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In 1994, in Rwanda, a country from the central East Africa; genocide was perpetrated against Tutsis by some extremist Hutus. In less than 100 days, over one million of Tutsis were exterminated and his ...

In 1994, in Rwanda, a country from the central East Africa; genocide was perpetrated against Tutsis by some extremist Hutus. In less than 100 days, over one million of Tutsis were exterminated and his family perished among them. Eleven years old then, He become an orphan.
His struggle started then, commmemorating his lost family and the way they died, searching if any of his relatives survived, and fixing to earn everyday life as he did not hope for the future. This struggle took long. However, as time went on, he started gaining hope for the future. He started thinking beyond his-self

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Love above all pdf copy Love above all pdf copy Document Transcript

  • Love Above AllForgiveness of a Young Rwandan wan w nd Genocide Survivor ivor orJean De D Musabyimana an n Dieu
  • AuthorHouse™1663 Liberty DriveBloomington, IN 47403www.authorhouse.comPhone: 1-800-839-8640© 2010 Jean De Dieu Musabyimana. All rights reserved.No part of this book may be reproduced, stored ina retrieval system, or transmitted by any meanswithout the written permission of the author.First published by AuthorHouse 12/20/2010 2010ISBN: 978-1-4567-0044-7 (sc)Printed in the United States of AmericaAny people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models,and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.This book is printed on acid-free paper.Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any Web addresses orlinks contained in this book may have changed since publication andmay no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely thoseof the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher,and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.
  • Author’s NoteThis is my true story, my life started from th year 1981 till om the hnow. First of all I am so sorry because I did not use the dates use diof everything that it took place. Was to hard to remember . W toothem, especially during the Genocide, that is why I chose he Genoc dnot to use the dates. But ev pe every person and names I used arereal. I used some harsh words but my aim was not to offend hwany one who reads th boo I was trying to make the story this book. hiscomplete because I wa trying to describe what happened. cau wasAs you read, you w also find some good words giving hope ead, ad, willfor the fu ure LO future. LOVE ABOVE ALL uture. e. v
  • INTRODUCTIONRwanda is a small country,only 26,338 k 2, located in 38 kmEast Africa, in the region of Great L Lakes It is also called a Lakes.country of thousand hills because of it high mountains. It use its ewas colonized by Belgium. This is my homeland because it m. iis where I was born and wh I live. whereMy father died only three months after my birth. He died lywith twins who were m elder brothers; then I was only left ere mywith my mother a one brother in a very bad situation y mothe andof poverty. A my young age of six years, when I started ert At ty.primary scho that’s when I was taught that Rwanda is ry sc ool, school,inhabited b three different ethnic groups: Twas, Hutus and d byTutsis. I learnt that Tutsis were very bad, that they did badthings to other ethnic groups. I also later on learnt that Ibelonged to that ethnic group of Tutsis. For this, I grew upashamed of being called a Tutsi.When I was eleven years old, the genocide against Tutsis,which had been prepared for a long time, started; it was in1994. Tutsis in all corners of the country began to flee theirhomes to different offices of the local government (districts 1
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaand provinces), to churches, to schools, even in stadiums.They went there just because they thought they would easilyget protection from local leaders.After a very short period of time, Rwandan Defense Forceof that time, which would protect these refugees, startedfiring and slaughtering them instead. Few of these refugeeswho managed to escape these bullets, when they tried to fleeagain. Their some neighbors Twas and Hutus were waitingfor them in villages with local weapons including machetes,lances, swords and many others. The country w full of y wascries here and there.My grandfather (my mother’s father) was a very old man )aged 82. For him fleeing was not his concern. He thought h s conthat none would kill him because he w very old. We left use was ehim home and went to a neighbour of ours who was a Hutu eighb bourand who had promised to protect and give us where to hide. opAfter three days, INTERAHAMWE (the name which was ER RAH Agiven to those who were tr o w trained to kill Tutsis) reached ourhome. They me there my grandfather and started arguing met herewhether to kill him or not. Some were against others for.They ended up sa nd d ded saying that the one killing a snake doesn’tshow com ssion That’s how he was beaten a very big stick compassion. mpas(named “ubuhiri” in my local language) ubIn the chest and his dead body was thrown into the pitlatrine.These killings became more and more serious. The one whowas hiding us told us to leave his house and find elsewhereto hide. He afraid because it was possible for us to be killedbefore him..I remember it was raining cats and dogs. Wethen started hiding here and there in banana and sorghumplantations, in forests and in pits. 2
  • Love Above AllAfter more than two months in such a hard life, my motherwas discovered. She was killed with that big stick and asword after being raped. I was then left all alone and I hadto continue hiding.After one hundred days of the genocide against Tutsis,Rwandan Patriotic Forces, most of them were Tutsis whohad fled the country in 1959 and 1973 together with someHutus who didn’t support the genocide, managed to stopthe genocide.I was the only one left in my familyand I had t struggle d tofor life at eleven years. I started looking fo jobs of being ng fora houseboy. One parent, whom I was working for, afterlearning that I was bright at school dec ool d cid to bring me back l decidedto school. That’s how I joined scho again. I also started oined schoolbeing interested in the wor of G (Holy Scriptures) what word God rdhelped me to accept the life I was living. It relieved me and he lallowed me t accept what happened to me until I decided ptto forgive those who ki ose ho killed members of my family. I visitedtheir families a told them how I forgave them from the milies and iliesone who planned to kill me to the one who raped and killed ho an nnemy mother. For the time being, sisters and children of the othe F her.one who ki l my mother are among my friends. killedI have really forgiven them from the bottom of my heart andthanks to the True Love from Almighty God and it is thesame Love that I tell everybody.LOVE ABOVE ALLUppercase: My First DayMy very first greatest day was November 08th, 1981 when Iwas born. I think members of my family were very happythat day when I was crying, my mother trying to sooth me 3
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanasaying, “don’t cry my baby”, others clapping and shoutingof happiness. This happiness didn’t last long because onlyafter three months my father and my two brothers died thesame day. These two brothers were twins and I was bornafter them. I was told that that they loved my father verymuch and he had to take them with him whenever he waswalking near home.Only after three months I was an orphan. You can ask yourselfwhy I should be called an orphan when I had a mother. Atthat time, a house without a husband was meaningless and ninit had no value in the Rwandan society. Even whe there en w whenwas a party in such a family without a husband, it was not usbandaccepted for the mother to address her audience. They had to udienask a husband in a nearby house to give a speech of the day. giveThis is why children without fath s w called orphans. fathers were hersRemember that this is what I was t by my mother when w toldI grew up after spending a very l g long time asking her aboutmy family and telling m n g me nothing. I was a stubborn andcurious child. I wanted to know everything. I was different nte tedfrom my elder b ther who was calm and did what he was er brothertold to do. He wa not talkative and he liked helping my o. wasmother in diffe r n differen activities. erentBeing talkative, I liked asking my mother why we hadn’t lka ia father. She didn’t like me asking her such a questionand preferred not to tell me the truth. When she was ina good mood she would tell me that my father had gonesomewhere and would be back very soon. But if she was sadshe would kick me telling me that I like asking nonsensethings. One day when I was at school, they asked me namesof my parents and I failed. My teacher told me to bring myelder brother who studied at the same school for him to askhim. When I brought him, my teacher asked him names of 4
