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Rwanda Memorial & Final Thoughts

Before leaving Rwanda, we stopped at the Kigali Memorial Center which remembers the horrors of the genocide in Rwanda that came to a head in 1994 when over 800,000 people were killed in three months. The memorial explains how the social environment became possible for a mass killing, the roles different events play in creating an environment that allows for such horror, the international community that turned it back on a massacre of people, the heroes that fought for life and a section of the memorial told of genocide that occurred from other locations in the the world. The memorial called on those present to know the signs and stand up against such future atrocities but most importantly the memorial gave voice and a final resting place of honor to those lost. As I walked outside, I saw the mass graves of the genocide and saw the pictures of those known to lose their lives during this horror. The memorial told of the suffering inflected before death as many people were raped and tortured. They are still finding bones from the genocide and adding names to the lists. Since entire families were killed there was not someone living to account for some. So the bones of the genocide are still being discovered and brought here. A banner on a flower memorial reads, “GENOCIDE NEVER AGAIN” on one of the graves.

My driver guide waited outside while I toured the genocide memorial. After an hour and a half I returned to the vehicle. I put on my seatbelt and said, “Have you went inside there.” “Yes, once…….That was enough.” I knew exactly what he meant. We sat in quiet as he starts down the road. “You know us, guides, like to take our guests here first so that they leave with remembering the gorilla’s.” “It’s okay, I won’t forget the gorilla’s…….That is a very powerful place.” “Yes, it is.” Beam replies. “You know I think there are some leaders in our world that need to see that.” Beam agrees with me and we drive on.

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Posted by Evon LaGrou on October 16, 2012

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