Sunday, July 07, 2013
Service Learning in Rwanda
Other than the many preserved sites of killing all over the country, the government buried many of the dead in a mass grave in Kigali, and built a memorial museum next to it. It presented the background, the history, the acts of killing, torturing, and many other acts of absolute horror, the faces of many of victims - including many children, the shameful (lack of) international attention and response to the genocide. The United Nations actually withdrew peace keeping troops from Rwanda when it was obvious what the attackers were doing.
I was made aware of that this was a planned event, many years in the making. It was not a terrible event incited by accidents. For years, theorists had been developing and promoting ideas that the Tutsi were bad people, not even human in fact. Lists of targets had been made up, and plans for their capture and murder were ready when they decided to launch the genocide.
This is not just an isolated act of evil. Just in the recent past, similarly horrible evil had been perpetuated in Turkish Armenia, Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Nanjing, China, during the Second World War, Communist China, Communist Cambodia, former Yugoslavia, and many other places. Such is the depravity that we human beings are capable of. Fortunately for us human beings, there is also hope. There were many acts of courage during the genocide. The country has been recovering quickly, and the emphasis now is not retaliation but reconciliation. Many people come to visit these memorials, bringing flowers. I laid a rose.
The current government is quite effective, corruption is low, the country is amazingly clean, and the people are friendly. We hope to learn a lot from the people and make a lot of friends in these 2 weeks.