Arts in the One World, 2007

A Space for Truth: Meditations on Theatre and the Rwandan Genocide,
from the March 2007 American Theatre Magazine

With at least 50 genocides behind us in the latter half of the past century, with the racism and economic terrorism revealed through Hurricane Katrina in our recent past, with Darfur before us, the time is always right to consider how culture frames and enables inhumanity, how it creates and destroys identities, and how it can share in love’s triumph over suffering. The CalArts initiative is regional as the conflict was regional, and any solutions must take into account the welfare of the entire East African community. We traveled to Uganda as well (where discord is spread by the Lord’s Resistance Army and Ugandan/Rwandan involvement in Congo), and our working group, 40-plus-strong at its peak, included Ugandan writers throughout. This winter, CalArts hosted the second Arts in the One World conference, focused on the Rwandan situation and expanding to consider ways in which arts, social services and the needs of peace-building live in interdependence. Our program is run in partnership with the Interdisciplinary Genocide Studies Group (IGSG, dually based in Kigali and Berkeley), and in particular with Jean-Pierre Karegeye, one of IGSG’s founders. He is sine qua non.Why genocide?n By breaking theatre against genocide (beyond words) we expand theatre’s capacity for representation.n Violence begotten by artistic lies must be addressed by artistic truths.We are trembling and drifting—electricity without a light bulb; ghosts, looking for our bodies. We will find our bodies in the project of ecology—new, fluid patterns of interrelatedness. Read On