In 1994, in the African country of Rwanda, the Hutu majority systematically went about wiping out the Tutsi minority. 800,000 people were massacred in just 100 days. The international community did nothing to intervene.
It was a cooler night, with clear skies and the moon peeking out from behind the neighbouring apartment block. The dishes had been piled in the sink and now cups of tea and half eaten cookies were resting by their elbows. Friends was on in the background, but neither Matilda or Lucy had been paying it much attention. It was an episode they’d seen before, the one where Monica thinks the cleaning lady is stealing from her.
“Do you think it’s possible to have survivor’s guilt just from existing?”
Lucy looked up from what had been a long Instagram scroll. “Sorry, what about survivor’s guilt?”
“Well, we were discussing the Rwandan genocide in class today. All of these people massacred, and no one did anything to stop them. Our teacher told us that the Hutu’s would force families to rape each other, so in the middle of the night Tutsi neighbours would switch so that at least it wasn’t your own relative that you were forced to, you know…”
Ross: I just heard this morning that an old lady in my apartment died.
Rachel: Oh my god. Was she old? Did she have a view?
“…I cried about it on the bus home.”
“That’s horrible. God, that’s just…I mean, geez.”
“Yeah, that’s pretty much it.”
“Sometimes I don’t think those things are worth thinking about.”
The genocide began within the Hutu military. The soldiers and police encouraged the civilians to take part in the killings. Participants were given incentives, in the form of money, food, or land, to kill the Tutsis. The massacres were carried out mainly with machetes. People died horribly.
“Lawrence utilises the two male characters in Lady Chatterley’s Lover to demonstrate man’s dichotomous nature, believing that full humanity is achieved when both the body and the spirit are in harmony. Clifford represents the intellectual husband whose impotence embodies the debilitating effects of a culture that values the spiritual or intellectual at the expense of the physical. Mellors, on the other hand, draws his energies from nature and physicality, mostly through sex. When Connie asks what he believes in, he replies, ‘I believe in being warm-hearted. I believe especially in being warm-hearted in love, in fucking with a warm heart’.”
Matilda put down her pen, and looked over at Lucy. “I don’t know how you do that.”
“How I do what?”
“Just not think about things. Before, when we were talking about Rwanda. You said, ‘sometimes I don’t think those things are worth thinking about’.”
“Yeah, I don’t. They make me too sad. I get all depressed and mopey. What’s the point of that? It doesn’t change anything.”
Matilda sighed, and looked out the window. The apartment across the way was lit up, they seemed to be having a party. She could hear a very out of tune rendition of ‘Shallow’ being sung. They seemed to be having a good time. “Yeah, I get that. Ever since doing the readings, I feel like I’ve had this almost physical pain. My heart feels, I dunno, heavy. But I don’t know. It feels important too. This is the world we live in. I don’t think we can just plead ignorance. It’s how people get away with literal genocide, people burying their heads in the sand. I’m currently writing an essay on the symbolism of the phallus in Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It just all seems so trivial.”