  • Love Above Allmy both parents. He answered and the next question wasto know if they were both alive. When he was asked thisquestion I was astonished to hear that my father had diedand I immediately said that my brother was telling lies. Iadded that my father had traveled and that he would be backsoon. Both my brother and teacher laughed and my teacheragreed with me but it was a way of cooling me down. By thattime the only thing in my head was to report my brother tomy mother as soon as I arrived home that he insulted myfather saying that he had died. When we got home I toldmy mother that Fidele (my brother) had insulted m father ed mythat he had died. When she heard this she laug laughed at me gheand seemed to care less about what I was telling her. I got tellingvery angry and when she saw that I was ge i angry, she as gettingrevealed me the truth and said that my f hat father was dead.That is when I knew that my fath is no longer alive but father herdo not ask me the cause of his dea I thought he died a s death.natural death. For me I kn th the only cause of death knew thatwas sicknesses. The same for my father I thought he fell sick meeand died. It is clear that I w still very young. r th wasA Heart Full Of S O Sorrow Does Not Make Words ClearWhen I g w ol I knew the reason why my mother had grew old,avoided talking about the death of my father. What I know is alkithat they loved one another and my mother loved her twinsand this would be the only reason. He avoided rememberingthem: care that she was receiving from my father, her belovedtwins and she must have suffered a lot when she was givingbirth to these twins. During the genocide against Tutsis,when it was possible for us to die, that’s when she told methat they were all poisoned.When I became somehow old, my family was living at a 5
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaplace called RUBENGERA; a western part of our countryand their native place was KADUHA of GIKONGOROwhich is in the Southern province of our country near avery big natural forest called Nyungwe. After the death ofmy father and my two brothers, life became very hard forher, especially because they had died of poison, she was notsecure that is why she decided to shift from that place andwent to her paternal uncle who was living at Ruhango inGitarama. One may say that it was to my grandfather’s. Thatis where I got my childhood nickname. I was told that atthat place of Ruhango, there was a fool who used to go to dthe district office to accuse people who had eaten h cows en his(of course no one had eaten his cows it was beca because of hisfoolishness). His name was Sedede and I w named after d washim. I told you earlier that I was a stubb stubborn boy, I used to bdisturb my brother and he used to be me.Then I would ed t bbeatrush to my grandmother to aco accuse him. I used to do this ccuseevery single day. That is w s when they started saying that Ibehaved like Sedede.That is h I got the name and I grew That howup being called like this. etTo what I was told there were misunderstandings between told, tthis grandmother (the wife of my Grandfather’s brother) and andmo dmother othmy mother. This is the reason why my mother shifted from othe her.Ruhango and went to Birambo in Kibuye where her paternal a daunt (considered as my grandmother) was living. We livedthere and my mother got a job in a nearby organizationof Sisters. There was a sister called Mama Deo who was agood friend of my mother. Time came when the Sister wastransferred somewhere else. This caused us also to leaveBirambo and we went to live at a place called Rubengera.It is there that I grew up because I even started my primarystudies there. I was living together with my mother, my elderbrother and my grandfather (the father of my mother) 6
  • Chapter Two: 1989 STARTING MY SCHOOL LIFEI can say here that I was an alre as already grown up child. Iremember almost everything th happened to me. What th ng thathappened before that tim w told to me by my mother t time was mewhen she was still alive a my uncle. As I said, I was a l al andstubborn, curious and sociable boy. It was therefore not a urioproblem for me to get accustomed to school life whereasother ch dr h problems and would spend the day children had hildren rencrying and wishing to go back home before it was time. I nd wish wremember my life very well from when I was in primary 2.I was clever, I liked playing football and I was very goodat singing. I was a members of a children’s choir at SundaySchool. We were trained to sing by Sisters who would putus in different levels according to our voices. For me I wassinging a low voice and I was one of those who used to playsketches about the birth of Jesus.Even if my parents were Catholics, this did not preventme from growing in a Protestant Church. The school I 7
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanawas attending was also near the Church. On Wednesday,it was a culture at our school to gather and pray beforeleaving for lunch. All children at school liked that day andeverybody wished to be there and participate. Another daythat children liked was Friday when we would do differentphysical activities like cultivating or collecting coffee fromschool gardens. In the last hour we would sing and dancecultural and traditional dances. Children enjoyed that dayvery much because it was an opportunity for them to talk yabout this and that. This was also a very good day to me asI liked singing and was very good at interpreting s ng songs thatwere sung by singers.I remember one day when we were sittin for an exam sittingof music. Every student, following the al g alphabetical order,would stand in front of students and s ts a d sing a song that theymastered well. The teacher wo er would award marks according ouldto how one had sung and accord d according to how other studentsenjoyed the song. When it w my turn, I started singing a en waslove song, which was up to date at that time, and it was even asbroadcast on Ra o Rw Radio Rwanda. When my teacher heard it, hestopped me for a wwhile and went to call one of his colleagueswho was teaching from an other hall to come and listen. I as eacchidid my be to sing and when I finished, my teacher asked y best t si estother students to clap for me and he gave me ten out of deten. Singing itself was not surprising. What was surprisingwas seeing a very little boy singing a song full of sharp lovewords. They could not understand how I took my time tolisten and memorize that song. All these were at the originsof me being loved by my colleagues and teachers. I was evenvery often named class monitor because of this.Rwandans say that all things are not perfect! I had a verybig problem of hating girls. I didn’t cooperate with them; 8
  • Love Above AllI was even punished at least three times a week because ofbeating them or throwing balls to them. I was beaten byteachers many times because of that mistake some teacherseven remember me because of this. I remember one dayafter the genocide, I met one lady who was my teacher inP5, and we met in Kigali and talked for a while .She wasreally happy seeing a child she taught had then becomegrown up. Before we separated, she asked me if I still hatedladies the way I used to hate them. I answered her smilingthat I no longer hate them because I then knew their value!She also smiled at me and told me this: “ If you h ou have nowknown their value, it also requires you to pay atte y attention and tentbehave well.” She added that even if I had gro up,but I d grown owhadn’t changed very much I still had that sense of humor. hatShe also reminded me that teachers loved me because I was s oveddclever and she suggested that I kep up Even if my mother kept u pt up.was very poor and we lived a ha li this didn’t prevent me d hard life ardfrom doing well at school. I was often among the first five ol. l.places. Sometimes I wou g home miss my mother and would get uldmiss food but this di didn’t a ect my performance at school. idn’t affI knew that my mothe struggled for our better life. If she motherfailed,then I ha to accept it like that because she really en had nloved me at an ext that she would sometimes, when food e t an extentwas not enough, only drink water for me to find food the ot enou en ugh,following d The situation was really very bad. We hadn’t g day.even where to cultivate for we were not natives of that place.if may be better to give the place’s name since it may havebeen mentioned far lardier. Even the house in which we wereliving was not ours. 9
  • My childhood Choir. 10
  • Chapter Three: MY FAMILYWho was my Mother?In all that difficult life, my moth tried her best just to mothertake care of me. When she was back from fields (cultivating he wfor others) whether she had got something or not, she had hadto know where I was. Sh would call me trying to find me S Sheeverywhere and this surprised our neighbors. In normal re iscircumstances, it is not surprising for a parent to take care of stances, ances, cetheir child but fo people from remote places deep into the child forcountryside lik where I grew up, parents seemed to care less yside like eabout their children. All they cared about was finding foodfor them and that was enough. It was not the same for mymother. When I reached P5 she was still washing my bodyand clothes. All these didn’t prevent her from giving thequality of education I was supposed to receive from a parent.I had to go with other children in the neighborhood to fetchwater and firewood. From this poverty of my mother I learntsomething important and this is being patient, acceptingand managing life the way it is. My mother was very poor 11
