Is Oral Important? The Struggle of Working in Precolonial Studies

Oral history straddles a line that all history does: the modern interpretation of the past and the bias and inaccuracies this conflict can produce. Even written history's interpretations and conclusions are effected by the period it was written. This is why primary sources are coveted. You can never get closer to understanding what people were [...]

Listen, Always Listen: Female Circumcision

Many people do not understand the difference between listening to someone's perspective and obeying.  When people cease to feel remotely heard they usually cry out "listen" and those who are already ignoring them think it means "obey me, submit, everything I say is right." That is not what listen means. In fact, I just looked it up to [...]

The Creation of the African Boogeyman

The setting of this story is in the beautiful Kenyan highlands of the 1950s, where British colonists had fallen in love with a beating sun, fertile earth, and the majestic Mount Kenya at the heart of it all in the 1920s. The highlands were not just beautiful they also lacked a plethora of obstacles to European settlement [...]

We Would Not Be Capable

When atrocities occur our gut reaction is to wonder why and how. I have broadly answered the why of the Rwandan genocide. On the International Day of Reflection for the Rwandan genocide I want to go deeper. How can average people commit violence on such a large scale? How could the Hutu Power movement kill, [...]

Accepted “Fact” versus Real Heroes

I fell for it. I will be the first to admit I fell for Hotel Rwanda hook line and sinker. I watched it in high school and ate it up. I was right there with the rest of the world in my respect and reverence for the bravery portrayed particularly by "Rwanda's Schindler," Paul Rusesabagina. [...]

Self Confirming Assumptions

Every year at CU Boulder I saw students and self entitled “explorers” “wander” to Rwanda to see the victims of the horrendous genocide. They played the humble witness sanctimoniously taking pictures with groups of black Rwandan kids. They shed the ceremonious tear and felt the horror and grief that is "the real Africa." In the [...]

The Savage Myth

The issue of violence is inescapable. Every continent has experienced eruptions of violence at some point throughout human history. Violence is something inside of us all and it creates massive changes rather rapidly making it tempting to focus solely on violence. I can’t even tell you how many classes were offered at my University in [...]