Thursday, May 14, 2009
A Haunting and Moving Experience
Every day I have the opportunity to meet more of a multi-cultural team working through the Ministry of Education and Rwanda Development Office. I have met other Americans, Europeans, Africans, Australians, Chinese and Indonesians; the diversity makes it very exciting and exotic…very different from BTV!
On a much more somber note, I took time this afternoon to visit The Kigali Memorial Center. No matter who you are, you walk away a different person.
First of all, the entire center is built on a mass grave of the 10 of thousands people killed in the Kigali area during the 1994 genocide. All the other bodies from mass graves around the city were brought to this central resting place. There is a beautiful garden where I met a few people reflecting on the genocide and the loss of loved ones who are buried under the center; a very haunting experience
The exhibition itself tells the story from 1959 to events in 1994 using photographs, written accounts, video and artifacts. The tears keep coming and I could not go into the “bone” room. There is a moving section dedicated to the children. I have read extensively about the events but it did not prepare me for the descriptions and personal accounts of killings, rapes and mutilation.
It also addressed the lack of world support and the politics involved. Saying it is a disgraceful part of history like the Holocaust, Armenia, Cambodia, and Bosnia is an understatement. Most of the world looked at what was going on in Rwanda and decided it did not affect them and chose to do nothing.