Post-Script Rwanda: When Reconciliation Works

“Let the Devil Sleep : Rwanda 20 Years After Genocide” is a beautiful, twenty minute video of four Rwandans whose paths crossed in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Two of those interviewed were the hunted, their family members massacred; the other two were the hunters who helped perpetrate the now notorious human rights abuses.

Almost 1 million Tutsi and moderate Hutu were slaughtered in just one hundred days by ethnic Hutu extremists. After the genocide, the four Rwandans in this film committed to the formal national reconciliation process, and joined a larger a group of survivors and perpetrators.

Together, they sought peace. Most impressive was their commitment to the hard work of confession and repentance, the even harder work of forgiveness, and then the fruit of reconciliation that followed. Those who continue to lead the reconciliation process admit that on a larger scale there is still much work to do, and not everyone has responded as well as these four to the reconciliation process. Yet a solid foundation for the preservation of peace has been laid … in just twenty years.

The National Unity and Reconciliation Commission of Rwanda indicates that “overall, the reconciliation process has had successes and has helped Rwanda to emerge from its period of transition. More than four million refugees have returned to Rwanda and the majority of them have been able to recover their wealth. More than 300,000 orphans have been adopted without regard to their ethnic group.”

It’s amazing what can be accomplished when humility leads and none of the essential steps in the reconciliation process are overlooked.

2 Comments

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  1. K.A. Ellis you bring the most interesting and thoughtful stories for us to watch. This is amazing and is at the heart of issues in our country today. We are not a country of tribes, we are Americans. When we lose that bond we are in danger of the very same thing happening as it did in Rwanda and throughout Europe during WWII, and is happening now all over the Middle East. It is easy for someone we admire to divide us, stir us emotionally, rile us, impassion us, lead us to revolt against the whole that defines us as Americans. This film shows the devastation that division can cause not only to those who are attacked and victimized, but even more so to those who are used by the people stirring up the revolution. Thank you for causing us to think.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, zuzusays. You’re right, we continue to repeat the same patterns, just in different variations – we become more and more polarized as a result. Ah, the human condition! I couldn’t help but wish while watching this that the church in the US had initiated some sort of process like this along the course of history. Things might look totally different today. But now we look forward, find the like-minded, and do what we can to heal.

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