Volume 10, 2008
You Shall Not Kill
This paper explores the meaning of the ethical command “You Shall Not Kill” subliminally included in the main exhibition of The Kigali Memorial Centre, Rwanda. The Centre was opened on the 10th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, in April 2004 and contains a permanent exhibition of the Rwandan genocide and an exhibition of other genocides around the world. In order to achieve this aim, this paper takes as a point of departure, Emmanuel Levinas’s interpretation of the 6th Commandment. This well-known interpretation is then read through the prism of Jacques Derrida’s critique of Levinas’s early work in Violence and Metaphysics. The aim of this reading is to understand the subliminal message of the Memorial Centre as enounced not by the victimized Tutsi curators or by the Rwandan people in general, but by human beings unavoidable need to reach out towards the other, not in an effort for dialogue (for
that is always a form of violence), but in an effort to keep the future open, an opening without fulfillment.