Netflix’s limited series, Black Earth Rising, follows our protagonist, Kate Ashby, and her friends in trying to urge people to understand the importance of remembrance in the conversation of the Rwandan genocide. The genocide lasted for around 100 days in 1994 when the Hutu ethnic majority murdered an unfathomable number of the Tutsi minority.
By underlining the importance of remembering and fully understanding the cause of one’s trauma, Black Earth Rising revisits the Rwandan genocide in the realms of justice and law.
Here’s the scoop on the best quotes from Black Earth Rising!
1. “What motivates you to vomit up all this neocolonialist bullshit?” – Jay
2. “…you have the temerity to expect them [Black Africans] to turn to you for justice. For justice that only you can provide for crimes that surely would never have happened had your world not gone there in the first place.” – Jay
3. “African problems deserve African solutions.” – Jay
At the beginning of the first episode, during a Q&A session at a university, a student named Jay acutely points out the neocolonialist and white savior sentiment of Eve’s job as a white lawyer, practicing justice under a white judiciary system — the International Criminal Court.
4. “Americano? Flat white? Can’t give a nutjob too much responsibility.” – Kate
When her doctor asks her how her work is, Kate Ashby, our protagonist, wittily remarks on different coffee drinks, implying her little presence in her job doing menial work, as she is mentally struggling from her trauma.
5. “I see myself as a patient. We all are. Only the truly mad think they’re in control of their life.” – Kate
6. “See, that’s my problem, Doc. I don’t know who it is I’m supposed to connect with. Guess that’s why I tried to kill myself.” – Kate
Kate shows her bitter sentiment towards the Rwandan genocide as a survivor herself.
7. “I mean, to me, what you’re going, it’s like the Second World War is over, and suddenly you’ve decided to prosecute General Eisenhower because he tried to stop Hitler.” – Kate
When Kate realizes her mother, Eve, is responsible for prosecuting Simon Nyamoya for his war crimes in Congo, Kate is mad, for he is a hero who brought the Rwandan genocide to a major halt.
8. “Sometimes, sir… Europeans have difficulty telling our faces apart. You’re mistaken.” – Doctor Busasa
9. “The fuck I am!” – Major Charles Bouchard
Black Earth Rising wittily depicts the ignorance of the white hegemony, as the white character, Major Charles Bouchard mistakes a patient in the hospital for the international war criminal, who contributed to the Rwandan genocide, Patrice Ganimana.
10. “It’s a start, darling. And… Daddy will find the end. I promise.” – Michael
Michael whispers to his daughter, Hana, who fell into a coma after a car accident.
11. “Take a look at this. Take a good hard look. This is what they did to me. I don’t remember my family. Or my country. Nothing. I don’t know my own name! The only thing I know is that it happened to nearly a million people, and I will never forget it. And neither should anyone else.” – Kate
Revealing the scar on her stomach, Kate cries out about her trauma rooted in the Rwandan genocide and her suffering of not knowing who she even is.
12. “For countries that have no recourse to justice, for people who believe that day will never come, we’re trying to make a difference. Thank you.” – Eve
13. “It’s foul. But the shock of it might… you know, help.” – Michael
After Eve is unexpectedly assassinated, Michael meets Kate at the hospital and offers her a cup of cheap vending machine coffee.
14. “Eve always insisted she was my mother. But she wasn’t. She was the woman who rescued me. And, actually, she didn’t do that bit either, not the actual rescuing.” – Kate
15. “I don’t remember any of it, just what I’m told.” – Kate
16. “I was never going to get fixed. But… that’s why I’m standing here today, looking anything like a human. It’s because of her. Eve Ashby. And… she wasn’t my mother.” – Kate
At Eve’s funeral, Kate makes a truthful, cold, yet heartfelt speech about her mother.
17. “I want you to feel like there’s somebody at the center of your life. For as long as you need it.” – Michael
18. “And what do you get? Oh, yes. A replacement daughter.” – Kate
19. “That’s why I like you, Kate. You say the things other people wouldn’t dare.” – Michael
20. “This isn’t the destination, Kate.” – Michael
21. “What if your mother didn’t see Nyamoya as a destination? More a bridge. I don’t know for sure. But this may be a way to find out.” – Michael
Responding to Kate’s frustration with her mother’s case with Nyamoya, Michael offers a different perspective that the Nyamoya case might be connected to something bigger.
