Winner, Prix Pierre Lafue
Winner, Prix lycéen du livre d’histoire des Rendez-vous de l’histoire de Blois
In the archives of the main institution in charge of the history and memory of the genocide in Rwanda, several bundles of fragile little school notebooks contain, in the silence of accumulated dust, the stories of around a hundred surviving children. Written in 2006 at the initiative of a Rwandan survivors’ association, as a testimonial and psychological catharsis, these accounts by children who have since become young men and women tell the story of their experience of the genocide, as well as of “life before” and “life after.”
The words of these children, the cruel realism of the scenes they describe, the power of the emotions they express, provide the historian with an unparalleled insight into the subjectivities of the survivors, and also enable us to take on board the murderous discourse and gestures of those who eradicated their world of childhood forever. Far from abstract postulates on the “unspeakable,” Beyond Despair offers a reflection on the conditions that make audible such an experience of dereliction in the twilight of the twentieth century.
This work received support for excellence in publication and translation from Albertine Translation, a program created by Villa Albertine and funded by FACE Foundation.