Make peo ple take risks for your dreams. If Marie Claire gets Why do you stir the Ginen up Claire, a slave with access to the plantation house, to ad supply If caught, Marie Claire will face torture and possibly death from the hands of Simenon, the malicious owner of the plantation welfare of all the enslaved of Saint Domingue, Mer questions whether a desire to s the true motivating force behind his abstinence from eating salt, a practice said to give a mortal the powers of a lwa in
204 the lwas by his arrogance Makandal and his plots assume a sinisterly self serving quality to Mer. charisma and persuasion to enroll others in life threatening activities, activities that may serve th reference to the revenge killings by colonists that his schemes have already cause d, Mer finds Makandal dangerous and egocentric in his willingness to haphazardly risk lives other than his own. As v odou practitioners, the clash between Mer and Makandal corresponds to their differing uses of their medicinal spiritual knowledge: Mer emph drinking water, she disdains having to ask Makandal if he can cure her, since his poisoning sch eme put Marie Claire at risk in the first place (202). Mer distinguishes Bad science (61), from her strict use of v odou as a healing practice. Mer describes her role as community healer as a vital duty she can never characterizes the Western medicine of the planters as inadequate to the needs of her fellow slaves, leaving her with the duty of filling the role of doctor/healer. Mer registers Guinea in the afterlife if she abandons the needs of her community. These fundamental
205 rivalry between Ezili, the lwa of love, and Ogu, the blacksmith lwa of war, parallels this human confrontation between Mer and Makandal. Although Mer will come to seek reco nciliat ion with Makandal, the adversity between Mer/Ezili and Makandal/Ogu persists. The spiritual and physical aspects of this rivalry com e into direct contact during a v odou ceremony in which Mer and Makandal are both possessed by their respective lwas Ezili and Ogu. Ezili describes this process of possession, also known as mounting, as being (208). As Makandal dances around the ceremonial fire, Mer notices a change in his made him look like a wanted to clear us a path to freedom too, just like I wanted to do. We should chop that f working together with blacksmith ancestor will free us? The warmaker? Mama, is it this you want me to see? (316). Just as Saint Domingue clean and free like brush fire clears the b ush for planting. But what is he doing here tonight? It was folly to come! He should bide his time, let his generals do hastiness and lackadaisical leadership, harke impetuous.
206 With steel. With fire. Back away fire to the great house, risking the lives of the house slaves, she uses Mer to attempt dissuading Makandal from following through on his plan. When Mer is unsuccessful, Ezili decides to have Mer ru n to the great house and warn the slaves of the fire: could warn the slaves in the great house of the fire. She could protect those my people. And she could mislea antagonism between Mer/Ezili and Makandal/Ogu bears deadly consequences when fires a rifle on her. Marie Claire jumps in front of Mer to protect her from the bullet and Marie at her, griefstruc warn the blancs! Hold her! body used his good hand to draw my tongue out from my mouth. Then, smiling, he used the arm that was not there and sliced the spirit machete across my physical wound destro vessel.
207 This violence against Mer/Ezili derives from a communicative breakdown, a refusal on Makandal/Og house. For Makandal, the assured death of the colonists justifies the death of the sleeping house slaves as collateral damage. For Mer, who views the potential deaths of the house slave s as much more than simple collateral damage, the human cost of the plan is too high. With Makandal refusing to negotiate a more nuanced strategy Mer attempts to adjust the plan herself by warning the house slaves and misleading the colonists. Makandal mutilation of her tongue, the severing of her ability to speak. Through this physical silencing of Mer and spiritual silencing of Ezili, Makandal/Ogu demonstrate a hegemonic and masculinist politics of revolution, one that violently and needlessly assaults dissenting female voices. This failed reconciliation between Mer/Ezili and Makandal/Ogu complicates a pol many Caribbean writings on the Haitian Revolution. By revolutionary gathering, I refer to a ceremonious and celebratory rallying of the enslaved that precipitates revolt, a literary trope that deriv es historical grounding from the Bois Caiman ceremony, a commonly dramatized event in the literature of the Haitian Revolution (Paravisini Gebert, Literature 3) Although Hopkinson does not directly mention con clusion, a climactic revolutionary gathering of lwa occurs, a political and spiritual meeting of p an African ancestors and deities. This gathering, a parallel manife station in the spirit world of vodou ceremonies like Bois Caiman, is a reenactment and mys tical