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanabut she didn’t do anything wrong to the society. She didn’tbeg even a single day. She had learnt to use strength ofher arms for us to live because she had not even receivedmuch education. The highest level of education she had wasonly primary. Despite all these, my mother was a personwith integrity among others and the only tool that she usedto arrive at these was accepting and managing every lifethat appears. This is the weapon and tool that my motherinherited me and it helped me a lot as you will see as youread this story.Who was my Grandfather?As I said above, I was living with my mother and h mgrandfather. According to what I was told after the genocide, as d fmy grandfather had been a traditional leader during the radit na itiokingdom period known as a “ sous chef” to mean the one swho assisted a chief of a given region. When the hatredgrew stronger among Rw Rwandans, Tutsi were mistreated and wandalmost all their lands were taken. He was left alone at home dssafter his children had g dre gone. He was left with a small land,which couldn’t help him at all. Later on he decided to sell ouldn’t hel uldn tthat little land and follow his young daughter who is my ttle an an e ndmother. This gra r. s grandfather was very old because by the timehe was killed in the genocide he was eighty-two years old ill d(82). He was a smart old man and I think the smartness thatI have originates from him because I also like being welldressed following my financial means. He had three suitsthat he alternated and he requested that they should be keptclean. He also wore glasses and even if he had a stick thathelped him to move he was still very healthy and strong.His job was handcrafting traditional straws used to drinkbanana beer. He was very fond of banana beer and he wouldtake these straws to local cabarets and exchange them with 12
  • Love Above Allbottles of banana beer. Above all, he liked praying God verymuch; he was a Christian in the catholic church. If he wasnot busy with his straws, he would spend most of his timereading religious books. Some of the books that he likedthe most include Martyrs of Uganda, a Christian Book andThe Holy Bible. Sometimes I would be told that he left fora crusade of the Virgin Mary or he went to pray at Kibeho.If it was a matter of going to Kibeho, he had to spend fivedays on the way because he had to go there on foot. This isto show you that he really liked praying. Even the day hewas killed he was praying.Who was my elder brother?I didn’t live with my brother for a very lon time for when he er y longcompleted his primary studies, he wa refused to continue. e was asHe left Kibuye in the wester p western province where we were rnliving and went to Kigali a his u li at uncle’s where he learnt theprofession of welding. I used to visit him in holidays. He dwas very calm and didn’t like people who disturbed him. ddIt wasn’t easy fo him t forget the fact that he was denied y for togoing on with h s n his studies while he was intelligent. As a resultof this he became a drunkard,and that worried my mother. e eccamThe Rwandan po wan n policy at that time denied Tutsis’s children to ndango on with their studies in secondary schools. When they thfinished their primary they had to go in lower professionalschools and it was also a sin being a Tutsi again poor. Hefulfilled all the requirements of not finding a secondaryschool in Rwanda. In the evenings after working hours,he used to spend his nights in pubs where he felt free andhe often used to fight Interahamwe (a Hutu militia groupbelonging to a political party on power in Rwanda at thattime. The group had received military trainings and it isthis group which killed Tutsis during the genocide) These 13
  • Jean De Dieu MusabyimanaInterahamwe were characterized by rudeness and doing allsorts of bad things to Tutsis. My elder brother couldn’t standall these for he was also strong. My uncle didn’t agree withhim, he was always preventing him from fighting them. Iremember one day when I was in holidays in Kigali with mycousins. My brother took me at CND where RPF soldierswere living. On our way back home my brother also tookme in a pub called KIGALI NIGHT. It was said to belongto the former president’s son late Habyarimana. My brothersat on a stool at the counter and he lifted me on another one.He asked the waiter to give me a soda and he took a bottle kof beer. Like after two hours came a very short man he was rt m man,moving around the place where we were sittin He was e sitting.also talking to the waiter as people who kn each other. ho knewThe waiter asked that man if he n eded a bottle of beer. neededdHe responded that he would prefer drfer drinking but he added refe dthat he had nowhere to sit as the counter was occupied sby INKOTANYI meaning my b in ng brother. My brother askedhim who was an INKOTANYI that he was talking about. OT NY TANThe man said; “ You Tutsis aren’t you afraid? Do you see u Tutswhere you are s ng an you dare saying these words?” He e sitting andadded: “A child resembles his father, do you see such a little A resboy daring to sit at the counter?” He was pointing at me. rin to s ngI was only nine years old. My brother went out and asked ly nime to finish my soda while he was out. The other man nishimmediately sat on the stool that my brother was using. Hepushed my brother’s beer in front of me. I didn’t know thatmy brother had already got angry. He was verifying if therewere some other people out for him to come and beat thatman. He came in a hurry, took his beer and asked me toget out. He took the man off the stool and beat him withthe bottle that he had. The man fell down and my brothergot out, took me and hurried to the road where we tookmotorcycles and went home. 14
  • Chapter Four: TWA, HUTU AND TUTSII didn’t learn things related to ethnic g ethnic groups in Rwandaamong things I learnt from my par parents and neighbors. Ifirst heard about this when I wa i P4. It was in a history en was inlesson where we were told th three ethnic groups inhabit ld that hatRwanda. We were also ask d which group we belonged to. so asked kThese groups included T Hutu and Tutsi. According to uded Twa,that lesson they a riv in Rwanda in different periods of n arrivedtime. Twas w t first to arrive in Rwanda. They were was were the shunters and they lived in forests. Hutus followed them. rs d theThey were fa ere farmers and we were told that they had a verygood relationship with Twas. Tutsis who were the last toarrive in Rwanda had broken this relationship accordingto the same lesson. These Tutsis are said to originate fromEthiopia, and they came breeding their cows along the riverNile, which have its spring in Rwanda. When they arrived inRwanda they stopped and settled there. When they arrived,according to the lesson, they became leaders of those whoarrived before and started colonizing or exploiting them.They told us that Tutsi were very bad, they considered 15
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanathemselves superior to other ethnic groups and so on. Brief,the history that we learnt at school aimed at making theseother said ethnic groups hate Tutsis. Each year we wereasked our identification; apart from our names, those ofour parents and birth time, we were also asked our ethnicgroups. Only P1 students are the ones who were not askedsuch questions because their parents had to answer them atthe beginning of the school year.You are a Tutsi!In P4, that’s when our teacher asked each of us their h o uidentification. He asked Hutus to stand up then Tutsis. As thenI told you my mother had never told me ab about my ethnicgroup before. First, I stood up in a group of Hutus because it group ofwas there that many of my friends and neighbors belonged. nds and sMy teacher knew my family, th why he hesitated seeing ily, that’s hat’sme in a group of Hutus. H ask me if I was sure of my . He askedethnic group. I said that I w sure but he sent me home hat was tto ask my parents bebecause we were living near our school. ecauseWhen I arrived home, I only met my grandfather and asked ved me,me why I was ear to get home. I answered him that I earlywas sent home to ask him our ethnic group. He laughed nt om meand told me to g and tell the teacher that we were Tutsis. ld m t goI went back to school and told our teacher that we were ackTutsis. The teacher beat me three sticks on my buttocksand told me never to tell lies. From that moment I knewthat I was a Tutsi and I was then standing in a group ofTutsis. When we were told to stand up, we were ashamed ofbeing Tutsis especially because the former government wasfighting militias who attacked from Uganda. Most of thesemilitias were Tutsis who fled the country because of killingsaiming Tutsis in 1959. This caused some Hutus, extremists,to take advantage of this situation to hate Tutsis who were in 16
