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This paper explores some of the reasons for the failure of the international community to act decisively in pre-empting the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. These are rooted both in long-distant history and in the dynamics of post-Cold War international politics. Drawing on a decade of experience in Central Africa, the author looks critically at the widely accepted explanations of the genocide and its aftermath as `simply tribal fighting’, and considers the role of external agents – journalists and aid agencies alike – in fostering this view. The paper ends with a reflection on the complex challenges posed by `reconciliation’ in the wake of genocide.

This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis.

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