208 embodiment of the emerging revolutionary ideology of the Saint Domingue slaves that reconciles the positions of Mer/Ezili and Makandal/Ogu. This spiritual equivalent of Bois Caiman evades the sensati onalism inherent in Carpentie oriented depiction of the ceremony, focusing instead on rallying as an act of cooperation. Ezili, rather than a Boukman like figure, initiates thi s gathering of revolutionaries asking her fellow lwas nger and beauty and We are all here, all the powers of the Ginen lives for all the centuries that they have been in existence, and we all fight. We change when change is needed. We are a little different in each place that the Ginen have come to rest, and any one of [us] is already many powers. (387) receives answers from Papa Legba (master of the crossroads), Ogu (blacksm ith/warrior ancestor), and the accumulating lwa who culminate in the collective first passage. Until this point, Ezili had been mostly alone and nascent in the spirit world, bouncing between the bodies of Mer, Jeanne, and T hais in different epochs with little comprehension of the history unfolding before her. This s pirit realm approximation of a vodou gathering, then, ritualize s the fruition of a Haitianist revolutionary paradigm, where the variant characteristics of the lw a transition/integration (Legba), war/strength (Ogu), love/beauty (Ezili), and the pantheon continues synthesize to battle oppression with the myriad tools of revolt: mar ronage, warfare, vodou herbalism, indolence, subterfuge, sabotage. Saint Domingue a s the Crossroads of History: Jeanne Duval and Saint Mary of Egypt If despite its subaltern approach, The Kingdom of This World still engages in a
209 a historical recovery o f those silenced female figures, most notably in the character of Mer and her struggle against Makandal Additionally, t hrough Ezi possession of women in other countries and centuries, The Salt Roads constructs a radical periodization of Haitian revolutionary struggle that not only retrieves silenced aspects of its history but also imbues it with enduring, global significance T he temporal and spatial migrations of Ezili constitute a re envisioning of Haitian historiography, a re envis time within the vodou time space concept of the crossroads. Madison Smartt Bell defines the cr ossroads in the historical, geographical, and cultural terms of colonization and slavery: [Q]uantities of time and distance in [the religio spiritual traditions of] Haiti are more likely to be recognized and understood in terms of intersections, rather th an the lines between them. Historically, the island of Hispaniola is a tremendously important kalfou the crossroads where Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans came together for the first time. The fundamental pattern of their relationship all over t he Western Hemisphere dispossession and extermination of the Indians by the Europeans, who go on to exploit the seized territory with African slave labor was set for the first time here. (6 7) The material exigencies of New World exploration, colonialism, the slave trade, transatlantic migration, and the Amerindian holocaust position Haiti as the literal crossroads ( kalfou ) of history and culture in the Atlantic world. Perhaps deriving from this material reality, the crossroads conc ept in vodou makes simi lar figurative connections between time and space, life and death, the physical and the spiritual. vaunted African humanism in which social institutions are elaborated and in which the living, the dead, and the unborn play equally significant roles in an unbroken historical
210 The Salt Roads evokes possession of Mer, the eighteenth century slave in Saint Domingue, Jea nne Duval, century France and Saint Mary of Egypt, the fifth century Egyptian prostitute written into history as a Catholic sinner to saint icon. of a vodou historical perspect ive these women all become ancestors of one another, regardless of their chronological relation. Jeanne Duval, as the second woman Ezili possesses, serves as a successor of Mer, a Haitian diasporic woman still enduring racism, sexism, and historical sil encing despite her freedom from the literal slavery endured by Mer. Unlike Mer, whose literary presence recovers a historical absence, that of the historically invisible black slave rical presence has been heavily dictated, however, by her relationship with nineteenth century French symbolist poet Charles Baudelaire. Depictions of Duval in literary criticism and biographical scholarship on Baudelaire have been anything but praisewort hy. Preeminent Baudelaire scholar, editor, and translator Wallace Fowlie describes Duval The Flowers of Evil (17). This introduction has been reprinted as if by canonical d ecree in The Flowers of Evil and Other Works sided portrayal of In The Salt Roads Jeanne Duval becomes much more than simply Baudelai her. The Salt Roads depicts a Jeanne Duval who has agency, street smarts, and fiscal sense, a Jeanne Duval who bears influence on Baudelaire and navigates the
