Monday, July 21, 2014

A Writer's Genocide Research Reflections

I researched the topic of my novels, Sojourner's Dream and Lamentation of a Warrior, for years before, during, and after writing these novels. As a part of my research, I read many books, journals, newspaper articles, and more than a hundred news information website articles on the subject of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, and the Rwandan history that preceded the genocide. Also, I watched many historical documentaries on this topic, and I interviewed a Rwandan person who lost his family in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.

Hence, I accumulated some boxes and disks filled with the research materials on this topic. Within these books, boxes, and disks is more than a decade of researched information which I've read. It often provided inspiration for some of the most poignant scenes of both of my novels. If you're a writer, or a storyteller, you'll, at some point, need to do research on your topic.

When researching, you may also need to explore into the depths of your topic. So, since the core of my topic was genocide, I also did some research into other genocides in various time periods and parts of the world, for example The Holocaust, the Khmer Rouge, the Nanking Massacre, and even the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre.

I'm passionate about history, so I was able to pursue researching this topic with great interest. When researching a topic in depth, it is best to have a strong interest in it. So, this worked in my favor. Though much of what I read during my research on this specific subject was profoundly heartbreaking, and often left me speechless with horror, I learned a great deal about it.

In the mist of the deep sorrow of the topic, there were moments of beauty and insight. For example, there are normally at least a few extraordinarily kind people who risk their lives to help others. The physical beauty of the geography of Rwanda is remarkable, and showed that in even in this midst of such a lovely natural setting, extreme terror can erupt.  Finally, the history of Rwanda, as it relates to other historical topics of African history during the colonial period, provided me with insightful reading.

By Angeline Bandon-Bibum, Author

No comments: