“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Martin Luther King, Jr

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ghosts of War, Rwanda's Living Dead

In Rwanda and the neighboring Kivu provinces of the DR Congo, ghosts wander above the Great Lakes. These ghosts are survivors of a horror they will never manage to forget-those that the Rwandans call "bapfuye buhagazi" or "the walking dead." These are the young girls who had abortions after being raped by the interahamwe or Hutu militia. These are the widows, the mothers who saw their children slaughtered before their eyes, children who grew up after seeing their parents die, the killers haunted by remorse and the killers who feel no remorse at all.

They are also the bystanders who pretended there was nothing they could do, the innocents later unjustly accused of murder, the guilty harbingers of death who are afraid of being discovered. These are the ones who are known and who are being blackmailed, the Hutu refugees who never came home, the Tutsi refugees from the Congo who ran from the massacres and still linger in Rwandan camps, the madmen and the broken women.

In many ways the genocide has succeeded, managing to encase the whole country in a huge airless bubble, pretending life goes on but in too many ways it actually stopped on April 7th, 1994.

The sad thing is no one has ever apologized, no truth and reconcilitation commission has been offered them, where the real perptrators are actually present and can be cross-examined. Instead there isa  stricture of the gacaca curts-set up by the Rwandan governments based on a system of community justice, where the deninciators themselves are often guilty and those attending seem more interested in staying on the good side of the present regime, rather than digging into the black past.

The new regime has made using the words Tutsi or Hutu strictly forbidden by law. How can a clear examination of the relationship between Tutsi and Hutu be made? How can you talk about disease without mentioning germs or contagion?

What about the ghosts that walk in the Western world?

Has guilt kept the West fixated on the genocide? Guilt of the Belgian colonizers who were vaguely suspected of having contributed to this mess through their old colonial policies. The guilt of the French government which had supported some of the worst excesses of the Hutu regime beyond the normal limits of political alliance. Guilt of the Americans who refused to use their military intervention when it was called for and finally guilt of the international community when the United Nations compounded it's initial blindness by displaying a massive case of multilateral cowardice.


Anonymous said...

Really a lot of the problems that we have now are nothing but for the colonization and the policies followed by the colonizers. Entire Africa continent was colonized and all such countries have got such problems. No development, warring factions, coup de tats. Military regime, murder of democracy. America, Uk, France and other powers would always like to muddle in politics to gain mileage and benefits. What is the significance of Kuwait in the world? Nothing. But the us administaration went there to overthrow Iraq. Just for oil and Arab presence. Aung sang is being tried by her perpetrators and continuously denying democracy in Myanmar but still the Us administration is silent because there is no oil there and Burma is not that strategic for the Us. All developed world who were colonizers in the past should come forward to solve those problems the seeds of which were sown during their regime.

A lot is to be done specially in African countries to bring them to light, to beat their underdevelopment, lack of literacy and job opportunities.


Sarah Sofia Ganborg said...

I was wondering who was behind this blog. I couldn't find your profile anywhere.

I was looking trhough several of your posts and I very much appreciate what you are doing here and that you are informing the public about many a ciondition on this planet which most people don't like to look at.

I am a writer and I also tend to use some of those things in my books in the hope that maybe a few people might wake up and think twice before they act.

ML, Sarah Sofia

Skye said...

Wow, I hadn't known about this blog till Nonamedufus mentioned it in his post about you giving him that award. What a great blog my Dear, I am definitely putting this in my following list. I can see, just by reading the latest 2 posts, that I'll learn a lot about the world from you!


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