  • Love Above Allthe country. At that time being called a Tutsi was an insultat en extent that someone who wanted to trouble you wouldcall you a Tutsi. This situation was the same even in schools.Hutus were very proud to be Hutus but Tutsis were not. Thishad even a bad effect on us who were Tutsis.One day I fought with another child who was a Hutu atschool. Of course we fought like other children do; notbecause one was a Hutu and the other one a Tutsi. I strokehim on the nose and there was nosebleed and he went homecrying. After one hour, his father was at my ho home, veryangry, and with a very sharp machete. I was in an a a avocadotree, which was in the compound at home. I wanted to ome.collect some but I hadn’t started yet. He m my mother metoutside preparing food. He asked h a her angrily: “ Where isyour son who beat my son?” Wh m mother saw that When my henmachete glittering, he told him th I had gone to fetch ld him thatwater. He added that if he had see me, he would have killed e h seenme. He also added that we w “Inyenzi” cockroaches and t w wereleft the place. He ca called us cockroaches because by that alledtime all Tutsis were ca sis re called so. It was a way of inciting allRwandans to hate Tutsis. They were also accused to support ns ha smilitias who h attacked the country because they were s who hadalso named “Inye amed “I ed “Inyenzi”. Being called “Inyenzi” had a meaningthat you we an enemy of the country. My mother thought werethat I was at the origin of all these but it was not the casebecause the government had done everything for Hutu tohate Tutsis. On this she told me to come down the tree andshe stroke me seriously. 17
  • Chapter Five: THE GENOCIDEWe were in the middle of second te h d term holidays preparing ermourselves to start the third one. For Christians, we were ne. Forremembering the death of our Savi as we were approaching SaviorEaster. As a member of a chi children’s choir at a Presbyterian hildChurch, we were rehearsing songs and sketches about the hearsindeath of Jesus Christ t be presented on Easter. It was in rist tothe morning whe my mother got up early preparing herself ing whento leave for f r farm w works. Before she left she also woke meup and asked me to go to fetch water. Water was not from da dvery far from my home because it was in a distance of r fromabout one kilometer. It was near a pub of someone calledUZARAMA who had a young brother called MAFEDIwho was a carpenter near the place where we fetched water.Arriving there I met a group of people most of them beingyoung and few old men. I was curious to know what wasgoing on there. I approached them and they were listeningto the radio, which was broadcasting instrumental music.I heard one person among the group saying this: “ May behe was killed by those INKOTANYI who were brought in 19
  • Jean De Dieu MusabyimanaCND”(In fact the real name of the militias that we havebeen talking about was FPR INKOTANYI. During thattime they were negotiating with the government in place.They had even been given places in the Rwandan Parliament.That’s why they had brought some of their soldiers to watchover the security of their members of parliament. This meansthat militias were already in Kigali- the Capital city ofRwanda and they were the ones who were accused). Anotherone said: “Tutsis are very serious. They have killed him.).Immediately I heard on Radio Rwanda an announcementsaying that the President of the Republic had been k en killed andthat all citizens were required to stay at their hom I was r homes. omeafraid listening that Inkotanyi killed the Preside I knew President.that we were also concerned because even T ven Tutsis who wereinside the country were also called INKO INKOTANYI. KOTYou may ask yourself the reaso w I was afraid and yet reason why onI was still a child. I remembered two things. One is when em mberedmy brother came to visi u At that time my colleague visit us. sitof class told me that he h hatt heard his parents saying that mybrother had jo ed IN joined INKOTANYI. The second thing, Iremembered the f ered th father of the other child we fought. He redhad called us INKOTANYI and the same INKOTANYI lle u INK edwere being accus to have killed the president. These two ng ac accusedthings made me afraid. I fetched water and went back home adimmediately. I found my mother had already come back.She was in a nearby family all confused about this death. Itwas a particular problem for my family because if all peoplewere asked to stay at home, it wasn’t easy for us because wedepended on our mother going out to work and earn ourdaily food. Only after two days, Tutsis from MUSHUBATI,a neighboring sector, started fleeing saying that they werebeing killed and their houses burnt. The same evening, 20
  • Love Above Allwe could stand on high hills and see these houses beingburnt.In the following morning, young Hutus, extremists, stoppedsome of those Tutsis who were fleeing and they took onecow from them and ate it. In our region killings had notyet started. Even many Hutus were not aware that thegovernment was supporting these killings that were takingplace in other sectors. The leader of our sector with otheryoung people started trying to find those who ate that cowfor them to be punished. I remember that they arr arrested onewho was called Sosthene and the went to show them where w thhe had hidden meat in the bush. They put the s ut the stomach ofthat cow on his head and started beating him. They found ng hiAnother one who was nicknamed Komini they found him Komini, iin his house where he was hiding. They beat him and he dingg.died. A third one called Musonera was found also at his usonerhome. He was hiding in the ro The meat that he had n roof.brought was already on fire. They put that pot of meat on nhis head and took him to t road beating him. They asked m thehim to drink th boili sauce. In the evening of the same k that boilingday, Tutsis from a sis is another neighboring sector called Giharaalso started flee arted fleeing We were standing on the road from that ted eeing.sector. Am ng t Among those who were fleeing, I saw a child who monwas my fri friend at school. We were together almost everyday for he was really my friend. He was called Claude. Igreeted him and he told me how these things started thathouses were being burnt and if you didn’t escape they werealso killing you. By the time we were talking, members ofhis family had continued walking. He also left me just notto be lost. All those were going to the office of communecalled MABANZA in which we were living. The followingday, Tutsis of our sector also started leaving their homesgoing to the same commune office. My mother decided 21
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanathat we should also leave the place. When he talked to oneman who was our neighbor, a Hutu and a cell leader, he toldher that we shouldn’t leave. He added that if necessary wewould hide at his home. He was called NSHIMYIMANA.The following day, killings were already taking place wherewe were living. We went to that man and my grandfatherrefused saying that he was very old, that no one would killhim. He thought it was like in previous killings of 1959 and1973 where sometimes children, wives and old people werenot killed. That’s why he preferred staying at home readinghis religious books.When I find you, I will kill youMy mother was hiding inside the house and had to spend housethe whole day inside. For me I us t be outside playing sed used towith other children. One day, we w playing and a man werecalled ALOYS saw me. He asked me where my mother was eand the reason why we had n fled. I told him that I didn’t e ha notknow. He asked me to tell this to my mother: “ If you don’t etflee and I see yo again, I will cut you into pieces.” I was very you gain,afraid and imm nd immedi d immediately left the place where we were playingand joined m mo ne my mother inside the house. The following day edlike at 2.00 p Nshimyimana came in a hurry and told 2.0 pm, 00my mother that he hadn’t anything he could do for us that er hwe had to leave his house. Killers were even searching intohouses where they thougth Tutsis were hiding for them to bekilled. My mother took a minute of silence thinking. I don’tknow what she was thinking of but I guess she was thinkingof a long journey ahead in order to join others. It was noteasy because other Tutsis were no longer at the communeoffice. They had been sent at one stadium at a distance of 20kilometers from the commune office. She took my arm andwe got out of the house. Immediately, there was a heavy rain. 22