22. “Because, sir, for many years, your country was on the side of the genocide planners. And when the genocide happened and my army brought it to an end, your country was too ashamed to admit their guilt and have instead tried to tarnish my innocence. The one to try cancel the other. And that cannot be.” – Alice
Alice Munezero states the despicable attitude of the French during the Rwandan genocide and contends her innocence in committing the war crime of murdering a white priest.
23. “Originally from loving parents.” – Kate
Kate’s wit shines again; at the ignorant and clearly racist question of where Kate is “really” from — due to her Black identity.
24. “But you must remember: The blame for their death lies as much with the Tutsi who invaded the country as with the Hutu who held the machete.” – Jacques Antoine Barré
25. “Do you realize how offensive that remark is?” – Kate
26. “I realize the truth is far more complex than you may wish to hear.” – Jacques Antoine Barré
Despite knowing Kate’s Tutsi identity, Barré ignorantly stands on the fence regarding the Rwandan genocide and seemingly blames both parties.
27. “Ooh, I’m not sure subtlety’s my strongest suit.” – Kate
28. “I’m used to that, losing things I love. Been doing it all my life.” – Kate
Kate numbly remarks, implying her harrowing past as a genocide survivor and the trauma she had to live with as a burden.
29. “The Lord… is always here and here. Always.” – Abbot
30. “Not in mine. Not me. I kicked him out a long time ago. I’m a genocide survivor. No one is beyond the reach of the Almighty, Abbot.” – Kate
Kate’s cynical sentiment towards religion, specifically Christianity, based on her being a survivor of the genocide, is explicitly depicted here.
31. “I’m so very sorry that you have to revisit such a dreadful part of your past. But we’re so very grateful that you’re willing to do it.” – Michael
32. “Our field was our world. The sun shone. The water fell. The crops grew. Everything that came, also it would go. And then, it would come again. Until one day, the thing that came… it would never leave.” – Genocide Survivor
33. “Why ask me when I cannot speak?” – Genocide Survivor
34. “Because words would fail.” – Michael
Understanding the unfathomable trauma genocide survivors are to be burdened with as they live on, Michael tenderly embraces the mute survivor’s personal account of the genocide.
35. “This case… Better than the box set of Seinfeld.” – Michael
36. “Do you wonder why there is no picture of me? Because I’m not dead. My father only worships what he has lost.” – Sophie Barré
37. “And now, I’m going to flush out that fucking priest.” – Kate
With the help of Barre’s daughter, Sophie, after acquiring a photograph of the French General who supported Barré’s false claim of Alice murdering the priest as a witness Kate, with a determined face, heads back to the monastery, where Patenaude is.
38. “You should go to the hospital. Because when you are a genocide denier, you do not see straight.” – Florence
39. “I watch her. I watch him. And if I see anything happen to either of them, you will not see the end of that day.” – Florence
Florence, who was protecting Kate from possible danger, digs a knife into Kate’s pursuer, Tat Picot’s eye, and reminds him of the reality of the genocide. Thanks to Florence, Kate is able to chase after Patenaude.
40. “My name is Pascal Patenaude. I am alive.” – Pascal Patenaude
41. “Self-evidently, we have failed. And, anyway, I’ve become tired of lying. I’m a soldier, not a politician. Or a lawyer.” – Brigadier General Lesage
With the appearance of Patenaude, Alice’s innocence is proven, as the French General admits his fraudulence and accepts his punishment.
42. “I am… free. At last, I am free.” – Alice
43. “After over a decade, this yoke, no, this manacle… has finally been broken from my neck. And not just mine. From around the throats of every single Rwandan. Each and every one of whom I represent here today.” – Alice
44. “By taking this action, by proving the complete and total fallacy of their accusations, we have snapped the collar, ripped the whip from their hands, broken it, and thrown it at their feet.” – Alice
45. “And I am here today to look them in the eye and say, ‘We are your equal. We are not afraid. So now, when I return home, my head will be held high. My past will have been reclaimed. And my future will be in my own hands.’” – Alice
Alice makes a bold speech on the Western system’s attempt on painting them as the culprit, while they establish themselves as bystanders and those who fight for justice.
