THE CHURCHES. 2014

Twenty years.

Twenty years.

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.

These clothes just hang here, now for twenty years, as it rains, and heats and cools and dust settles. The blood washed away, still stained though.

These clothes just hang here, now for twenty years, as it rains, and heats and cools and dust settles. The blood washed away, still stained though.

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4 Comments on “THE CHURCHES. 2014

  1. Thanks for this report, even though gruesome as it might be! Me too, made a point to visit (with Vernon) the concentration camp of BUCHENWALD very near Weimar, the city of Goethe, in the ex. East Germany as I was accompaying WOFA! Percussion & Dance from Guinea whom I had booked at the 1999 Weimar Cultural Capital of Europe Festival and most recently, what’s left from the old Jewish ghetto of LODZ/Poland when I was there with AILEY II which performed at the dance festival in November 2013. We will never forget and think that these visits should be made a must for everyone interested in visiting some parts of the world as these crimes happened not only in Germany or Poland but also in FRANCE (Veld’hiv stadium, Oradour sur Glane) with the complacency of the French people and under the regime of the Vichy government, VILNIUS/Lithuania (where I visited the museum of the holocaust, an old prison with gas chambers left), CAMBODIA and elsewhere, even today not to name particulars area within Southern Europe! And what to think of the many illegal immigrants who try to make it to Southern Italy from Northern Africa in overcrowded boats where from they never come out again….No one seems to really care that much once these churches and monuments are built, the world goes forward with so many people hiding behind/within their Iphones and social networks agendas, corporations taking over, govenrment officials meeting endleesly and everywhere, a few accumulating it all. etc…Should churches, prisons and death camps become the new museums to visit and at no single cost of entry and can people ever forget?

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    • Bernard, your thoughtful comments are interesting, insightful and much appreciated. I imagine I would not be here if it had not been for our trips many years ago. I mention you often when I talk to my grandchildren about coming to Africa. We are staying at the Thulani Lodge in Joburg which will seriously remind me of you. Pictures to follow! Take care. See you sometime before too long I hope. Hi to Vernon….

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      • Good hearing back from you guys and enjoy the Thulani Lodge, its peaceful surroundings, the museum in downtown Joburg and don’t miss Soweto, wgy not Capetown if your travel bring you that far South!

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  2. Marjorie thanks for sharing these pictures. Will we ever stop visiting this horror on one another? I think every person in the entire world should come to one of these places of horror and death, just like Christians visit Rome or go on a pilgrimage or followers of Islam who must make their pilgrimage…all peoples should go to these places of the failure of humanity and reflect on what it says about us. Our “leaders” need to have the courage to stop killing other people to solve problems. oh dear. Way too much to think about.

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