Rwandan diaspora, justice, reconciliation, Rwandan politics, culture of silence


The present article examines the political environment in Rwanda following the 1994 genocide from the perspective of diaspora members. Research was conducted via in-person and telephone interviews from May 2015 to March 2016 with eight members of the Rwandan diaspora in the United States and Canada. The primary research objective questioned how members of this particular diaspora attempt to achieve justice and reconciliation among one another. However, current Rwandan politics became a central discussion point during interviews, particularly the residual effect among the diaspora. Interviews suggest that the current political climate in Rwanda may have created a culture of silence among diaspora members. Members of the diaspora appear to be hesitant to discuss potentially political and divisive topics for fear of retaliation against themselves, their family, and loved ones remaining in Rwanda. Furthermore, interviews suggest that participants believe that the Rwandan government is monitoring the diaspora. This, along with the promotion of a dominant narrative regarding the 1994 genocide, has created a residual political climate in the diaspora that hinders attempts at justice and reconciliation among members.

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