Yesterday (Sunday, Feb 20, 2011) I toured the Genocide Memorial that was built in 2004, above mass graves that had been found. The museum presents in painstaking details the multiple causes and horrific events of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. In a space of 3 months, there were more than 1 million people dead (out of 8,000,000), not counting the mutilated, wounded, refugees, etc. The methodical and planned approach of the massacres (e.g., killing 1,000 people every 20 minutes) belies any spontaneity in that genocide, and their preparations were eerily similar to those of the Nazis towards the Jews.
The massacres are too graphic and heart-wrenching to be included in this blog. I left the museum deeply shaken by the abysmal madness that had momentarily gripped Rwanda. If you want to know more about the genocide, you can watch “Hotel Rwanda” or read Romeo Dalhaire’s “I Shook the Hand of the Devil” [Romeo Dalhaire was the UN general of the peacekeeping force who witnessed powerless, because the UN did not give him the means to control them, these nightmarish events].
Today, Rwandans are amazingly working side by side and trying to put behind this tragic event. One of the survivor’s quote in the museum summarizes well the emotional and mental state of the future of Rwanda: “There will be no humanity without forgiveness. There will be no forgiveness without justice. But there will be no justice without humanity”. Below is a picture where the UN peacekeeping force was headquartered.