?A nation that forgets its past has no future!? Winston Churchill?s quote on the importance of history can thus be interpreted anew: ?Control over the historiography of a nation is a powerful tool of governance.? But this tool bears a risk especially for post-conflict societies. The falsification of history (re-)opens the field for grievance and prepares the ground for populist arguments. This problem becomes even more evident when history is superimposed by remembrance ? and remembrance becomes part of a national policy.
In 1994 the ethnically motivated conflict in Rwanda culminated in genocide. Since then president Paul Kagame declared reconciliation a central field of his policy. Remembrance became a consciously used instrument and served as a charge against the international community on the one hand and weapon to silent internal critics on the other. The official interpretation of the past must not be questioned.
The Rwandan policy discloses the problems of a state controlled memorial culture and this paper argues that construction or falsification of history, even if implemented with good intentions, has the potential to endanger the process of reconciliation.