If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know that I’m huge on inclusiveness, queerness, and intersectionality. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes (at least not when I don’t mean to), and I also don’t want something I write to be absurdly wrong when it comes to a culture. However, I’m highly skeptical of using Google to find answers, so I thought I would put out some questions to you guys to see what insight you could offer me.
For NaNoWriMo, I’m expounding on a story I wrote for a class last May. The basic story is that my protagonist is a half-demon kid named Ceri who lives in Rwanda. So first of all, I want to get his cultural background right, but I can’t find any information about life in Rwanda (housing conditions, technological conditions, cultural beliefs) in the early nineties that doesn’t have to do with the Rwandan Genocide. So my first question to you is:
Do you have or know of any resources that have accurate presentations and descriptions of Rwandan life for that time period?
Secondly, that brings me to the Rwandan Genocide. (I want to state beforehand that I am a white American) Ceri and his mother have Tutsi identification outside their half-demon cities, and when they’re on the run, they take refuge in a church that suffers a similar end as the one in Gikondo. The reason I chose this setting is because I need a setting where Ceri experiences vile inhumanity, is killed, and then when he revives himself (he can never die), his mother is killed and he is taken as a prisoner.
I know many people choose to use WWII concentration camps for the backgrounds of characters with my same intent (such as Erik/Magneto from X-Men), but I realize there are different mindsets around each tragedy. So my second question is:
Is it insensitive of me to use the Rwandan Genocide as part of my character’s life story?
The purpose of including the genocide is that it needs to show humanity at its worst and most raw form, which will shape Ceri’s personality and ideas of the future. However, it’s fairly recent and I’m not sure how others would react to it since it doesn’t seem to be something that is talked about very often.
If you guys could leave a comment giving me your ideas and initial thoughts about this, I would really appreciate it. I’m doing a lot of research to help myself get things right, but I’d rather hear from real people. So what do you guys think?