Monday, 11 April 2011

The sun is shining...

...and temperatures are rarely below 20 degrees at the moment, which means I am not spending as much time indoors as I was. This coupled with a large number of tours and the final preparations for the exhibition's shipment to the United States has meant little time for blogging.

That and I've just been lazy. I'm sure there are thousands of internet URLs out there with blogs that have fizzled out after a few posts, and thousands more with 'sorry for the lack of posting' apologies like this one. That's an interesting point actually; how do you end a blog? I'm not planning on ending this one until September when my project ends and I start a new challenge (more on that in due course), but how does one end it? Goodbye? End of transmission?

*****

Either way, I'll quickly tell you about one of my procrastination tools. I have been watching 'Long Way Down' on YouTube, the series in which Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman travel through Africa on their way from John O'Groats to Cape Town and gawp at tribes in post colonial wonder. It's nice escapist TV, the kind of thing you get on the DAVE channel in the UK (motto: "Home of witty banter") designed especially for 'blokes'. Anyway, alongside their ride they also visit a number of UNICEF projects, which often make for the most moving parts of the journey.

Of interest to me was their stop-off in Kigali, Rwanda, where they had to deal with the consequences of Genocide. The Genocide in Rwanda saw the Hutu majority massacre the Tutsi ethnic minority, who had been most associated with previous colonial governments. It is a very different genocide from the one I work with, for although both the Nazi Holocausts and the Rwandan genocide involved the systematic persecution of a minority, they are shocking in different ways. The Nazi Holocaust shocks us because of its cold blooded calculation, the way in which murder had a price, the cheapest and most efficient ways of exterminating people the better. The Rwandan Genocide shocks us, and I think more so in the west, because of the personal nature of the massacre. People were chopped to pieces with machetes and bludgeoned to death with hammers. This was incredibly warm blooded brutality, entirely irrational and charged with emotion.

Charley and Ewan visit a church in which five thousand people were murdered. Their bones are laid inside, along with their bloody clothes, left hanging from the ceiling. Ewan asks the girl who takes them around the question that is on everybody's mind as they watch, "So are you a Hutu or a Tutsi?"

"Back then I was Tutsi; now I am a Rwandan."

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