Being Near: Visiting the Rwandan genocide memorial site at Murambi, Gikongoro

Jeff Stewart

Abstract


Just as in our personal lives our worst fears and best hopes will never adequately prepare us for what actually happens, because the moment even a foreseen event takes place, everything changes, and we can never be prepared for the inexhaustible literalness of this ‘everything’… (Arendt, 1953: 389).


Opening

 
There is a trauma about being in Rwanda for me that needs to be acknowledged. This ‘everything’ that changes manifests in moments of ‘awakening’ in the sense suggested by Cathy Caruth:

As an awakening, the ethical relation to the real is the revelation of this impossible demand (of responsibility) at the heart of human consciousness (Caruth, 1995: 100).


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