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The Shadow of Imana: Travels in the Heart of Rwanda by Veronique Tadjo

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It is evidently clear from the discussion that in her narrative, Tadjo manages to show a sense of desperation within the community as the genocide was taking place. This desperation is extremely infectious, even for the reader especially in the scene where it is stated, “ Rwandan colleagues were begging him to take them with him or at least to take their children, their wives” (30). This is a truly heartbreaking scenario because, despite the fact that large numbers of individuals in Rwanda were capable of helping the Tutsis and moderate Hutus escape the massacre, they chose not to because they felt that they would be putting their own lives in danger.

After the genocide, however, many individuals-especially the foreigners who had fled the country during this period-ended up feeling guilty as well as at least partially responsible for the deaths of those people that they could have saved. The feeling of guilt that was brought about, as a result, has spurred some foreign workers who were in Rwanda before the genocide to return and help the country heal. Years after the genocide took place; they have finally come back to the country to take the responsibility that they ignored when their colleagues begged them out of desperation to carry out.

In one such case, Tadjo observes that “ he wants to convince himself that it is possible to turn back the hands of time… .He wants to free his spirit from the enormous burden of flight” (30). The desperation that many foreign workers in Rwanda had in their bid to escape with their lives is shown to have turned into desperation filled with remorse as they attempt to find absolution for taking cowardly actions instead of saving their friends.

This scene allows one to come to the conclusion that it is not only the people of Rwanda who need to make peace with themselves but also those foreigners who worked within the country and escaped, leaving their friends and colleagues behind.

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preview essay on The Shadow of Imana: Travels in the Heart of Rwanda by Veronique Tadjo
  • Pages: 6 (1500 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Literature
  • Level: Masters
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