IRRC No. 910

When children remember: A history of the Tutsi genocide through the eyes of children (1994–2006)

Reading time 47 min read

Drawing on a corpus of accounts written by survivor children in 2006, this article looks at the Tutsi genocide through the eyes of children, enabling us to see the radical social and emotional transgressions of 1994 from a new angle. As members of society and prime targets of the genocide, these children tell how the world of their childhood was turned upside-down, through the unique intensity of their own words. An idealized “before”, inhabited by the beloved characters of their parents, brothers and sisters, is brutally swept away as everything they have known becomes inverted. Forced to watch killings and cruelty, they adopt survival strategies that show how thoroughly they understand the radical nature of what is unfolding. An extreme distrust of adults will forever mark these children – now orphans – who still live in “the time of the genocide”.

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