Genocide in Rwanda: Media, Memory, and Denial Symposium Afternoon Sessions
April 27, 2012 at 1:30 PM to
April 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM
#2206 ABC Student Center
The Spanish philosopher George Santayana warned that, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Santayana's warning stands in stark contrast to the universal pledge of "Never Again" when it comes to the recent history of genocide in the world. The lack of remembrance, or the conscious denial of past atrocities, has led to the repetition of genocide despite the resolve in 1948 not to let it happen again.
Genocide survivors are confronted not only with the self-protective refusal to remember the trauma of what happened to them, but also with the ongoing public campaign of genocide denial. The numerous voices of denial are gaining more prominence in the traditional media as well as in social media outlets. In addition, genocide deniers often argue that laws against genocide denial violate their right to freedom of speech and amount to political suppression by governments enacting such laws.
The challenge remains how to keep memory alive when "the killers of memory" are exploiting the electronic social media to drown out or silence the survivors' voices. Countries that endured genocide usually rely on survivors to speak about the past because as eyewitnesses they can testify more forcefully than a physical monument recognizing genocide.
But what will happen once the survivors are all gone? What will happen if they are completely silenced in the media by the voices of genocide deniers? Can genocide denial laws work without conflicting with the freedom of speech? Should memorial sites be destroyed, periods of mourning be cancelled, and genocide testimonies be silenced to avoid re-traumatization of the victims? Is it possible for post-genocide societies to move forward to a democratic and peaceful future without confronting and acknowledging the crimes of the past and sufferings of victims?
These are some of the central questions that panelists and participants will reflect on at this interdisciplinary symposium to explore recent genocides and the forces that promote forgetting and denial. Participants will also be examining issues of history, memory, denial, memorialization, trans-generational transmission of trauma, media manipulation and representation, freedom of expression laws, state ideology, and silencing.
Afternoon Sessions: 1:30-5:00 p.m. Student Center #2206 ABC
Session III: 1:30-3:15 p.m.: Media & Denial
Chair: Dr. Pascale Perraudin, St. Louis University
1:30 p.m.: "Genocide, Memory, Denial, and Western Media: The Case of Leon Mugesera," Dr. Dominique Payette, Universite Laval, Quebec, Canada
2:00 p.m.: "Contested Claims or Manipulating Fictions? Teaching Academic Debate While Respecting Sacred Histories," Dr. Gerise Herndon, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, NE
2:30 p.m.: "Le Genocide contre les Tutsi dans le miroir du Devoir," Dr. Philippe Basabose, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
3:00 p.m.: Questions & Discussion
3:15 p.m.: Coffee Break
Session IV: 3:30-5:00 p.m.: Justice, Human Rights, and Genocide Denial
Chair: Dr. Michael Ugarte, University of Missouri
3:30 p.m.: "Freedom of Expression, Media Manipulation, and Denial of Genocide in Rwanda," Dr. Tim Gallimore, Vice President, Higher Learning Commission, Chicago, IL (former spokesperson, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda)
4:00 p.m.: "Testimony as relief to survivors and as act against denial of genocide," Ms. Martine Beckers, Human Rights Advocate & Specialist in Victimology, Belgium
4:30 p.m.: Questions & Discussion
Romance Languages, 573-882-4874, firstname.lastname@example.org