  • Love Above AllIt was a rain season that time. We had to pass where peoplewould not see us. We passed through a banana plantationwhich was there and in a field of sorghum which was near ahouse of an old man named NYIRUBUHINGWA towardsa small forest near a home of my former primary teacher.When we arrived there, my teacher was with her husbandstanding at the door. They didn’t recognize us because therain had beaten us very much. The husband called us andasked who we were. We turned our faces and my teacherrecognized me. she called me in my nickname and askedwhere we were going. My mother replied that we w going e wereto the stadium where others had gone. The husband warned usban andus not to approach the road to avoid being k lle because ng killedthere were already roadblocks. My mother suggested that otherwe hid in that banana plantation and w for the night. and waitIn the night we went back to Ns mNshimyimana’s house and Nshiknocked. They asked who were knocking and we kept ho wsilence. Nshimyimana came to o am me open and was surprised tosee us again. He asked my momother the reason why we hadn’tjoined others to the stadium My mother replied that it was e st stadium.not easy because of road aus f roadblocks everywhere in the roads. Weentered into the ho nto house and met them eating. They broughtus water for us to wash our hands and eat. My mother said er r uthat she want fire instead to get warm. They took her in he w nted wantedthe kitchen. I approached other children to eat. I was very enhungry but I failed to open my mouth because of the coldcaused by the heavy rain that has beaten us. They told meto get warm first. I approached my mother in the kitchenin front of the fire. I immediately fell asleep. They wakeme up, brought food and I ate in the kitchen. After that,they gave us a mat and we slept there. In the morning,NSHIMYIMANA told his children to close the main gateand open another one on the other side of the house. He 23
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaalso told me and my mother to spend the whole day in thehouse.No more compassionTowards 10 am, I left my mother and went out to sunbathin the back compound. This compound was built usingsorghum trees. It was easy then to see people passing behindit but for them it was not easy to see you. After like thirtyminutes, I saw many people armed in traditional weaponsapproaching the house we were living in. I was ab to see as able bthis easily because it was not far from where we were hiding. weJust a distance of some fifty meters. They saw my g aw y grandfatherreading the Bible. A person named JEAN D’A N D’AMOUR criedsaying that he had seen Inyenzi(cockroach). The whole group kroach h)went towards my grandfather and sto around him. They d stood ooasked him where other members of his family were (me and embersmy mother). He told them that w had gone to the stadium. m weImmediately, JEAN D AMO D’AMOUR beat him with a very big A OUpiece of tree called UB UBUHIRI in the chest. Another one called BUHIRMUPENDA, a young brother of NSHIMYIMANA (the A, oungone who was hiding us), arrived and prevented them saying hi hidinthat the man w very old. Jean d’Amour said that they had e man wasno more com re c mpas compassion. He added that the one killing a snakedoesn’t show sympathy. He beat him twice in the chest and hothat was the death of my grandfather. Almost all of them leftthe place leaving Mupenda, Faustin and Nshimyimana whojoined them later. They agreed on throwing him in the pitlatrine but Faustin refused because the pit latrine belongedto his uncle. They argued for a very long time but finally theydecided to put him in that pit with all his books. My belovedgrandfather who liked praying was killed praying. When Italked to Faustin in 2009, he himself told me that refusingthat they throw my grandfather in that pit latrine was not 24
  • Love Above Alllove or compassion instead he wanted to save the space inthat toilet! Mupenda together with Nshimyimana left afterkilling my grandfather. Faustin entered in the house andtook my school bag and a saucepan. He didn’t find theremany things for we had taken them to Murenzi’s house(the father of Nshimyimana). Remember that we were alsovery poor. The situation became worse when they found inmy schoolbag a booklet talking about RPF INKOTANYI.Its title was “AMAHAME Y’UMURYANGO FPRINKOTANYI”(Principles of RPF INKOTANYI) This wasa militia group that was fighting with the government. The rnmmajority of its members were Tutsis. I had borr borrowed this rrowbooklet from my colleague of class called UWIM UWIMANA. Noone among members of my family knew tha I had it. Many w thatpeople were surprised to see the booklet and all wanted to oookletknow its content. One of them said my mother and me had id mto be found and killed by all means because we knew many meanssecrets of INKOTANYI. It was a very big problem for my I. Imother and me that eve evening. The same day young men veninincluding Faustin, th one who had found the booklet and the heATHANASE passed n E p sed near Murenzi’s house shouting thatSEDEDE (me) an his mother were hiding at Murenzi’s E andthat they had to be brought and killed because they were hey d t yINKOTANYI. Luckily, we were not there; instead we were OTA YI. L ANYat his son N n Nshimyimana. They immediately went to an oldman called NYIRUBUHINGWA to eat a cow belonging toa Tutsi called KAYUMBA. He had left that cow when hewas preparing to take refuge. In other words, that cow savedus because after finding it they didn’t pay much attentionon us to be brought and killed. The following morning,that’s when we heard that those who were in the stadiumand in the Catholic Church had been fired using guns andgrenades. 25
  • Jean De Dieu MusabyimanaAs time went on, killers got more and more dangerous. Andwe were also being told about Tutsis killed here and there.The time came when they searched in houses of Hutus theythought could hide Tutsis. This is the reason whyNshimyimana told us to leave his house and go to hide tohis father Murenzi. It was not far. We went there, but wedidn’t spend much time there because extremists were sayingthat another Tutsi called GAKWAYA,who used to pray withNshimyimana’s mother, was hiding there. We startedspending the day in bushes and go to that house in theevening to eat and sleep. This also didn’t last because killers ecaustarted searching these houses even during the night That’s e ni night.when we started spending the day and night in b ght n bushes. Wealso started eating non-cooked food like ban e bananas, potatoes,sorghum trees and others we could find where we were uld ndhiding. Days after days, killings beca intense and a big gs b am becamenumber of Hutus joined these extr extremists and participatedmassively. At that time, H Hutus t trust were very few. We tohad become animals bec because for us the day was very bad. causeWe preferred the ni night a the rain because extremists ight andcouldn’t look fo Tutsi under the rain. Again during the k for Tutsisnight, they sea hey search in houses not in bushes. The only ey searchedproblem was th for us the day had become longer than the m was thatnight. We use to hide in banana plantation near our home. e used edThey started then searching there and my mother decided rtedthat we should change and go to hide near the river calledNTARUKA. This was separating my sector Rubengera andGihara. My mother used to go to cultivate there before thegenocide. To reach that place we had to go down a mountaincalled KAMPEREZO. We hid in bushes on the bank of thatriver during the day, during the night we had to go up themountain to find a family that could give us food. Then wewould sleep in banana plantations waiting first hours of themorning for us to go back to the river. One day, it rained 26
  • Love Above Allwhen we were in that bush near the river. The river floodedand reached where we were hiding. It was necessary for usto leave that place and go up the mountain. We reached ahome of one man who was a believer in an Adventist church.His name was NARCISE, The rain was so heavy that nobodycould walk under it expect us who were like animals. Weentered that house and inside we met his son calledDAMASCENE. When he saw us, he was very afraid butshowed us where to sit. The rain stopped in the evening. Thechief of the family arrived and he met us in the house. First,he didn’t recognize us for we had spent more than a month hanliving in the bush, being beaten by the rain, sleep in the sleeping epinmud and without changing clothes. We were lik fools. To likerecognize us he had to come closer. That is when he asked: h“Are you still struggling for life?” He add that almost all He added ddTutsis had been killed. He told his so to light a fire for us d is son onto get warm. They also cooked for us; we ate and went to ookeddbed. Towards the morning, we go up early and went to our ngg, gotriver. When we arrived, the ri was still overflowing. We d, t riverwent back and saw a pit ca caused by water flowing down thatmountain called KAM le KAMPEREZO. When it rained, water onthat mountain wa very strong that it hit soil and passed untain was ntainunderground to r gro d reach the river. The day was going to meet oundus out tha wh we decided to enter that pit. We went that’s when hat’sthrough it like a distance of ten meters and stopped there. ikBeing underground, it is not easy to have an idea of time. Ihad to go near the opening time to time to check if it wasnight yet. We were surprised to see that water had reachedwhere we were sitting in that pit. After ten minutes, waterwas so strong that it could even take us to the river. Westarted going back in the direction where the opening of thepit was. We had to go in the opposite direction of waterotherwise we would find ourselves in the river. It was noteasy to get out of that hole. Even today I don’t know how 27