46. “I beat the system. So do you know what I have to do now? Make sure the system doesn’t go and beat me right back.” – Alice
47. “And if I have to turn away from a case, once again, for reasons of political expediency, I don’t think the old prostate could take it.” – Michael
48. “Maybe the kindest thing to do is just let her go.” – Michael
49. “But if there’s a chance, you’ve gotta hold on to it.” – Harper
Michael quietly ruminates about what he should do for Hana, who is now in a coma for three years, as Harper, his ex-wife’s husband, tenderly urges him to hold on.
50. “You’re in mourning. Most people just go to the family album.” – Michael
51. “Whereas with me, it’s just a bit of a bloodstained cloth.” – Kate
Kate acquires a part of her from Alice — a bloodstained cloth, which Kate right away realizes it’s from a shirt she would have been wearing on the day she was rescued. With her reality of having an empty past living in Rwanda, Kate is to rely on the cloth for her memory she scarcely remembers.
52. “My father died young. My mother saw him in me, and my stepfather hated what she saw.” – Michael
53. “You want to fall for the older man, this is what you get.” – Michael
54. “Right now, you’re the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen.” – Kate
Michael and Kate connect with each other over a bowl of cereal and their personal stories.
55. “Western justice belittles our judiciary for not being fit for purpose. But when its own system so flagrantly fails to deliver the justice our people most deserve, then we will, and we must deliver it for them.” – David
56. “I’m definitely Bobby Fischer. Because up here… [tapping on her head] I’m completely fucked. But the danger for you is I don’t give a shit.” – Kate
57. “Tell your client he’ll never be free.” – Kate
58. “Can you hear that? It’s piss in my boots.” – Gaines
Gaines, the lawyer for the war criminal Patrice Ganimana, who is responsible for murdering countless innocent Tutsis during the Rwandan genocide, visibly ignores Kate’s threats of her determination of making Ganimana pay for what he has participated in.
59. “Because once you’ve been touched by evil, it never let’s go. It worms its way inside of you, sits there, grows there, until the day you suddenly realize that the thing you’re most afraid of being caught by it’s already there, right in the heart of you. And nothing you can do will ever defeat it.” – Kate
60. “Ours is a modern society, looking to take its place in a modern world. There is no magic in it.” – Alice
Alice reminds Michael that Rwanda has a modern society of its own, that it is not a foreign and magical place many white and Western individuals might think of — the Rwandan society is the same as any European society, as Alice criticizes the ubiquitous white perspective that continues to mystify and infantilize African societies.
61. “As a matter of fact, if I’m not wearing a space suit these days, I find it increasingly hard to breathe.” – Michael
62. “We have not been comfortable with any of this for over 20 years.” – Alice
63. “Oh Michael. You are forgetting. In my country, we are all traumatized. Every single one. Me included. And all I am trying to do is to help us to come to terms with it.” – Alice
As Michael shows discomfort at the Rwanda genocide, Alice reminds Michael of the actual victims and the pain and trauma that forever will reside in them.
64. “You Westerners are so self-centered. Everything about me.” – Bibi
65. “If you were me, you would know there is only so much truth that my country can hear. Maybe that’s why I’m going deaf.” – Bibi
Bibi’s determination to keep fueling her country to face forward and advance into the future is definitive, for she believes that some memories, such as the Rwandan genocide, presumably create a divide among the people.
66. “I have spent half my life living with strangers, and now I–I don’t even know who you are. Except for this woman I have to meet in weird places, surrounded by dangerous-looking men.” – Mary
67. “Nobody in my life wants to kill me, it is only in yours. Do you think that’s fair? That I have to live my life because of your choices?” – Mary
68. “What do you care? How are you going to fix it? By sending in the army?” – Mary
Mary expresses her frustration towards her relationship with Bibi, her mother. When Bibi tries to start a conversation by asking about Mary’s relationship with her boyfriend, Joseph, Mary snaps back, pained by her mother’s absence throughout her life.
69. “I want you to be happy, that is all.” – Bibi
70. “I want a mother, that is all.” – Mary
71. “I have lost years, Mama. Years! And I am never going to get them back. With a father that I never knew and a mother who never knew me. How is that for an upbringing?” – Mary
Mary continues to express her feelings towards her mother, as she storms away.
72. “Everyone has been lying to you. Everyone.” – David
Black Earth Rising constantly have the audience on the edge of their seats, as Kate is continuously told to not trust anyone, or that no one has been truthful to her, heightening the thrilling atmosphere of the show.
