3) Discuss the idea of forgiveness and guilt in Machete Season. In your paper, analyze how the men discuss the idea of guilt how they understand the concept of forgiveness. Consider: How do different men in the group understand guilt and forgiveness? Do the men feel guilt? Are you surprised by their sense/lack of guilt? Why are you surprised? How does Hatzfeld treat this topic?
Philosopher Paul Ricoeur posed the question, how “can one forgive someone who does not admit his guilt?”(Hatzfeld 195) Whether this admission of guilt is enough to be forgiven or not, the “sincere” taking of responsibility for one’s actions is an absolute minimum in striving for forgiveness. Ricoeur’s question becomes especially relevant when discussing the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, in which the Hutu perpetrators, who killed hundreds of thousands of Tutsi, are now seeking forgiveness for their actions. In Machete Season by Jean Hatzfeld, a close-knit gang of such Hutu genocide perpetrators was interviewed concerning their role in the genocide as well as their views concerning regret and forgiveness. While a majority of those interviewed admit their guilt in killing the Tutsis, their lack of remorse makes their apologies and actions largely unforgivable. This insincerity can be seen through their selfish concerns and motives, emphasis on receiving forgiveness from God rather than those victimized, and vision of a return to a completely unaffected future.
Prior to assessing the sincerity of their regret and apologies, we must see to what extent they believe themselves to being responsible. These men cite several key recurring justifications for their actions. The first is the intoxicating anti-Tutsi environment created by the Rwandan President’s death being blamed on the Tutsis. These men claim that the consequent emotion led to many of them being “carried away in a tumult, an uproar, a commotion”(215) and resorting to violence. This turbulent environment also made accepting orders...
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