Among the many colleagues who kindly commented on earlier drafts I especially want to thank Gerd Baumann, Johan Heilbron, Peter Geschiere, Wouter Gomperts, Peter Kloos, Ton Robben and Bonno Thoden van Velzen.

1. Cf. Freud (1930, 50-1): ‘…in the beginning humans lived in family units of an adult male, his consorts and his immature young. The gradual progress of civilization entailed the withdrawal of some of man’s sexual libido from the women of his little horde, and used it in the business of cementing ties between larger units of individuals…this – emergent civilization – is the domain of men‘ (Italics in the original).

2. Cf. de Swaan (1995) and the work of S. Freud, H. Laswell and V. Volkan cited there. For a discussion of the various meanings of the term ‘projective identification’ see Bateman and Holmes (1995) and Gabbarth (1994). In psychoanalytic literature, the expression, coined by Melanie Klein, often refers to the relation between a client and a therapist. Interestingly enough, it sometimes denotes the mechanism by which the analyst comes to identify with the – negative – qualities that the patient has projected unto him, in the context of transference and countertransference. It is the interactive, relational connotation of the concept, its dialectical nature, that is of special interest in the present ‘social’ setting.

3. Fletcher (1995, 289-91) explicitly mentions ‘a contraction in the scope of mutual identification’ as one of three criteria for ‘decivilizing processes.’ Cf. also Elias (1989); Mennell (1990).

4. For a political history of colonial conquest on the African continent see Wesseling (1991, 169-205).

5. Cf. Newbury (1988, 18): ‘These and other transformations associated with the growth of state power and the expansion of capitalism were critical in the development of political consciousness among rural dwellers and in the configuration and political salience of ethnicity in Rwanda.’

6. Cf. Thomas & Thomas (1928, 572) ‘If men define situations as real they are real in their consequences.’

7. For a discussion of the debate on ‘ethnicity’, and especially on the denial of any ethnic differences among the Burundi ruling class, ‘ethnic amnesia as rational choice’, cf. Lemarchand (1996, 30-33).

8. See Prunier (1995, 5-13), for a review of the sometimes quite baffling early versions of ‘Tuutsi’ origins.

9. I have as yet not found the administrative rules of ethnic assignment.

10. For a sweeping statement of this position, see Le Monde of 12 November 1996, p. 10: ‘Dominique Franche, géographe: “Il n’y a qu’une seule ethnie au Rwanda, l’ethnie rwandaise”‘

11. Lemarchand (19961-16) forcefully documents the same point, pp. 1-16. Bäck’s references have been omitted from the quotation.

12. De Lame, (1996, 73), on the village of Murundi.

13. The rich are not only richer, as Scott Fitzgerald remarked, they are also better looking. Rich people can more easily select healthy, well-shaped mates, tall, without socially undesirable blemishes or deformities and in so doing reproduce a socially desirable genotype.

14. On the acceleration of genetic evolution through sexual selection, see Dawkins (1986, 199-216).

15. See however also the very critical review of Malkki’s book by Gourevitch (1996) and the rejoinder by Malkki (1996).

16. It is not clear what the term ‘cultural identity’ means in this context.

17. For a discussion of the status of the distinction between ‘close’ and ‘distant’ affective relations in the history of social theory, see Calhoun (1991) and the interesting comments by Shils (1991).

18. Cf. Malkki (1995, 66): ‘…the primary oppositional differentiation – that between the Hutu and the Tutsi – was elaborated in the mythico history on many levels: cultural, social, political, and physical. Each of these levels signified the others, and they all came together in establishing a fundamental and irreconcilable categorical difference between Hutu and Tutsi.’ (Italics in the original).

19. The matter is further complicated by the observation that the ‘Hutu’ refugees expressed admiration for thievery and trickery by their own people, cf. Malkki (1995, 186).

20. In the present account the third ‘ethnic’ group, the small ‘Twa’ minority is largely ignored. It is however interesting that Malkki’s ‘Hutu’ considered the ‘Twa’ at once as less civilized and as ‘Bantu’s’ just like them, but even more so: ‘…the Twa were idealized as natives.’ On similar Serb fantasies about Gypsies, see van de Port (1994).

21. Malkki (1995, 82-8). It should be borne in mind that women in Rwanda remain closely connected to their fathers and brothers. Another main theme raised by Malkki has been skipped here: the Belgian presence as an essentially benevolent and moderating force. Among the ‘Hutu-power’ activists, the Belgians were despised as treacherous father figures and the supportive, paternal role was assigned to the French, although they were also blamed for never doing enough to protect their ‘favorite sons’, the militia of the Interahamwe. Cf. the documents presented in the impressive collection of Hutu-power propaganda published in Chrétien (1995, 278-283). The French involvement in the events is discussed at length by Prunier (1995, 281-311). Cf. also Keane (1995).

22. These are some sentences from the original, written in a mixture of Kinyarwanda and French in Kangura, 6, published in French by Chrétien c.s., and here translated into English by this author.

23. I have not been able to ascertain whether, as in Europe, cockroaches are also considered ‘unclean’.

24. Translation by this author. Note the use of geographical names, i.e. the references to the national map, in constructing a nationwide brotherhood of ‘Hutu’.

25. There was one radio for every thirteen citizens in 1989, as compared to one in seventy in 1970.

26. For the theoretical relations between these different levels of analysis in the explanation of ‘ethnic conflict’, see Kaufman (1996), who distinguishes ‘”first-image” explanations, which focus on human nature and mass behaviour; “second-image” explanations, which focus on the nature of states and elite behaviour; and “third-image” explanations, which focus on the nature of the international system.’ (p. 149). The preceding sections of this paper have dealt mostly with ‘first-image’ explanations.

27. For an account of recent events in Rwanda, see Braeckman (1994), Keane (1995); de Temmerman (1994). All three books are written by reporters and reveal a slight bias in favor of the ‘Tuutsi’, the victims of the episode they witnessed. For a more scholarly account cf. Prunier (1995). Since the 1930, progressive priests had begun to sympathize with the downtrodden of old, the ‘Hutu’, and the account by a Protestant Dutch missionary implicitly conveys the tone of this preference: Overdulve (1994).

28. Lemarchand (1996, 27) considers the massacres of 1972 a genocide in every respect but one: he does not think there was a clear intent to exterminate the ‘Hutu’ population.

29. For a description of the Bosnian conflict in these terms , see de Swaan (1994).

30. Prunier (1995, 5, 30), neatly opposes ‘primordial’ and ‘instrumental’ explanations of ethnic conflict. But the instrumentalist view already presupposes that shared images of past bloodshed circulate, sometimes quite recent, not always factual, but available as ‘primordial instruments’ to be activated and mobilized by political entrepreneurs.

31. I am grateful to Peter Kloos for pointing out this aspect of the Rwandan conflict.


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