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanawe managed to get out. We sat on the opening of that pitfor some time. We were very muddy like pigs. We had to sitthere waiting for the night to come and being washed by therain. In the night we went up the mountain but now on itsleft. We reached a house of someone called YOZEFU. Hewas a Hutu and he had a child that we studied together. Hisother three children were in the children’s choir I told youat a Sunday school. We entered that house and met themother of those children. He took us in the kitchen for usto get warm. She sat at the door of the kitchen p preventingall children to get inside. When she finished cookcooking, shegave us food and told us to spend the night the But we there. ere.had to leave very early in the morning to find el elsewhere tohide. It rained the whole night. My mother told me that we thercould go back neither to the river nor in the pit because nor intothe problem of water was still there. W went to hide in the here We re.banana plantation of another man again called YOZEFU. ther mThis one, his wife was a Tu and she was a very good friend Tutsi utsiof my mother. We spend the day in that plantation and in nd dthe evening we went to t ent nt their house. They put us in thekitchen to get warm; we were given food and we spent the et w m; wnight there. The following day, we did the same as the here. re. fprevious da In the night, YOZEFU told us that us day. ay.INTERAHAMWE had said that they would come to kill RA AMW AHAhis wife. H suggested us to come, eat and leave in order not Heto be found at his home. It was a way of protecting his wife,who was also a Tutsi, because if we were found thereINTERAHAMWE would get good reasons to kill her.Wives who had Hutu husbands were not killed first, butthey would be killed later after the burial of their president,according to INTERAHAMWE. But this didn’t preventsome of these wives to be killed before. Such husbands hadto behave in a way that was not to let INTERAHAMWEkill their wives. They put our food in a plastic bag and we 28
  • Love Above Allreturned in the banana plantation where we had spent theday. The whole night, killers were moving in a path that wasnear, hunting in houses where they thought they could findpeople hiding. That plantation was not a secured placebecause people most often children used to pass there to pickavocadoes. There were many avocado trees. Near, there wasan old woman called DOMINA. She was a widow, Tutsiwho had a husband who was a Hutu. Interahamwe had notkilled her. She told us that she couldn’t hide us because therewere persons who used to pray from her house. She fearedthat we could be the cause of her death. She put us i a house inthat was still being built. It had a roof but no do o doors. Wespent the day and the night in that house. The following day, fo ollsomeone came running towards that house. W stood in the use. Wecorner just not to be seen. She heard our movement and she dwas also afraid. We knew that she was a young sister of that w wasold woman called MUKARUGABA. she was also hiding ARUGABnear that house. There wa a path near the house and it was phadn’t doors. That’s why my mother told me that we would hyleave the place the f following day because it was easy for e followeverybody to ge inside and see us. Early in the morning, we get nsidewent in the ban he banana plantation that was near the home of myprimary teacher I talked about earlier. That day, it rained y cheand snowed cats and dogs the whole day. I tried to cover nowe wedmyself using a banana leaf but it was no use. In the evening, inwe had to leave that plantation. When my mother tried tostand up, she failed because of spending the whole daysitting and the rain on our shoulders. Later on, she stood upand went. We were really exhausted. We had only eaten twopieces of Irish potatoes in two days that we spent in the otherhouse. We took a direction towards a house that was near.It was a house of a woman who was a hearing impaired. Shewas living with her daughter. We knocked and the daughteropened. She saw us very wet, but I could guess she knew that 29
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanawe were Tutsis who were still hiding. She welcomed andshowed us where to sit. My mother said that she wanted tostand for a while because we had spent the whole day sitting.Fire was off and they were about to eat. She lighted fireagain, gave us food and we all went to bed. At that moment,we heard cars carrying INTERAHAMWE. They weresaying that once all Tutsis were extermnated, they would livepeacefully. They were also calling other Hutus to kill Tutsisbecause the world and its content belonged to Hutus. Thatgirl told us those INTERAHAMWE were back from killingTutsis who were at BISESERO. The rain had stop stopped. We pweren’t afraid because it was late in the night; pro probably they obabwere also tired and needed to rest. Killing at tha time was g thattaken as other jobs. It was even called “Guk “Gukora” meaning“to work”. The girl showed us where to sle but asked us to re sleep lleave early in the morning to avo b avoid being found there in oidpossible searching the following da It was not a problem lowin day. ngfor us because it was already part of our life. In the morning ad dywe left but we changed the d ed t direction. We went back nearour house in the banbanana p nana plantation of Nshimyimana, ourneighbor. There we had a serious problem: People came to There ecultivate near wher we were hiding, among them, there was w wherea young man w was Interahamwe. He was even among g man who nthose who we to kill my grandfather. One may say that o wentGod was with us. We were sitting in a pitch dug to prevent wsoil erosion. We had brought there some dried banana leavesto cover us once necessary. We lied in that pitch, coveredourselves and small insects started stinging us. We keptquiet to avoid being seen and killed. Luckily enough, towardsmidday, it rained, these people went home and insectsstopped biting us. It rained until late in the evening. But tosay the truth, it was not easy for a day to finish. We went toMurenzi’s house, stopped behind the compound near thekitchen. We saw his daughter called UWAMUKIJIJE and 30
  • Love Above Allmy mother called her in a low voice. She recognized us andwas surprised to see us alive. May-be they thought we hadbeen killed because it was a long time without going there.She called other members of her family to come and greetus. The mother asked them to bring us food. She added thatwe should leave after eating because Interahamwe wouldmeet us there. At that time, Interahamwe were coming totheir house almost everyday because they were said to hideTutsis. I had in my pocket a plastic bag that I would use incase someone gives us food. I took it out of the pocket, theyput food for us and we left. They told us not to h nearhidethe compound because, before searching in t house, g theinterahamwe had to search its surroundings. We went back gs. Winto the banana plantation where we had sp the day. On ad spentour way, we heard movements of someone and we ran away. om meonI didn’t know how the plastic bag br g broke and the food was rolost in the way. I realized that it wa empty later. We sat in wasthe bush waiting for the on who was running after us and onehe never turned up. We even waited for someone who could e evcry but no one did. We reali that it was a dog’s movements. realizedWe prepared ou bed u d our using dried banana leaves and slept.The night was ve short during the whole period of genocide. ht veryIn the morning, we did not leave that place. We waited for mo ing wthe evening for u to go back to Murenzi’s. At that time we enin f us ngdidn’t find f food because they had already eaten. His wifewas very sad because she could not find anything for us toeat. She entered in a room and brought dry sorghum grainsin a bowl. She told me to bring plastic bag and we used it tokeep these grains. Even if that bag was broken I didn’t throwit. I had tried to repair it during the day. people were runningout of provisions in food. People were not cultivating. Somewere busy killing and they lived on what they took fromTutsis, others thought that Inkotanyi would take the countrywithout them harvesting. We went back but we couldn’t 31
