This April marks the 20th anniversary of the genocide.
In remembrance of the tragedy, IU student organization the Books & Beyond Project and the Global Village Living-Learning Center teamed up with IU Cinema to screen a film series including films “Sometimes in April,” showing today, “As We Forgive,” on April 8 and “Africa United,” on April 22. All showings start at 7 p.m.
Dr. Jeffrey D. Holdeman, the director of the Global Village Living-Learning Center, said he believed a film series would visually educate students about the Rwandan Genocide, the aftermath and the impact Books & Beyond has on current Rwandan students.
Students involved with Books & Beyond work with students from a TEAM Charter School in Newark, N.J., and Rwanda’s Kabwende Primary School to write children’s short stories.
In its sixth year of operation, the organization produced about 2,000 student-authored books to increase the literacy rate of children in Rwanda and promote education.
Junior Emily Beeson, the treasurer of Books & Beyond, joined the group for its local, national and international impact.
“I wanted my college experience to be present on campus, but at the same time, there’s a world outside of college, outside of IU that I really wanted to be in touch with,” Beeson said.
Holdeman said he wishes for students to establish a connection to the genocide past the confinements of the classroom.
“We spend so much time reading textbooks and articles in our classes and that distance that’s created between the person who wrote it and the electronics it’s printed on and you are sitting in a coffee shop reading it or in class and discussing it, there’s so much distance there,” he said.
Beeson said students who come to watch the film series should view the movies with an open mind on a dark topic.
At the end of each film, Holdeman said specialists have been asked to come present a talk back session where questions will be answered, discussions started and resources shared.
He said in Rwanda, impediments on speech about the genocide in political, legal and sociocultural laws prevent a dialogue from occurring.
“You have this very moving experience, and you can’t just have an open conversation about what happened,” Holdeman said. “The film series allows us to have some of a discussion, allows for people to have a way of learning more and having a starting place.”
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