211 complexities of a doubled sided relationship between two flawed human beings. The Salt Roads conceptions of Afro Caribbean wo men Hopkinson laces The Salt Roads with Baudelaire poems inspired by his romance with Jeanne, occasionally using them to epigraphically bookend the novel s Parisian conceptions of Afro eauty your idleness / Your childlike head / Balances with the indolence / (127 28). Here, i a dancing snake charmed by a Dervish, tincture a poem expressing the unabashed desire and Jeanne as l azy, careless, childlike, indolent, and exotic corresponds to the colonial stereotypes of mulatto women chapters, for instance, the book keeper expresses the colonial ist notion that African and Afro Caribbean women experience inordinately high levels of sexual desire. When Tipingee protests that Marie keeper insists, (161). The bo ok eighteenth century French colonial
212 administrator Moreau de Saint an early age to a life of love seekers with a propensity for sexual excess (83 a similar sexual character to Jeanne. Hopkinson highlights this confluence between by side as Baudelaire salivates over the scandalous nature of their public demonstrations o f affectio n: quivered in shame. The ginger woman thinks Yes, I am a whore and the daughter of a wh (58 ). As Baudelaire derives sexual titillation from Jeanne being mistaken for a whore, Jeanne shamefully recalls the economic hardships that have forced her, her mother, and her grandmother to sell their affection to me describes her relationsh ip with Baudelaire as a means for escaping the exploit ive atmosphere of the Thtre Porte Sainte Antoine, where she o nce sang and danced for money: Sainte pasty manager Bourgoyne grinning at me any more, pushing his hand sly between my
213 legs while I waite d to go onstage, while I remained quiet instead of spitting in his eye, job at the Thtre Porte Sainte Antoine, which, while not literal prostitution, subjected he r to sexual molestation and exploitation. Life with Baudelaire offered Jeanne a image of debauchery through a scandalous relationship with a sexually and racially suspect wom an prevents her from forgetting the shame of past exploitations. refusal to respond to th eir attention makes them resent Jeanne, an object they cannot every sou. He Baudelaire scholarship, The Salt Roads presents Jeanne Duval as a complex human being subject to pr ejudice and exploitation but also capable of making decisions and his affair with J
214 fetish peers, and the naturalization of these factors in Baudelaire scholarship. with Baudelaire as one of economic dependency as well as romantic love, a relationship characterized by both a deep emotional bond as well as dysfunctional abusiveness. Ezili observes this dynamic while in possession of Jeanne, noting a contrast between or Li se and her love for Baudelaire : She loves Lise with a deep, helpless adoration. Charles she loves, when things are well between them, with a sly, mischievous air. When it is poorly with her and with him, her love is sullen, resentful. She must play the wanton for him, and withstand the way he belittles her to his friends. He mocks her speech to them, and her poor skills with a pen. [S]he knows what a scandalous black feather she makes in the cap of this bohemian who revels in drawing the shoc ked gazes from the burghers of his city. (156) Through her relationship with Lise, Hopkinson depicts Jeanne as a sexual agent who lives and loves outside the dictates of her life with Baudelaire. Her love for Lise, though suppressed by cultural taboos, i s simple and untainted by the manipulativeness of her re lationship with Charles. The Salt Roads capacity to love Jeanne from its narration of their relationship, but it does highlight the corrosive effects of his narcissistic desire to display Jeanne as an object of scandal. Making her love for him belittling her intellect to his friends, all the while reveling in the drawn by the specta cle of their interracial relationship. The Salt Roads also constructs a Jeanne Duval who comprehends the broader economic implications of her relationship with Baudelaire. Jeanne may be economically
215 dependent on Baudelaire, but Baudelaire is also economi cally dependent on his mother, who, in turn, is economically dependent on her husband: for a life in which love can flourish without the impingement of economic power structures, a force that erodes the potentiality of manipulation and abuse free romance. This chain of dependency does not end w ith Jeanne, as Jeanne must use some of her meager income to provide for her mother and grandmother. In order to help raise money for shoes for her mother and medicinal alcohol for her grandmother, Jeanne considers sending her mother some of the jewelry Ba week I shall send some things for Maman. The emeralds, perhaps, that Charles gave get good money for them. Buy herself some new shoes, a nd some of the good brandy for Grandmaman. Grandmaman thinks it eases her coughing. It makes her sleep at in which she lived and demonstrates her ability to make de cisions and take action even within these harrowing constraints. Her life with Baudelaire not only saves her from the exploitive pawing of the small amounts of money Jeanne sends them. Despite these advantages and despite the emotional bond she does share with Baudelaire, their relationship still image, turning her into a scandalous trophy companion. Invoking a theme of hope, however, Jeanne transcen