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaeven eat these grains because of chemicals preventing insectsto spoil them. We had to wait until we found water to washthem. That was the second day without eating. We spendthe night there and the following day we were late to wakeup. When we woke up, the sun was already strong, and nearus were shepherds looking after cows. We were unable tomove because of fear. We couldn’t even find dirty water towash the grains. About 10:00 am, in a distance of like onekilometer from where we were, we heard people crying thatthey had seen a cockroach to mean a Tutsi. The shepherdshurried towards where people were crying. We d e did also didn’t didelay to leave that place because they were com coming in our mingdirection. We passed near Nyirubuhingwa’s, an we took wa’s, andthe direction of the forest near the home of my primary ome fteacher. People were crying here an th and there. At that time, nd hInterahamwe had even brought dog to help them hunt ht d gs dogsTutsis where they were hiding. For u the heaven had fallen. ng. usWe were running but we had n neither where to hide nor adefinite direction. It was real hard for us. Imagine two as reallydays without eating or sl ng sleeping appropriately. Again, wewere very tired a d wor ed and worried. Imagine People crying here andthere and dogs hu d hunting you! Even when birds cried, wethought it wa jus because of us! ht i was j as justLet us arrest them; they are Tutsis. rreWhen we arrived in the forest, we met the young brotherof my teacher’s husband who was called HITIMANA withtheir shepherd. They were looking after cows in that forest.When they saw us, they cried very much and saying “Letus arrest them;they are Tutsis”. My mother told me that weshould take different directions to avoid being at the sametime. The shepherd ran after me and HAKIZIMANA aftermy mother. I ran towards the coffee plantation that was near 32
  • Love Above Allthat forest. I was so fast that the shepherd didn’t catch me. Ireturned to the banana plantation of YOZEFU. I spent therest of the day there and in the evening I went to his home.They asked me where I had left my mother. I told them whathad happened and his wife said that she had heard of twopersons killed near a professional school that was there. Istarted crying thinking that no doubt my mother was oneof those two. They took me in a room, showed me whereto sleep but I failed to sleep the whole of that night. I wasthinking about my mother’s death and how I was the onlyone remaining. The night was characterized by such t uch thoughts hthat I didn’t sleep. The fact that my mother would ha been ould have dkilled didn’t mean that I had to stop hiding. Ins ng. Instead I hadto wake up very early in the morning and g i nd go into bushes tohide as usual. In the morning, the youn sister of the wife ey youngof YOZEFU came to wake me up bef e before it was morning. bShe asked me my plastic bag as to g me food I would eat s giveduring the day. It was left in th coffee plantation when I eft the ftwas being run after. She promi me to come and see me in he p promisedthe banana plantation brin tion bringing food. I left that place being nvery tired because of no eating and the sorrow caused by my cau notmother’s death. I w tired physically and mentally. In the wasbanana plantation I slept very deeply and I was woken up a p tatby cries ev ywh es everywhere. I heard someone saying that “Abakiga” veryhad come. These were Interahamwe from the region of high emountains. They were more dangerous than those of ourlocal area. They were interested in searching houses for themto take the belongings of the family where they could finda Tutsi. But they had to go where local people showed thembecause they didn’t know the place. There were Hutus whodidn’t want to take active roles in killings but who weredirecting these Interahamwe pointing at houses where theythought Tutsis would be hiding. People were crying nearwhere I was. I stood up and started running. I was very tired 33
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaand hungry that I was being brought by the wind. I wentback in the coffee plantation and luckily I found my bag withsorghum grains. I took it and went in the pit that was dug toprevent soil erosion. We hid there sometimes. Remember wehad not eaten these grains because of chemicals dangerousto human beings. Still I couldn’t find water there, yet I wasstarving to death. I opened the bag, started blowing on thesegrains as a way of cleaning them and I started eating them.They were very hard that I had to keep them in the mouthfor sometime to be wet. I the evening they were over. I wentto MURENZI’s again and I stood behind the co e compoundwhere we used to stand waiting for food. I calle t called them in leda lower voice. They were surprised to see me al e alone. Theyasked me where my mother was and I told them what had hhappened. They said that she might have b t been killed. I gavethem the bag, they gave me food an I disappeared from ood and d ndthere. I went in the banana pl na plantation, sat down, ate and lantaslept. The following day, AB ABAKIG came back. People cried ABAKIGAhere and there then I stood u and went to a bush in which too up odwe used to hide with my m th mother. When I got in it, I saw mymother lying as a dead body. I approached and touched her.She moved and u edd unable to talk she asked me if I were stillalive. She knew th I had been killed the day we separated e knew thatour ways. I a told her that I was thinking that she had ays. also .not escaped that day. It was her fifth day without eating. pedShe had even failed to eat green bananas that she had withher. She had a serious problem. She had been wounded by apiece of tree in the thigh and the piece was still inside. Shewas unable to move. In a very low voice of someone tired,hungry and full of sorrow, she started telling me how sheescaped HITIMANA who wanted to kill her. When she wasrunning, she fell in a pit that was in the banana plantation.The one running after her didn’t see the pit. He thought shewas still running. When she saw that the guy had continued, 34
  • Love Above Allshe covered herself with dried banana leaves in that pit whichwas not deep. After one hour, that’s when she realized that atree, which was still inside, had hit her and her clothes werecovered by blood. In the evening I left my mother and wentto someone called KABERA to ask for food. I was givenfood very quick and they were very afraid because that manhad a wife who was a Tutsi. I left and joined my mother.We started eating but she failed to continue. Later on, andwind very much. It was about to rain. Down the bush, therewas an old man called ZEFANIA who lived there. We wentthere and waited for them to go to bed. They had a kitchen ad dwithout doors. We entered and luckily fire was still there s stiburning. We sat near the fire and it is there that I was able ere thatto get that piece of tree out of my mother’s thigh. While I her’s hwas doing this, it was very painful that sh cried very much. that she hPeople of that house heard the cry, cam towards the door of ry, c me camethe main house but luckily they did get out. I had a small y y didn’tjacket and I used it to prevent her from continuing to bleed. eve ventI took some ash just to co b cover blood. Early next morning, we overwent back to our bush. ush. 35
  • HITIMANA and I. 36
  • Chapter Six: My Mother’s Prayer.My mother seemed to have lost hope of l She continued ope life.praying. She used to pray like th s if I try to translate,“ e thisLord our creator, even if we are sinners you know that awe are being killed for nothing. But if you see that I am noth thintowards the end of my lif I request you to protect my f life, ifson and receive me i your kingdom.” She prayed like inthis almost every day. My mother asked me to do my best st ayand hide becaus she had to remain in that bush for she de because eccouldn’t move. S feared that we could be killed at the n’t ove. Shesame moment. So I had to hide elsewhere and come to see om menher in the night. Towards 2:00 pm we heard Interahamwewith their dogs hunting Tutsis. My mother told me to leavethe place. I passed in the same coffee plantation and thereI found a girl called JOSEE. She was living with a nursecalled EDOUARD. She was together with a boy calledMODESTE both hiding in that plantation. I continuedagain my way towards the banana plantation of YOZEFU.There again, I found a child called NATANI. He was ashepherd of the same nurse. He was also a Tutsi and he was 37