73. “You can’t have it… I’m not giving it to you.” – Kate
74. “I spend every second of my life living with what happened.” – Patrice Ganimana
Meeting face to face with Ganimana, Kate sobs. When Ganimana tries to apologize and express the regretful sentiment of his past, Kate stops him and implies that she will not give him the forgiveness he desires — she wishes him to further suffer for his crimes.
75. “I was born at the wrong time, on the wrong side. And I have paid the price.” – Patrice Ganimana
76. “No. No. No, no, no, you haven’t. A million people paid the price. You just have to live with it.” – Kate
77. “Nothing you could do to me could be worse than what I already live with.” – Patrice Ganimana
78. “Not enough. Nowhere near.” – Kate
79. “You know, the older you get, the more you realize… no one gives a shit.” – Mark Viner
80. “I liked your mother. She was strong. Too strong, maybe…you know, storms come, weeds bend, oaks fall. Whatever it is, young lady, I’m guessing it’s what killed your mother. You just be sure it doesn’t do the same to you.” – Mark Viner
Viner, Eve’s acquaintance, and the gatekeeper of his inventory of confidential and important documents warn Kate during her visit to his inventory for her mother’s case files.
81. “So we’ve both been screwed over. How does that make you feel?” – Kate
82. “Beginning to get used to it.” – Michael
Kate converses with Michael after it’s revealed that Florence is working for Eunice.
83. “Baby, I got a problem with everything.” – Kate
84. “Is that what they teach you? To wear a shirt like that? Weaken the female defense.” – Kate
85. “Will you shut up? It’s a shirt I have. I did not think of you when I put it on.” – Florence
Kate, with her usual direct and dry demeanor, converses with Florence upon their arrival in Rwanda.
86. “I’m not gonna be a tourist to my own history.” – Kate
Kate scoffs when she is asked by Florence if she will visit the memorials of the Rwanda genocide.
87. “Bellboy saw me to my room. Showed me around, was a bit slow. Gave him a couple of dollars. And as he turns to go, there’s this huge scar right down the back of his head. Back home, I’m special. Here, I’m just one Tutsi amongst millions.” – Kate
88. “His story, mine, theirs… all individual, but… all the same.” – Kate
89. “I’m Hutu.” – Florence
90. “Well… that sounds similar. Still the same story, just… from the other side.” – Kate
91. “It wasn’t your fault.” – Kate
Kate comforts Florance upon his confession of being Hutu.
92. “Don’t! Don’t infantilize this country!” – Kate
In the conversation about the Rwandan judiciary system, when a white lawyer points out the flaws of the system, Kate remarks to not infantilize Rwanda, echoing a sentiment of how ironic it is that the development of a country is determined by white perspectives, who developed their own countries via wreaking havoc into Third World countries.
93. “I only care about things I can do something about. And now, I can do something about this.” – Eunice
94. “I have got no problem with anything that stops us being subservient to anyone.” – David
95. “It is now. Because if we do not publicly recognize each and every fragment of our past, our story will never be complete.” – Alice
96. “If we are to be truly united, truly reconciled as a country, as a city, in our villages, our streets, to our neighbors, to ourselves, our story has to be complete.” – Alice
Alice makes a speech upon her arrival to Rwanda as a national hero, that in order for the true unity of the people of the country, they need to reconcile and recognize their history and past.
97. “The way you see it, any criticism of your government… is divisionist.” – Michael
98. “They don’t want to look back at any of it. We are all Rwandans now and we just look forward.” – David
On the other hand, David and Bibi both agree that looking forward to the future is the only way.
99. “We are one people now. And anyone who highlights the difference between us is creating division.” – Bibi
100. “And anyone who refuses to inform the people of their complete history is doing the same.” – Alice
101. “Where there is division, the conflict will always follow. Always.” – Bibi
102. “We have a duty to memory.” – Alice
Bibi and Alice respectively contend for Alice to redraw her claims, and Bibi to repeal the laws. Bibi believes ignorance is bliss and the future will only save her country, while Alice believes that they “have a duty to memory.”
103. “It’s a beautiful country.” – Kate
104. “It’s your home.” – Michael
105. “There is nothing usual about you, Michael Ennis.” – Kate
106. “Nor you, Kate Ashby.” – Michael
107. “Your mother. Don’t be too hard on her memory. She only ever wanted to give yours back.” – Michael
Hope you enjoyed these quotes from Black Earth Rising on Netflix!
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