216 end through her relationship a black Parisian restauranteur named Achille, also known as Moustique 3 As Jeanne narrates, Achille was doing better than well in Paris. Has his own restaurant now. So long as he st ays in the kitchen and cooks, the mics that denigrate black autonomy and entrepreneurship persist, Moustique and Jeanne still prosper, carving out a life for themselves despite adverse circumstances. Like Jeanne, Thais represents a historical personage who ha s been subject to silencing b y Bau delaire scholarsh Catholic hagiography. An epigraph Sain chronicled in the historical record of Catholic hagiography: Mary came to Alexandria in Egypt at the age of twelve to pursue a life of prostitution, not because of need, but to gr atify her insatiable physical desires. She left Alexandria by ship, and paid for her passage by committing numerous lewd acts with the sailors. Once she had arrived in Jerusalem, she persisted in her wanton ways. [A]s she attempted to enter the church, she was stopped at the door by some invisible force. Thrice she tried to enter in, and thrice was prevented. Then she noticed a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of our Lord, in a sconce above the place where she was standing. Abandoning pride, Mary of Egypt prostrated herself before the image of the Virgin and beseeched her help in entering the church 3 This nickname subtly connects Moustique to Makandal, who sometimes takes the shape of a mosquito during his metamorphoses. Moustique therefore embodies one of
217 The chapter that follows this epigraph humanizes Thais, presenting her not as a sex crazed prostitute transformed by divine in te rvention but as a woman who has turned to sex work as a means of survival. Much like Jeanne, Thais has hopes, dreams, and aspirations and exhibits agency through her choices. While Catholic hagiography defines her journey from Alexandria to Jerusalem as a voyage born of her craven lust, The Salt Roads depicts Thais experience life more broadly by abandoning the routine and boredom of Alexandria Accompanied by her friend Judah, a male prostitute also from Alexandria, Thais earns passage on their ship through prostitution, but she does so subsidize their journey. Prostitution is therefore not a debased compulsion for Thais but an economic necessity that she utilizes in order to navigate the hardships of life. by a mysterious force but by the incredible pains of a miscarriage In imagining a life for Thais outside the textual confines o f Catholic hagiography, historical figure. Who conferred it with historical authority? Catholic hagiography attr ibutes the story of Saint Mary to a Christian monk named Zosimus who in turn achieved sainthood by sharing his story of meeting the converted pros titute (Guiley 239) In The Salt Roads Zosimus discovers Thais in a cave, where she has been convalescing a fter her miscarriage she has covered her nake d ness. Once Thais allows Zosimus to enter the cave, she
218 recounts her voyage to him but his presuppositions lead him to misinterpret her story as a miracle of conversion rather than an arduous journey from Alexandria to Capitolina : e so ur hearing me. s aid, staring at the water bottle in his hand that I for years, and you neither eat nor pl (385) T his conversation bears the seeds of the Catholic legend of Saint Mary of Egypt. As Thais tries to convey he r story, Zosimus reads religious significance into all of her words. Sick and bleeding from her miscarriage, Thais had fall en before the statue of the Virgin Mary, but Zosimus fails to question why Thais bled and fell and attributes her suffering and subsequent inability to enter the church to divine intervention. Zosimus then attributes the voice Thais heard to be the Virgin Mary herself. Rushed on in her narrative by Zosimus, Thais is unable to explain to him that she had actually heard the voice of an elderly woman asking her if she was alright as she entered the church rather than the voice of the Holy Mother. Zosimus ha s effectively ceased to fully listen to
219 ate his mythic portrait of a debauched prostitute turned saint. When Zosimus leaves to return to his monastery, Thais can hear his tho ughts due to her possession by Ezili, and the monk has already begun fashioning his interaction with Thais into a legendary My keen hearing was fading, but I could hear the great huge stories he was inventing to tell about me and Judah when he got back to the monastery. Me, a pious Christian saint, repentant of her wanton ways, expiring as she achieved the pinnacle of her holiness. Judah a fierce lion guarding my corpse (392) Through this passage, Hopkinson not only imagines a life for Sain t Mary as a woman but also depicts her construction as a historical personage by the misinterpreting, presupposing and self aggrandizing Zosimus In The Salt Roads Catholic hagiography, Baudelaire