This article argues that on the borderland between eastern DRC and Rwanda, the past and its representations have been constantly manipulated. The cataclysmic events in both Rwanda and Congo since the 1990s have widened the gap between partial and politicized historical discourse and careful historical analysis. The failure to pay attention to the multiple layers in the production of historical narratives risks reproducing a politicized social present that ‘naturalizes’ differences and antagonisms between different groups by giving them more time-depth. This is a danger both for insiders and outsiders looking in. The answer is to focus on the historical trajectories that shape historical narratives, and to ‘bring history back in’.