Tuesday, January 24, 2006

chapelblog: Rwandan Genocide of 1994

Bishop Josias Sendegeya [pictured in middle, below] Anglican Bishop of the Kibungo Diocese, Rwanda [Translated from the French by a visiting student.]

Born in Rwanda as son of Anglican priest.
The country not colonized because the country was under Belgium leadership. We don't have tribes like others in Africa. We have same language, culture and traditional religion thus one tribe with 3 ethnic groups. The problems we have are not related to Tribes. The problems began when Belgium began leaving they tried to divide the 3 ethnic groups, introducing identity cards noting which ethnic group one belonged to.

The error was based on group reassignment by the government based on profession. Farmers, cattlemen and hunters of each group were reassigned, becoming identified [reclassified] to other groups. Farmers were all classified together, hunters were all classified together and cattlemen were classified together. Then the Belgium government favored one ethnic group building schools, for example, and ridiculed the other groups.

One group rebelled against those favored and the military gave support. Anyone who wanted power had to use the military. The favored group was eventually chased from the country.

I left in 1973 because those who were educated became targets. I came back September 1994. The whole genocide took 90 days. More than one million killed. It was planned and well organized.

Why did genocide happen? We are one tribe, one country, language, and culture! Spouses were killing each other, children killed their parents. We had historically enjoyed intermarrying between groups, as we are all one tribe and intergroup marriages brought children who adopted the group of their fainter. But because of group confusion, people began killing each other.

Why was the church involved in genocide? Go there today. You will find the pastors and politicians both imprisoned. Some churches are genocide churches, the bones still inside. Why was the church involved? The church has had nothing to say since the genocide. Many see no reason to be part of the church and are moving toward Islam. Islam has been protecting people.

We thank God it has stopped. Many have returned to the church. The church is how working to unite and rebuild the country. Evangelism is strong in prison. Apologies are being made and forgiveness granted. Over 1000 have been confirmed. Villagers are coming to the prisons to hear apologies. Churches are helping families of prisoners and are bringing survivors together to live and work.

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