scholarship, and masculinist Caribbean nationalism al l exemplify the ways in which women like Thais, Jeanne Duval, and Mer have been historically silence d By connecting these women through Ezili, a vodou lwa Hopkinson relates t heir silencing to the broader epistemological silencing of Haitian revolutionar y history a silencing that derives from and perpetuates the premodern site of African derived primitivity. Much like Haiti itself, the African descended prostitutes, slaves, and women of color depicted in The Salt Roads have been den igrated by colonially inspired views of race and gender that assign them lower human status. More than a simple imaginative act with no implications beyond the rea lm of entertainment, Hopkinson confronts the socio cultural effects of this epistemological prejudice by restoring Thais, Jeanne Duval, and Mer as female agents rather than objects In The Salt Roads Haiti also becomes the locus through which
220 these women are connected, thereby restoring the Haitian Revolution as the historical and symbolic gen esis of anticolonial resistance and postcoloniality, as an important aspect of world history rather than a supposed testament to the illegitimacy of black sovereignty. This mode of supplementing challenging, and re en visioning the histori cal record serve s to reconfigure how we view modern world history. In a personal anecdote from her time working at a Toronto museum, for instance, Hopkinson shows just how expansive the influences of official historical, anthropological, and scientific discourses have b een on public conceptions of African descended peoples and cultures in particular, and modernity, in general Attesting to her interest in linking Haiti and Egypt in The Salt Roads Hopkinson explains how students touring the Egyptian exhibit at her muse um were frequently shocked to learn that Egypt is located in Africa. Nowhere in the exhibit, Hopkinson adds, could the word The map of Egypt that covered the floor of one space showed only Egypt, ly This bl anching of Egypt relates to a Eurocentric vision of modernity and civilization that renders Africa anterior to Western developmental progress. If Europe signifies the modern and Africa the primitive, how ca This contradiction registers in the confusion of visitors who learned the t roubling fact that Egypt challenges the
221 comfortable binary of modern Europe versus primitive Africa. This narrative of Western history, which coopts Ancient Egypt as a part of Caucasian rather than African civilization, supports primitivizing views of Afr ica and, in turn, Haiti In fact, t h is contradictory excision of Africa from Eurocentric narratives of modernity excision from the Age of Revolutions and its attendant narratives of New World modernity, which champion the American and Fr ench Revolutions while ignoring or minimizing the importance of the Haitian Revolution The Salt Roads reveals and reverses these contradictions by connecting Haiti, Egypt, and France through the personal stories of historically silenced African descended women and envisioning Haitian revolutionary history as foundation al to global political modernity
222 CHAPTER 8 CONCLUSION The narratives of postcolonial political crisis examined in the preceding chapters exemplify the double edged n ature of the commemo rative impulse : while commemoration may serve the impo rtant task of preserving a tragedy in cultural memory commemorative narratives can also freeze or embalm a historical event in a discrete time and place a dangerous tendency that e nables the production of reductive, politicized, partisan, and reactionary appropriations of crisis Such a freezing or embalming of political crisis is facilitated through the narrow periodization of events, which can serve politically instrumentalist en ds by omitting larger historical and geographic considerations severing causal links between the past and the present as can be seen in the award winning, widely distributed films Hotel Rwanda and Ghosts of Cit Soleil Hotel Rwanda memorialization o f the Rwandan genocide focuses so narrowly on causes nor of its effects is given. The memory of the Rwandan genocide that Hotel Rwanda constructs is thereby cut off from its prelude as well as its aftermath The absence of significant political and historical context in this filmic memorial of the Rwandan genocide as well as its emphasis on the exceptional, i.e., Westernized/ modernized, African figures of Rusesabagina an d the R wandan Patriotic Front (R PF ) allows ster eotypes of African tribalism, primitivism and cultural underdevelopment to go unchallenged. The memory of crisis presented by and crystallized in Hotel Rwanda rather stands in full accord with a wider Euro A merican discourse on the Rwandan genocide that willingly admits guilt for failing to intervene in the slaughter of countless
