Rwanda Genocide Memorial

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Today I spent time at the Rwanda Genocide Memorial and I was reminded how quickly a people group can be almost destroyed. Friends turned against friends solely because they were identified as different tribes. Power is what drove the genocide and deciding that one people group was worthless and less than human.

I was reminded that our world is fragile. I also saw hope, and restoration. Rwanda has changed, they have no more tribes, they are 1 people, they are Rwandans. They forgive those who murdered their families and reconciled. While there is still hurt and people are still dealing with the after effects of trauma, you see a resiliency that is unmatched.

Our tour guide told us that at this site there are over 259,000 bodies buried in mass graves. They were only able to identify about 2,000 of the remains. He described some of the difficulties in that people were identifying the remains. He reported that the remains were identified by their clothes and belonging they have on them. I think some of the people may not have been identified because there was no one left to identify the remains.

Just some thoughts from today, I am reminded of a quote from a different genocide.

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me.

(Pastor Martin Niemöller)

These words continue to remain true and continue to strike me to the core. How quickly do you we as a people not stand up for what is right? How quickly this Rwandan genocide started and ruined so many lives in 100 days because people had not spoken up?

Just some thoughts from today.

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