Displacements of Memory: Struggles Against the Erosion and Dislocation of the Material Record of Violence in Burundi

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Abstract

This article investigates unofficial commemoration practices, interaction with sites of memory and the fate of the materiality of memory – mass gravesites and their remains – in the context of Burundi’s stalled transitional justice (TJ) process. The focus lies on postwar spaces where material remnants of a violent past struggle against new layers of developmental, infrastructural build-up and political disincentive. The article explores three concrete sites of violence in Burundi as these confront different forms of erasure and displacement of memory, ranging from physical removal and misplacement of remains to symbolic delinkage. In the process, the notions of the public secret, the labor of the negative and truth as revelation are revisited. The article closes with reflections on the latest developments in TJ in Burundi and whether the establishment in 2014 of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission spells a decisive break with the past.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-358
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Transitional Justice
Volume11
Issue number2
Early online date4 May 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2017

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Burundi
erosion
violence
justice
reconciliation
labor
interaction

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