Professor Philippe Basabose of the Memorial University’s French and Spanish Department will deliver a public lecture titled Genocide as a Defiance to the Ethics: The Case of Rwanda on Tuesday, March 25, at 8:30 p.m. at the Ship Pub in downtown St. John’s.
Being a survivor of the Rwandan massacre, revisiting what happened in 1994 in an intellectual context is important to Dr. Basabose. “It helps me to think about what intellectual/philosophical concepts – such as ethics – become when applied to specific historical situations,” says Dr. Basabose. “And more importantly, it helps me get new insights first into the discrimination I lived through as a child, and second into the horrors of the genocide as I suffered them and still suffer them as a survivor who lost numerous family and friends.”
In his lecture, Dr. Basabose will focus on the role propaganda played in convincing the Hutu people to stand as one and cruelly murder their Tutsi countrymen, thereby also sacrificing the common values and beliefs they once shared with their victims. Dr. Basabose will also examine the role Belgium colonizers played in sowing the initial seeds of division in 1959.
The UN has declared April 7 the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda. This lecture is therefore a timely and appropriate opportunity for Dr. Basabose, as a survivor, to testify regarding the failure of the international community to act.
“I think my new community, the Newfoundlanders, have the right to know what their fellow humans – however far away they may seem – suffered and continue to suffer around the world,” says Dr. Basabose.