While academic debates about the possibility of objective truth and falsehood are often rarified to the point of absurdity, Rwanda demonstrated that the question is a matter of life and death.
By: Amrit # 3
In Miscellaneous Quotes
The war about the genocide was truly a postmodern war: a battle between those who believed that because the realities we inhabit are constructs of our imaginations, they are all equally true or false, valid or invalid, just or unjust, and those who believed that constructs of reality can—in fact, must—be judged as right or wrong, good or bad.
By: Amrit # 3
In Miscellaneous Quotes
My definition of a good book is one that you would read for pleasure despite having no prior interest in the subject. The ostensible subject may be whale hunting, or survival in Auschwitz, or waking up as a cockroach—but you don’t read it because you’re into fisheries or Nazis or entomology: you read it because your life was poorer before you started it, and because now you can’t stop.
By: Amrit # 3
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In 1933-34, the Belgians conducted a census in order to issue ‘ethnic’ identity cards, which labelled every Rwandan as either Hutu (85%) of Tutsi (14%) or Twa (1%). The identity cards made it virtually impossible for Hutus to become Tutsis, and permitted the Belgians to perfect the administration of an apartheid system rooted in the myth of Tutsi superiority… Whatever Hutu and Tutsi identity may have stood for in the pre-colonial state no longer mattered; the Belgians had made ‘ethnicity’ the defining feature of Rwandan existence.
By: Amrit # 3
In Miscellaneous Quotes
Colonisation is violence, and there are many ways to carry out that violence. In addition to military and administrative chiefs and a veritable army of churchmen, the Belgians dispatched scientists to Rwanda. The scientists brought scales and measuring tapes and callipers, and they went about weighing Rwandans, measuring Rwandan cranial capacities, and conducting comparative analyses of the relative protuberance of Rwandan noses. Sure enough, the scientists found what they had believed all along. Tutsis had a ‘nobler’, more ‘naturally’ aristocratic dimensions than the ‘coarse’ and ‘bestial’ Hutus. On the ‘nasal index’ for instance, the median Tutsi nose was found to be about two and a half millimetres longer and nearly five millimetres narrower than the median Hutu nose.
By: Amrit # 3
In Miscellaneous Quotes
What distinguishes genocide from murder, and even from acts of political murder that claim as many victims, is the intent. The crime is wanting to make a people extinct. The idea is the crime.
By: Amrit # 3
In Miscellaneous Quotes
But no soldier above the rank of sergeant ever served jail time. No civilian interrogators ever faced legal proceedings. Nobody was ever charged with torture, or war crimes, or any violation of the Geneva Conventions. Nobody ever faced charges for keeping prisoners naked,or shackled. Nobody ever faced charges for holding prisoners as hostages. Nobody ever faced charges for incarcerating children who were accused of no crime and posed no known security threat. Nobody ever faced charges for holding thousands of prisoners in a combat zone in constant danger of their lives.
By: Amrit # 3
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Killing Tutsis was a political tradition in postcolonial Rwanda; it brought people together.
By: Amrit # 3
In Miscellaneous Quotes
Genocide, after all, is an exercise in community building...In 1994, Rwanda was regarded in much of the rest of the world as the exemplary instance of the chaos and anarchy associated with collapsed states. In fact, the genocide was the product of order, authoritarianism, decades of modern political theorizing and indoctrination, and one of the most meticulously admistered states in history.
By: Amrit # 3
In Miscellaneous Quotes
The fact that most states are born of violent upheaval does not, of course, mean that disorder leads to order. In writing the history of events that are still unfolding in a state that is still unformed, it is impossible to know which tendencies will prevail and at what price. The safest position is the human rights position, which measures regimes on a strictly negative scale as the sum of their crimes and their abuses: if you damn all offenders and some later mend their ways, you can always take credit for your good influence. Unfortunately, the safest position may not necessarily be the wisest, and I wondered whether there is room--even a need--for exercising political judgment in such matters.
By: Amrit # 3
In Miscellaneous Quotes
The piled-up dead of political violence are a generic staple of our information diet these days, and according to the generic report all massacres are created equal: the dead are innocent, the killers monstrous, the surrounding politics insane or nonexistent...The anonymous dead and their anonymous killers become their own context. The horror becomes absurd.
By: Amrit # 3
In Miscellaneous Quotes
Just as a state's police swear to prevent and punish murder, so the signers of the Genocide Convention [in 1948] swore to police a brave new world order. The rhetoric of moral utopia is a peculiar response to genocide. But those were heady days, just after the trials at Nuremberg, when the full scale of the Nazi extermination of Jews all over Europe had been recognized as a fact of which nobody could any longer claim ignorance. The authors and signers of the Genocide Convention knew perfectly well that they had not fought World War II to stop the Holocaust but rather--and often, as in the case of the United States, reluctantly--to contain fascist aggression. What made those victorious powers, which dominated the UN then even more than they do now, imagine that they would act differently in the future?
By: Amrit # 3
In Miscellaneous Quotes
Odette nodded at my notebook, where I was writing as she spoke. 'Do the people in America really want to read this? People tell me to write these things down, but it's written inside of me. I almost hope for the day when I can forget.
By: Amrit # 3
In Miscellaneous Quotes
Like Leontius, the young Athenian in Plato, I presume that you are reading this because you desire a closer look, and that you, too, are properly disturbed by your curiosity. Perhaps, in examining this extremity with me, you hope for some understanding, some insight, some flicker of self-knowledge – a moral, or a lesson, or a clue about how to behave in this world: some such information. I don’t discount the possibility, but when it comes to genocide, you already know right from wrong. The best reason I have come up with for looking closely into Rwanda’s stories is that ignoring them makes me even more uncomfortable about existence and my place in it. The horror, the horror, interests me only insofar as a precise memory of the offense is necessary to understand its legacy.
By: Amrit # 3
In Miscellaneous Quotes
Genocide, after all, is an exercise in community building.
By: Amrit # 3
In Miscellaneous Quotes
The people are living seperately together," he said. "So there is responsibility. I cry, you cry. You cry, I cry. We all come running, and the one that stays quiet, the one that stays home, must explain. Is he in league with the criminals? Is he a coward? And what would he expect when he cries? This is simple. This is normal. This is community.
By: Amrit # 3
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Denouncing evil is a far cry from doing good.
By: Amrit # 3
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Do what you love and believe in, and work hard.
By: Amrit # 3
In Miscellaneous Quotes
He's just incredible. And it's been amazing to see the passion that he gave me and he's given that to all of these students here. So, it's quite moving to see him in this environment and see him inspire so many people.
By: Amrit # 3
In Miscellaneous Quotes
I think when you start a collection, you do what you love and what you believe in. And you have to push yourself. Of course it's interesting to look at the reviews and you have to take on board what people are saying and take in all the criticism. But when you design a collection, you have to start with what you love and what you believe in. Unless you do that, you can't stand behind it, so there's no point in doing it anyway.
By: Amrit # 3
In Miscellaneous Quotes
I do! I watch Downton Abbey, I watch all kinds of things. It just depends what's on when you get in. It could be news night, it could be Downton Abbey, it just depends.
By: Amrit # 3
In Miscellaneous Quotes

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