223 Rwandans while ignoring the countless more Rwandans and Congolese who have died due, in large part, to the pivotal role of the RPF in the Congo crisis. official m emorialization of the genocide functions as a powerful rebuttal to any i commemoration narrative inherent in Hotel Rwanda s aggressive military activity within the Great Lakes region the memory of the genocide as a shield against any criticism of his po (Daug e Roth 91). Perhaps more importantly, seeking penance for the sins of the past while silently p articipating in the sins of the present sates Western material needs for the lucrative resources that Rwandan military operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) help extract, distribute, and secure. As the widely circulated and lauded public me mory of an event that participates in a discourse of Western guilt that continues to impact Rwanda and the Congo, Hotel Rwanda clearly demonstrates how narratives can contribute to the shaping of material realities. For this very reason, we should strive to confront dichotomy between the objectivity of structures and the subjectivity of representations a distinction allowing all that is cultural and symbolic to be put on one side, all that is Mbembe Postcolony 6). Despite being a documentary, and therefore formally expected to more accurately represent reality, Ghosts of Cit similarly memorializes Haitian political crisis but in a more complicated relationship with Haitian history. Much like Hot el Rwanda Ghosts of Cit Soleil narrowly construes its subject material ( the coup of 2004 ) and therefore extracts it from its relevant timeline ( especially its prelude in the coup of 1991 and its aftermath in the UN occupation /transitional government era of 2004 2006) Unlike Hotel
224 Rwanda Ghosts of Cit Soleil does refer back in a commemorative or dis commemorative fashion, to an earlier event in history, Haitian independence (1804) 1804 and 2004 however, become associated not causally but symbolicall y as failures of Haitian sovereignty, demonstrating that narrow periodization may also include references to the past but in ways that actually reduce rather than complicate the meaning of more recent events. The two hundred years between the inception of Haitian independence and the second ouster of Aristide receive short shrift, dispatched in a series of four introductory screens that emphasize the impact of dictatorships on Haitian socio politics while minimizing the implications of foreign intervention By serializing this grim appraisal of 1804 in the events of 2004 while ignoring the more relevant timeline (1991 2006), Ghosts of Cit Soleil constructs Aristide, the first freely, fairly, and democratically elected president in Haitian history, as just another dictator and romanticizes and justifies the coup against him. Haitian Revolution, which the slave holding nations of Europe and North America saw as an irratio nal paroxysm of violence rather than a rebellion for freedom. A top this historical landscape, as in Hotel Rwanda a dichotomy is drawn between exceptional, Westernized/modernized subjects (the businessmen Andy Apaid and Charles Baker and the coup leaders Guy Philippe and Louis Jodel Chamb lain) and their more indigenous, savage foils, who have failed to assimilate to modernity (the chim res leaders Bily and Tupac). Through the criminality, pettiness, violence, and posturing of Bily and Tupac, the colonial construct of the Haitian savage is re embodied in the garb of US gangster rap ( albeit a negrophobic interpretation of gangster rap that either
225 ignores or misunderstands its progressive anti racist elements ) With Aristide supporters reduced to mere street thugs, the coup forces of Chamblain and Philippe take on a heroic and virtuous aura, much like that given to the RPF in Hotel Rwanda In this dimly lit memorialization of the 2004 coup and its negative commemoration of Haitian independence, Ghosts of Cit Soleil participates in a neoliberal discourse poised against the ascendance of postcolonial economic reformers like Aristide as well as a much older discourse on Haitian independence that saw the establishment of a New World black republic as a cosmologi cal breech of the natural order. In this regard, t he old and new narratives of Haitian ineptitude that Ghosts of Cit Soleil reflects and refashions much like the exoticism and mystification of The Comedians have profoundly contributed to ned and impoverished material reality, from the French Indemnity of 1825, the U nited S tates (US) occupation of 1915 1934, and US support for the Duvalier dynasty (1957 1986) to the foreign supported coups against Aristide (1991, 2004), the mismanagement of earthquake relief efforts (2010 2011), and the I withholding of the water treatment loans that s cholera epidemic (2010 2011). 1 To intervene in the hegemonic discourses exemplified, refigured, and propagated by texts like Hotel Rwand a Ghosts of Cit Soleil and The Comedians many of the literary works examined in this project counter narrow periodization with broad periodization, i.e., an attentiveness to the complex timelines that accompany momen ts of crisis and multiple narrators/voices or, in the case of the graphic novels Deogratias and Smile Through the Tears complex visual literary renderings of time, space, and 1 On earthquake re Mukherjee.
