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Book launch event on poetry and reconciliation in Rwanda

On Wednesday 4 May 2016, Dr Andrea Grieder, currently based in Kigali, Rwanda, came to the Globethics.net office to officially launch her thesis "Collines des mille souvenirs: vivre après et avec le génocide perpétré contre les Tutsi du Rwanda" published by Globethics Publications.
 
Her book, in French, shares her experience and thoughts around poetry and reconciliation. Dr Grieder, originally from Zürich, Switzerland, leads poetry workshops in Rwanda primarily with young people and women. Writing the book was not an easy task but as she mentioned "during times of discouragement, I was thinking of all the people who contributed in sharing their stories".
 
Ignace Haaz, Globethics.net Publications Manager, introduced Andrea Grieder. He emphasised that reconciliation can be defined as a process, as poetic metaphors can be instruments that can help to overcome pain.
 
Andrea Grieder mentioned that the "Colline des Mille Souvenirs" book project started back in 2005. If genocide has destroyed the real meaning of being an individual, she decided to put in writing different portraits with an ethnographic approach to reinforce the value of each human being.
 
During the presentation, Dr Grieder read some extracts from the book and highlighted some issues or queries encountered by those she interviewed, such as social inequalities, the human ability to destroy and to rebuild, the consequences of losing your loved ones with such violence, and the healing power of words. 
 
Some poems were also performed by Dr Grieder who commented that "people who are in my book are with us today, through their words".
 
Extract from ‘Amahoro Stadium', by Andrea Grieder, April 2016
"No tears,
On silent faces,
They flow inside
But where to?
A kettle filled
No more drop goes in
Without inundating a cleaned space
Cleaned to shine"
 
Extracts from ‘I forgive you, though you're a monster', written by one of the workshop participants
"(...) just a single day
You changed like a cloud
That turns from sunny to snow rain
And killed my family
(...)
But for the sake of my happiness, peace 
and kindness
of human nature
I will forgive you,
though you're a monster."

From left to right: Ignace Haaz, Globethics Publications Manager, Obiora Ike, Globethics.net Executive Director from 1st July 2016, Andrea Grieder, author, and Christoph Stückelberger, current Globethics.net Executive Director.

About the author

Dr Andrea Grieder is Associate Researcher at the Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, University of Zurich and at the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, EHESS, Paris. She is the organiser of cultural events on Rwanda and initiator of transpoesis (transformations through creativity in poetry). Her PhD in Social Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Zurich was awarded summa cum laude.
 

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