Document Sample
memorial Powered By Docstoc
					Day 1 - 14th Genocide Memorial Week 2008 Tuesday, April 08, 2008
(use wisdom when read to children)

Two thousand people were gathered at the Sector office under a tarp, hugging the sides of the buildings for
shade, and roasting in the sun. It was the usual government personnel encouraging us to fight against
Genocide ideology, to go forward together to build the country, and then came the testimony of a Genocide
survivor in Kibungo. A hush fell over the already attentive crowd.

He deceptively looked to be barely 30, was intelligent, articulate, clean cut. Every word was chosen
carefully and written in a journal. He rarely glanced at it. This was a local businessman who had moved to
Kibungo from a rural area near here. When the Genocide started, he quickly journeyed to his family home
and found them all slaughtered and the house burned. He then came back to Kibungo to his home, which
was near the main road; he could hear them at the roadblock, checking IDs, raping and killing. He knew he
couldn’t stay home, so he ran using a back way to the Catholic Church, the one I pass each day on the way
to the Diocese. The Tutsies had always gathered in churches and government offices for protection when
trouble broke out before.

But this time it was different. This carefully planned annialation of an ethnic group was sinister enough to
use the churches to their advantage. A massive crowd had gathered and people were urged to come inside.
When the priest came in accompanied by the militia, some were suspicious. But the priest had no idea they
were giving information to the Interahamwe (young men trained by the government) who would come the
next day to kill them.

As the grenades and guns went off and the machetes were flying the next day, he and two others ran for the
bathroom. They could witness the devastation through the cracks. Babies were nursing their dead mothers
and when that was gone, they were drinking the flowing blood. Soon he heard them say, “Tootsies in the
bathroom!” and all of a sudden a grenade exploded and everything went dark. When he woke up he
realized the grenade had blown open the floor and they had plunged into the pit; he was missing all but his

Later, he could hear them loading the bodies in the truck, throwing them around like bags of rice. A few
were still moaning. He watched as one older lady crawled out from under the pile and escaped into the
bush; eventually he was able to join her. They were to stick together for the duration. Running to a priest’s
house, they begged to come in. Knowing they would be killed if found, the priest told them to hide under a
blanket under the house as if they were dead. This they did, but the priest’s house was never searched.
“Imagine, he said, a sixty year old woman crawling out from under heavy bodies and then jumping off the

I didn’t know until I came home that she was sitting two rows in front of me. Several of her children had
died in the church, including a son who was a priest. Soon the RPF (liberating forces) came rolling in but
it was hard for them to distinguish between the military so they just identified themselves not knowing
whether they would be killed or saved. The RPF assured them they were there to save them and took them
to a sheltered area. The Genocide was over in just 100 days, but for several years, he couldn’t bear to think
about his family he loved. He had counted on them and they were always there. So he turned to God for
his Hope and Strength. He told us he loves to worship and finds comfort in staying close to God.

Thus ended the opening day of the 14th year of Remembrance. It doesn’t seem possible that this peaceful
place could have seen such blood shed. When other human beings dehumanize people, the unthinkable can
take place, and when a despotic government carries out a carefully devised plan, the people are powerless.
This Week serves to remind the Rwandans and the world that we must intentionally guard against letting
this happen. “Never again!”

We appreciate your prayers for healing of memories and relationships.

Nancy McCue

Day 2 - 14th Rwanda Genocide Remembrance Week 2008

The stadium couldn’t hold us even though it was two sectors plus the Secondary Teachers of our District
who were undergoing “Fight Against Genocide” training at a local school. All over Rwanda this week,
teachers are being trained in each District. Last year, I read in the New Times, our English Newspaper, of
an instance where a teacher was teaching “Genocide Ideology” in a classroom. He was removed, but the
government has realized that it needs to step up its efforts to prevent another Genocide. Everything starts
in the mind. During the Genocide Dialogue today, one of the schools had a sign as you enter the gate -
“Fight Against AIDS and Fight Against Genocide”.

It was noted that our Eastern Province with 27% of the Bad Ideology Cases came in second to the worst,
which was The Western Province with 40% of the cases. It also correlates with the number of people killed
during the Genocide in those provinces. The cases might include throwing stones on the Survivor’s houses,
killing their animals, digging up their gardens and in some cases killing people. This is usually to keep
them from testifying against someone in court. These cases usually increase during Remembrance Week.

Teaching on the History of Genocides around the world included the pattern often followed and Rwanda’s
steps toward Genocide 1) isolation of an ethnic group 2) dehumanizing of the group 3) the selfish use of
this system by colonialists 3) the former government’s insistence on carrying it out 4) the persistent
teaching of genocide ideology for a length of time and 5) isolated incidents of killings prior to the all-out
Genocide of “94.

All were encouraged to help Survivors such as the building of houses on the 4th Saturday of the month,
helping them in various ways, telling the truth in testimonies, and listening to radio programs that fight
against Genocide Ideology. They were encouraged to report any incidents to the government immediately.
Teachers were especially encouraged to grasp the importance of this task as they have a great influence on

All over Rwanda, the stores and institutions are shut down for people to attend these events. Although we
moved our seat five times due to the angle of the sun, it started an hour late and ended at 6:30 PM (which
meant we were sitting in the dark), plus the electricity for the speaker system went out for 30 minutes, I
thought it was a magnificent effort to enlighten the people of Rwanda and set them on a path for a better


Day 3 - 14th Genocide Remembrance Week - 2008

TRUST - I could hear it in their questions. A little lady in a T-shirt, covered with African fabric, gave a
four-minute oration about the “church”. “How can we trust those people who are still are our pastors and
who were active in the Genocide? Maybe we should just have new ones!?

“How do I know the soldiers of the former government who have been incorporated in our present army
won’t harm me?” This was from a young slender girl dressed in western clothes. Five questions were taken
after the presentation by the Asst. to the Chief Army Officer of the Eastern Province and the Roman
Catholic bishop. Both were new to their present positions but were very articulate and knowledgeable.

The bishop explained the background of past Genocides in the world, the description of pre-colonized
Rwanda, and support of the Bible even though “man” may corrupt it. “In the villages of pre-colonized
Rwanda, we disciplined each other’s children, attended each other’s funerals and lived in peace.” he
reminded them. He called the people back to their traditional values and emphasized the love of God that
should govern people’s lives.

The RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front that liberated Rwanda) representative told of the difficulties when they
entered Rwanda. They were fighting the army as well as trying to stop the Genocide. “While we were
fighting,” he lamented, “thousands of Tutsies were being massacred. We’re sorry we couldn’t save them.
At one point when we approached the capital city, Kigali, it took us a day to advance two miles. We were
also unfamiliar with the city (many had been born in Uganda) and it was difficult to recognize the enemy.”
(differences in Hutus and Tootsies are nominal, some looking the opposite of what you might expect) He
assured the young woman that the army was 100% free of Genocide Ideology and that if she knew anything
to the contrary, they would take care of it immediately. One had the feeling that if you did have a Genocide
Ideology and you were in the army, you wouldn’t be around long.

“Many of our people do not trust anyone. We all have wounds, even me.” offered Pastor Mahoro. We were
visiting after the program. I gazed at this man who has been my most cherished friend and “most looked up
to” pastor. “We need your people to pray for us; it took me two years to forgive, and still when I meet
someone who I know has committed a travesty, unforgiveness tries to come back.” My eyes were
brimming. Most Rwandans have a difficult time sharing their deep feelings. It’s cultural as well as forced
on them by Genocide circumstances. I invite you to pray with me for the healing of Rwanda.


Shared By: