There are events around the world that we in the West just cannot comprehend. I had briefly heard about the Rwandan Genocide after it happened, but since I was young I did not take it to heart. My husband and I surveyed 4 different African countries and had the opportunity to visit Rwanda. To us, the country was a place to visit and we were considering whether God would have us move there, but the Genocide was the farthest thing from our mind. The director with our mission board arranged for us to visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre while we were in Rwanda. I went determined to learn something new, to understand a culture better and to appreciate our surroundings. What I didn’t anticipate was being completely devastated and horrified.
From April 6 to July 16 1994, 100 days, at least 1 million Tutsi Rwandans were slaughtered by their fellow countrymen, the Hutus. It is a complicated history that cause the Rwandans to turn against each other, but the way I understand it, the European settlers put the minority Tutsi people group in leadership over the Hutus. The people were taught in schools that man evolved from monkeys and gave them the belief that men are not created equal. The hatred the Hutus had for their leadership grew over time and led to a 100 day war that killed 10% of the countries population.
I saw every face differently after we gained that awful understanding of their history. Everyone teen and adult had been impacted by the genocide. These people carried on their daily lives, and before that visit, I had no idea of the pain they held in their hearts. Everyone lost someone, and there is no telling which of the people walking among us played a part in the executions.
Before I was enlightened to their history they were just people, and after they were…just people. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9. Even after the knowledge of the terrible sins of this people I understood that I was not any different.
God is perfect and holy, none of us are like Him, and so we are all the same. Jesus came into the world, as the Son of God, to redeem the whole world to Himself. I have accepted this salvation by faith, and these people should have the same opportunity.
The museum was life changing, but it is in Rwanda; herein lies the dilemma. I would not suggest anyone to fly around the world to visit this memorial, but I do believe everyone would benefit from the lessons this country has to offer. We are all capable of these terrible actions, we are all subject to brainwashing and feelings of superiority. I think that if we all knew our history we would understand the trend and be less likely to repeat the sins of our fathers.