International Educator - January/February 2013 - 20
People displaced by the fighting in Darfur build thin shelters of scrap materials at displaced camps in West Darfur Sudan.
psychologies injuries—in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bosnia, or Cambodia—may seem an audacious goal for undergraduates just a few years beyond their teens. How does a university program—no matter how well funded or how bright its scholars—address the power of political regimes and demagogues bent on inciting the sort of hatred that leads one people to commit atrocities against another? The answer is multifaceted. Some schools use time-honored tactics, such as face-to-face encounters between people of warring religious or ethnic groups; exercises that promote trust; or seminars that make participants aware of the societal, political, and psychological dynamics that can lead to mass violence. Others rely on the arts—such as theater and radio soap operas—to touch a nerve in their audiences. Some use more modern methods—the Internet and social media—to reach far more people than was possible when some of the world’s worst genocides occurred. Behind these efforts are scholars who come home from sabbaticals bent on illuminating others about genocide; undergraduates who were moved to action by the films, seminars, and speeches of their conflict resolution and peace studies programs; and working men and women who return to academia to acquire more ideas and better organizational and fundraising skills for their nonprofits and human rights groups.
At Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, Dauge-Roth created his course on genocide after a 2006 research trip to Rwanda, where he met the “Tubeho”—a group of about 300 orphans of the 1994 genocide. The orphans live in “reconstituted” families, groups of four to six genocide survivors who have lost siblings and parents. For three and a-half weeks in 2009, the 11 Bates students—each of whom paid about $3,000 for their trip and are required to speak French in order to facilitate communication with the orphans—lived with and interviewed Tubeho members. They also visited the genocide memorials, some of which include snapshots of the victims when they were alive—images of newlyweds, a father holding his first son, a young driver standing beside a shiny red car. “I doubt anything could have prepared me for standing in a building filled with bodies,” wrote Simone Pathe of Madison, New Jersey, in the Bates College magazine. “My Rwandan ‘brother’ Eugene examined the backs of each photo. He was searching for connections. He was looking for names, dates, and places written on the back of the photos. These faces could have been his friends, family, teachers, or neighbors. “Some of us sobbed. Some were so stunned that tears were too much.” Pathe, who went on to become a Dana Scholar and politics major, wrote that two older women, both
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