226 memory These narrative strategies also serve to debunk tribalism and savagery as causes of postcolonial political violence by exposing the transnational and modern implications of social, political, and economic structures. Most of these texts utilize broad periodization while still engaging in commemoration by maintaining a subst antive focus on a particular moment of crisis while others, The Dew Breaker and The Salt Roads eschew commemoration al together by refusing to highlight one given time, place, administration or crisis. Despite the merits of these narrative strategies, h o wever, some of the texts I examined ( Murambi and Smile Through the Tears ) replaced the neo/colonial discourses of post/colonial inferiority with their own reductive, at times partisan, narrations of postcolonial political violence, demonstrating once agai n the pitfalls of commemoration. Despite having much broader articulations of Rwandan history than Hotel Rwanda Murambi and Smile Through the Tears also produce narratives of the Rwandan genocide that harmonize with the official narrative of the RPF. T he historical script that emerges in Murambi and Smile Through the Tears firmly roots the events of 1994 in the Tutsi characters often treat as a historical aberration that mars the pre independence no rmality of Tutsi dominated Rwanda. What is given scant attention in Murambi and ignored altogether in Smile Through the Tears is that the Hutu Revolution, which did initiate deplorable and egregious waves of anti Tutsi violence, originated as a response t o the hegemony of the Belgian supported Tutsi monarchy. Evacuation of such complexities from their narrations of the genocide leads Murambi and Smile Through the Tears to reiterate a Tutsi nationalist vision of Rwandan history that conceals Tutsi complici ty in Rwandan
227 strife in favor of an emphasis on the forces of colonialism. For Bazambanza, precolonial Rwanda was an ethnic Eden, where the harmony between Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa was only broken by the interference of Belgian colonialism. While Belgian col onialism did exacerbate and crystallize ethnic distinctions in Rwanda through the use of race science and population control (the census of 1933), the notion that no antagonisms existed in precolonial Rwanda serves to erase Tutsi complicity from Rwandan hi story and further legitimate the authoritarianism of the RPF. For Diop, however, the history of the Rwanda n genocide has more to do with French imperialism in Africa than with a heroic appraisal of the RPF or the monstrous scientism of Belgian colonialism French imperialism did play a devastating hand in creating the Rwandan of French policy in Africa, while quite justified, leads to an appropriation and reduction of the Rwandan genocide into a metonym for the African Francophonie. Such a disavowal of African agency serves to exonerate the RPF from accountability for their national and regional activities, even as other Africans, namely the Congolese are subjected to th eir military power and ordinary Rwandans struggle on with a lack of substantive reconciliation or justice among the living In Deogratias and The Shadow of Imana such partisan impulses are curtailed through an evas ion of narrative closure and attentivenes s to the complicities of Hutus, Tutsis, and Europeans in fomenting Rwandan political crisis. Traumatized by the genocide, t he titular character of Deogratias suffers from alcoholism, post traumatic stress induced flashbacks, and hallucinations of his own metamorphosis into a groveling dog.
228 reveal that he was forced during the genocide to murder his Tutsi girlfriend after her sister. After finally escaping from the Interahamwe as they flee into the Turquoise zone, Deogratias returns to the site of his crimes to find dogs eating the bodies of his girlfriend, her sister, and their mother. This scene of horror implants the image of the dog and leads him to murder a former Interhamwe leader (Julius), a former RPF soldier (Bosco), and a former French general who has returned to Rwanda as a tourist by poisoning their drinks. This closure resistant narrative h ighlights the difficulties that continue to obstruct reconciliation in Rwanda by refusing to reduce the genocide to a simple case of good Tutsis versus bad Hutus, a pattern also employed in The Shadow of Imana In The Shadow of Imana reportage and person al essay blend to create a mosaic of voices and impressions that is divided into a bifurcated structured composed make sense of the genocide and replaces narratives of tribalism and savagery with an existential understanding of mass violence as stemming from a universally human fear give way to an increasing number of testimonies from perp etrators and survivors, Hutus and Tutsis, often in an unmediated fashion. The injustices of post genocide Rwanda, from its numbers of spuriously accused, it overpopulated prisons, and reprisal massacres that have gone untried, are subsequently revealed. The Shadow of Imana thereby demonstrates the cyclicality of postcolonial political violence so that, as in The Dew Breaker a context for reconciliation rather than retribution might be created.
