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Rwanda 15 Years Ago Today

April 06, 2009
By Catherine Larson

On this day, 15 years ago, Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana's plane plummeted from the sky after being hit by a missile. It became the albatross around the neck of the Tutsi people when Hutu claimed that the RPF shot it down. The most widely accepted theory today is that radical Hutu unsatisfied with the direction of the peace talks, assasinated the Rwandan and Burundian presidents. Either way, the sudden streak of a missile and the fiery light of a falling plane were a diabolical kind of fireworks that night--evil's unseemly opening ceremonies to a hundred days of slaughter that would consume the country.

Within hours of the plane's metal shrapnel gashing Rwandan soil, Hutu sharpened their machetes to do likewise. Radios hissed a message that "the season for slaughter" had arrived. In the days to follow, Hutu killed the Tutsi and their sympathizers at a rate five times higher than the mechanized Nazi gas chambers.


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This article mentions the Tutsis killed by the Hutus. Does your book mention that there were thousands of Hutus killed by the Tutsis? (see e.g. http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/08/17/rwanda-tribunal-s-work-incomplete)
I know this from first-hand witnesses. Our church has sponsored 4 Hutu families who were brutalized by Tutsis. One of them had several sisters killed, the youngest about 8 years old. It makes the pain they have suffered worse when it is not acknowledged and when all they hear is that Tutsis were killed by Hutus.
As a Christian, I am very interested in seeing forgiveness extended in these horrific kind of situations. However, for forgiveness to be effective, it must be based on truth. We need to hear all sides of the story.
I have not read your book and perhaps it brings out all sides. This is just an issue I feel strongly about because of the beautiful Christian people I have come to know and love. I pray that something like a full truth and reconciliation commission, as in South Africa, might happen in Rwanda.

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