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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Navigating the middle ground: the political values of ordinary Hutu in post-genocide Rwanda
Author:Chakravarty, Anuradha
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Geographic term:Rwanda
Subjects:political attitudes
rural areas
External link:http://afraf.oxfordjournals.org/content/113/451/232.abstract
Abstract:Twenty years after the Rwandan genocide, little is known about the political values of non-elite Hutu. The post-genocide regime has emphasized the problem of 'divisionism' and 'genocide ideology', suggesting a popular preference for a radical stance on inter-group relations and reconciliation. This argument has been used to defer the question of democracy. This article investigates the attitudes of ordinary Hutu at a rural site, and shows that the respondents staked out a middle ground, emphasizing the shared interests of ordinary Hutu and Tutsi and distancing themselves from the political excesses of both Hutu and Tutsi elites. However, this moderate political space appeared to yield to more radical views when discussing the pressures of transitional justice, when respondents' careful distinction between elite and ordinary people collapsed and a monolithic actor, 'the Tutsi' was imagined in conflict with 'the Hutu'. While this slippage appears to be a coping mechanism in the face of stressful situations rather than an inherent political preference, the article concludes that politically convenient assumptions and maladroit public policy risk contributing to the very dangers the regime claims to combat. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]