229 The most radically periodized text examined in this study, The Salt Roads reconfigures time and space, geography and history, to fundamentally link A frica, Europe, and the Caribbean even as it narrates Haitian revolutionary history, the primal scene of postcolonial violence is enabled through her speculative/fabulist/magical realist use of a vodou lwa as the central character who connects three female protagonists in three distinct locations (pre Independence Haiti, nineteenth century France, and fifth century Egypt). In its disruption of global divisionism ( Global North/South, East/West, colony/metropole, developed/ underdeveloped, temperate/torrid), this schema e xpresses a similar concern with the other text s over the enduring influence of colonial tropes of primitivism and savagery but in a more profound and fundamental assault on raced and gendered conceptions of modernity and world social history. Through the subaltern religion of vodou a fifth century Egyptian prostitute (Thais/St. Mary of Egypt), nineteenth century Fr ench poet prerevolutionary Saint Domingue/Haiti (Mer) are connected across time and space and made integral to world social history, reclaime d from the historical silencing(s) that subordinated them as well as the Haitian Revolution and vodou itself to European history and culture In The Salt Roads not only is the divisionism between France and Haiti broken but also divisionism between Haiti and Egypt, which Napoleonic France trie d to claim as the property of Western/Caucasian civilization rather than African and, in turn, African diasporic civilization. s emphasis on marginalized women in her radical revisioning of global modernity grounds Gayatri contention that
230 poorest woman in a broader temporal spatial milieu an emphasis on the agency of women within the context of postcolonial violence that is paralleled in Dantica community leader rather than a mere objectified victim in The Dew Breaker Beyond France and Haiti, Egypt also bears relevance to discursive reckonings of Rwanda via the Hamitic Hypothesis elucidating how Eu rocentric modernity excises Sub Saharan Africa as well as Haiti, as a sort of Sub Sahara of the Americas, from the narrative of Western developmental time een modern Europe and backwards Africa, the Hamitic Hypothesis required reworking to account for the instead of the tribe of Ham as a oungest son Canaan was black; his cursed progeny populated sub mythos further provi ded Belgian race science with the fodder it needed to separate Hutus and Tutsis into distinct racial classifications and also crystall ized a conception of indigenous blackness as the epitome of primitiveness, more generally Egypt thereby serves a pivotal symbolic function in the developmentalist discourse of Eurocentric modernity. rvention in developmentalist modernity confronts colonialist notions of Africa, the Afro Caribbean, and the African diaspora itself. differs significantly from earlier black culturalist reappropriations
231 Black Atlantic 207) an idolatry of pharaonic Egypt also The Dew Breaker As these recurrent allusions to Egypt in discourses of African and Caribbean culture demonstrate, t he connections between Egypt, race science, and developmentalist modernity are, in fact, quite profound. Georges Cuvier the father of ogist, many the savage civilized hordes [who] assemble at the call of every enthusiastic chief, and overrun the cultivated countries that surround them 49). While Paul Postcolonial 32), Cuvier had been ahead of the curve, physically demonstrating his theori es o f development on the body of Hottentot Venus, KhoiKhoi woman dissected by Cuvier in 1815 and so that her labia and skull could be used a s proof of African inferiority, primarily ith an well Philosophy of History chronology is only important as an addendum, a qualifier stating that the developmentalist theories Cuvier ected body was neither the invention of one thinker nor the property of one scientific paradigm, philosophical community, or literary tradition: the spatialization of morality and evolutionary time held transdisciplinary and transnational i nfluence in the European world and continues to
232 hold influence in contemporary con ceptions of modernity and their newest global divisionism s: North/South, developed/developing Attending to the colonial logics of race and modernity that continue to impact how postcolonial violence is understood, observed, and dealt with constitutes an important task for critical narrations of postcolonial political crisis, as reductive accounts of such crises often aid and abet opportunistic and exploitative intervention strategies. Narra tives of primitivism and savagery should also be confronted given their complicity in dichotomizing populations, often in a reversal of colonial race hierarchies. If allowed to persist unchallenged such Manicheanism can prevent reconciliation and promote reprisal and retributio n Those n arrations of postcolonial political crisis that strive for a critical and reflexive perspective are often concerned with confront ing Eurocentric modernity and its narratives of primitivism, tribalism, and savagery while ab staining from the appropriation of the voices or bodies of victims for politically instrumentalist, partisan agendas doubly victimized body, first by the genocidaries who raped, murde red, and mutilated her and second by the national government who displayed her corpse, despite her strategy that further s an authoritarian, partisan agenda. These insights are made all the more urgent by the fac t that these narrations of the past direct our understanding of the present, as the twenty first century crises that continue to vex Rwanda and Haiti, as well as the ir neighbors, were catalyzed, in varying degree by the se misunderstood mis appropriated, a nd misrepresented crises of the twentieth century.
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244 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jonathan D. Glover completed his doctorate in English at the University of Florida in May 2011 with support in his final s emester from a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dissertation Fellowship. He is currently working on two book monographs derived from this dissertation. The first concerns the discursive implications and material consequences of recent political and n atural disaster in Haiti while the second l inks ongoing strife in Rwanda to economic imperialism in the Democratic Republic of Congo.