Posted on: Monday, April 13th, 2009
I attended the 15 year memorial of the Rwanda genocide at a gathering of the Calgary Rwanda-Calgary community. It was sobering to hear a recount of the events that led to the preventable genocide. There were many acts of complicity by the international community. There were many acts of barbarism by Rwandans. What struck me were stories of acts of resistance during and acts of resilience after the carnage.
Resistance – there were many Rwandans who hid, who fled, who helped others hide. Hutus who sheltered Tutsis, relatives, strangers, foreigners, Romeo Dallaire. Some hid in holes, others among dead bodies. There were countless heroes who did not agree with what was going on and found courage to oppose the reign of terror with simple acts of resistance. There are many people everyday, everywhere who find courage to oppose the oppressive powers present in systems of government, in institutions, in their bodies etc.
Resilience – the moderator of the event said “we can only blame the colonial powers so much, we can only blame the international community so much, but we have to take responsibility for what happened in our country.” Not only are they taking responsibility for the past but many are taking responsibility for the future. Numerous non-profit initiatives have been set up including some focused especially on the children who will know themselves only as Rwandans – not Tutsis or Hutus! And above all resiliency is seen in the songs and commitments made by the youth of that country – the song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0LPnetim_o
Never Again! This is a great attitude towards a persistent enemy. One that has brought devastation, truama and tragedy.