Harvest of Skulls

Harvest of Skulls

Harvest of Skulls

Harvest of Skulls

Synopsis

In 1994, the akazu, Rwandan's political elite, planned the genocidal mass slaughter of 500,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsi and Hutu who lived in the country. Given the failure of the international community to acknowledge the genocide, in 1998, ten African authors visited Rwanda in a writing initiative that was an attempt to make partial amends. In this multidimensional novel, Abdourahman A. Waberi claims, "Language remains inadequate in accounting for the world and all its turpitudes, words can never be more than unstable crutches, staggering along... And yet, if we want to hold on to a glimmer of hope in the world, the only miraculous weapons we have at our disposal are these same clumsy supports." Shaped by the author's own experiences in Rwanda and by the stories shared by survivors, Harvest of Skulls stands twenty years after the genocide as an indisputable resource for discussions on testimony and witnessing, the complex relationship between victims and perpetrators, the power of the moral imagination, and how survivors can rebuild a society haunted by the ghost of its history.

Excerpt

One almost feels like opening with an apology for the very existence of this work. the process of writing itself was somewhat grueling, repeatedly deferred over weeks and even months. Were it not for the moral duty owed to various Rwandan and African friends, these words may not have risen to the surface quite as expeditiously as they did following two trips to the Land of a Thousand Hills.

Nonetheless, when it comes to my own modest personal journey, bereft of any political activism, no human experience has thus far proved as challenging, urgent, or demanding. This explains my fervent desire to simply vanish, to be forgotten, to refrain from adding to the general pessimism, for it to be my turn to play dead. This book makes no claim to explain anything whatsoever, and the leading role is given to fiction. the imagination and subjectivity are there merely to nourish the book’s nervous system.

“Genocide: the term is overused. I reserve it for the Holocaust and maybe a few other cases,” the Jewish-American linguist Noam Chomsky informs us. He is someone who knows . . .

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