In her paper, "Monénembo's L'Aîné des orphelins and the Rwandan Genocide," Lisa McNee discusses Tierno Monénembo's L'Aîné des orphelins, a novel that offers a double discourse and a dual memory of the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994. McNee argues that L'Aîné des orphelins presents us with an extraordinary kind of fictional testimonial to genocide. Although Monénembo is not from Rwanda and did not participate in the tragedy, only someone who has paid the price of the clarity needed to distinguish between good and bad faith could have written a novel like L'Aîné des orphelins. Monénembo's characterization of Faustin as a young man who feels guilty without reason is plausible, given what we know of victims of abuse and their reactions, or those of survivors of other humanitarian catastrophes. One can only speculate about Monénembo's own experiences as an exile. In Monénembo, McNee proposes, we have a rare example of an intellectual who accepts the burden of a certain complicity, the complicity of those who did not speak out or intervene at the time of the genocide and who does not flinch at the cost of confronting that complicity. Of course, the Rwandan genocide recalls the shadows of other genocides and the reflections that others have shared may help us to better understand the Rwandan genocide and its aftermath.
"Monénembo's L'Aîné des orphelins and the Rwandan Genocide."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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