Rwanda has many scars from the Genocide; some of the physical ones have become memorials to the slaughtered innocents. We visited two of the churches today where such horrific actions took place it is barely possible to believe them real. People flocking to what they had been led to believe was the place of a god of love and kindness and protection. Tutsis and moderate Hutus, fleeing from their Hutu government killers. Locked in, hacked, shot, burned. Women raped repeatedly, and then killed by poles rammed up their vaginas to their heads, children with their heads bashed against the walls. The clothes are stacked, in one church on the benches where they worshipped, in another on tables, on shelves. They are almost covered now after 20 years with the red dust of Rwanda. A large dark spot still exists on one wall which was the children’s Sunday school I think and where so many small heads were bloodied and broken.
I have been to the churches before. I visited Auschwitz when in Poland. It is the same. The clothes, the possessions, small and large, taken from the victims. Eye glasses, documents, books, things of civilized people taken by the uncivilized.
It is the middle of the night now as I write this. The kids are sleeping, we’ve been back from the churches many hours, have had dinner, have talked a little, veered to other subjects, moved on. We will come back to it. I wanted them to know about it as personally as possible. I think, what if everyone in the world had to witness this, would it make a difference. The answer is no, of course. The people that made these Rwandan and German genocides weren’t untaught savages from the forests; they were Catholics and Lutherans led by their governments.
It feels quite hopeless in the dark of night. Rwanda is prospering, a beautiful country. Germany leads Europe, in terms of economies at least. There are memorials to the people they destroyed. And we babble on about god and truth and reconciliation and forgiveness. Blah blah blah, while the killing goes on all over the world…this a genocide, that a civil war, there an act of terrorism, then a mass murder. God bless us all. Yeah, right.