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanahiding. We hid together the whole day and he stared tellingme how he went back to his home and met only dead bodies.He seemed to have some mental problems because of thedeath of his relatives. He was never at one place. He wasmoving here and there and I was afraid of these movementsthat’s why I asked him to keep quiet for us to hide. Inthe evening, I went to see if my mother was still alive.Remember that I had left her when there was Interahamwecoming in her direction. I found her there and I went backto Murenzi’s to tell them that she was still alive. They gaveme food in the same plastic bag, I went back t see my k tomother and we ate. One may say that my plastic ba it had astic bag cbecome a metal! I had been using it for two mon carrying o months nthall sorts of food and everything we put there h to smell as hadif it was spoiled because it was itself spoiled In the morning, f spoiled.my mother asked me to leave and go to h elsewhere I went d o hideback in my banana plantation and m NATANI again. For tion a methim he had to go where he wor e h worked before and slept withcows. He told me that cows have become his friends. He tcshowed me a tree in that banana plantation. We climbed nup and hid the We got tired very quickly soon and we there.didn’t stay ther fo a long time. He told me that he had ay there for yten Rwandan f wan an fran that he wanted to go to a place called ndan francs n“Imihanda iri anda irindwi” to mean seven roads to buy an avocado. da rindwThis is a juncture of seven roads. It was like 500 meters jufrom where we were. I told him not to go but he refused.He told me that he had even gone to his native place thatwas very far and he came back. He told me that I had to fearnothing that would be back. When he got out of the bananaplantation, in the road to the Presbyterian Church, he metsomeone called DUSHIMIMANA. He was a good model ofINTERAHAMWE. People said that only three people weremissing in order for him to have killed a hundred people.He had a machete and he stopped him. I was seeing them 38
  • Love Above Allfrom a distance, so I couldn’t hear what they were saying.Immediately someone called NKIKO come. He was livingat that place. He asked DUSHIMIMANA what he was stillwaiting for. He took the machete in order to clean the place(killing that boy) according to him. DUSHIMIMANAtook legs and NKIKO the head. He covered the mouthof that boy, stepped in his chest and then cut off the head.They cleaned their machete using clothes of the dead body.NKIKO put the dead body in the pit to prevent soil erosionthen put some soil and that was the death of NATANI. Itwas my second time to see where someone was bein killed. being iI stayed there until it was night. I went to YOZEFU’s, they OZE EFUgave me food and I went to join my mother in h bush. her herIn the morning I went in the same bana plantation and e bananaspent the day in the same tree. A bo called EUGENE; e. b boyhis father was a nurse, passed there from grazing cows. He ssed tgreeted me and continued his w He was a very good ued ed way.friend of mine. We studied together and we used to go tud diedto the cinema together. The family of this boy was also geth her.Tutsi. During t seco republic, Tutsis were mistreated g the secondthat is why some of them had changed their identity to hy somget access to some benefits like studying or getting jobs. ces o so ss somIt was the same for this family; they were Tutsis who had e sam amebecome Hutus. This didn’t prevent Interahamwe to destroy Hutheir house and kill the eldest child. After a short period oftime, Eugene brought me bananas. I started eating themthrowing leftovers down. After one hour, someone calledATHANASE and his fiancée called NYIRAMANA passedthere. His mother was YOZEFU’s sister. When they arrivedunder the tree they saw all these banana leftovers they raisedtheir eyes in the tree and saw me. ATHNASE had a gun andasked me: “Do you live here?” and I said yes. He told meto stay there that there weren’t any problem. ATHANASE 39
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaknew me very much because I used to spend the day athis uncle YOZEFU. They left but I was very afraid and Idecided to leave that place too. I went down, moved downa bit, lied down and covered myself with dried bananaleaves. After thirty minutes, the INTERAHAMWE calledDUSHIMIMANA came with a machete. He looked up inthat tree, didn’t see me and he left. In the evening I wentto bring food and joined my mother. I told her how I wasgoing to be killed and she told me that I had to stay with herthe following day. At 9:00 am of the following day, people ycame to cultivate in the coffee plantation that was near ourbush. After a while, we saw a big snake from a ho t was hole that olenear us. It was like two meters long. I was very afraid and as ver yapproached my mother. She whispered tel d telling me not to llibe afraid. The snake stayed there for a l for lo time. Towards longmidday, it came in our direction. M mother shook me tion My n.against the soil preventing me to m g move. It passed in frontof us very quickly to the c ee plantation. When they saw e coff pit they ran crying and th d d they didn’t come back. My mother heytold me that she was spendi the day with that snake. After as s spendinglike three hours, that sn ur hat snake came back and entered into itshole. My mother w not the same. She was tired but she y moth waswas not afraid. Sh tried to talk to me and her face was very t a aid. Sheclear. And sh se d she seemed to tell me things from the bottom of heher heart. Sh told me: “May be killings will stop or God Shewill help you to find your brother in Kigali. Don’t becomea drunkard like him. He will teach you to work but don’tlearn from him to like beer. Be wise. Try to find friendsand live peacefully with everybody because you never knowwho will be important to you. Even if we are being huntedto be killed at least sometimes there are friends who give usfood. It is because I have been living with them peacefully.Listen and help those who need your help as you can. Don’tforget to advise one another.” When she finished telling me 40
  • Love Above Allthis, she said her usual prayer she used to pray. It rained atthat time until late in the evening. In the night, my mothertold me to go back into the other kitchen that was near.toZEFANIA’s home.I left my mother and I went to MURENZI’s to ask for food.They put food in my plastic bag and came back. When Iwas preparing to get inside the compound, I saw my mothersurrounded by five men. They were talking to the girl in thathouse through the window. They told my mother to go andthey followed her. I lost interest in life and I said I would id dknow the death of my mother. I left them to go a I went andbehind them. They took her in the road near th old man thecalled NYIRUBUHINGWA. When they r hey reached to a wifecalled ABUDIYA four of them entered itered into the compoundthen the one called FIDELE nicknamed MAPIRONI stayed kna ed amwith my mother out. I was seeing t as seeing them from a distance oflike a hundred meters. I wa hidi against stones that were was hidingon the road. I don’t know wh my mother told him before now what w hthe boy hit her with the bac of the machete and my mother h th backfell down. After a short moment, those four came back and teMAPIRONI told m mother in a frightening voice to stand ONI to myup and go. (After the genocide that is when the mother of d g Afthat house to m what my mother had told MAPIRONI ouse told me se oldwhen he hi her.) My mother was telling him: “ Serve God hitand let me go I beg you do not kill me; at least I’ ll be cultivatingyour fields.” My mother stood up and They took her in theroad leading to a place called RYANYIRAKABANO. Theywere moving slowly because my mother’s thigh was stillpaining. When they arrived where this road joins the oneof KIBUYE-GISENYI, the one called BIMENYIMANAtook my mother on the other side of the road then thisMAPIRONI said that it is was not accepted to kill a Tutsiwithout raping her. They started fighting with my mother 41
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanatrying to take off her clothes. Of course she couldn’t defeatthem they ended up by raping her. When they finished,the one called JEAN D’AMOUR who was sitting on theroad told them to bring her to the road. My mother askedthem not to kill her naked. She asked them to let her atleast put on a skirt. BIMENYIMANA brougth her dressafter they told her to lie down on the road. She obeyed andBIMENYIMANA hit her twice with a very big piece oftree commonly known as “ubuhiri”. JEAN D’AMOUR, theone who killed my grandfather, also slaughtered her with asword. My mother cried only once. I turned and w to a nd went dhouse that was near. I sat behind the compound wai nd wwaiting forthese killers to leave. I wanted to go and see if m mother if mywould be still breathing. They stayed there for sometime therplanning for the following day but later th separated and theywent away.After the five men left,I we to a small forest that was near wenta house of someone else that w my teacher. Her name was e th wasBEATA. I used to go there to play with her children who o therwere my friends. I hid i that forest. It was still in the night. nds inThe following d in the morning, I saw a dead body of a owing day, winggirl near me in th same forest. Her head was cut off and ar thethey had p aced “igisongo” (a sharp piece of bamboo tree placed placthat they uused to kill) in her sex. It was not easy for me torecognize her for she hadn’t a head. Towards midday, threedogs came and started eating that dead body. I couldn’t doanything because there was a position of Interahamwe nearand a pathway used by so many people. I stayed there andthese dogs left when they were satisfied. I cant’ forget thatpicture; it frightens me even today. In the evening, Beata’schildren were playing football.The ball came towards where I was hiding. The youngest 42
  • Love Above Allcame to pick it and saw me. He stared at me and wanted tocome and greet me but when he saw leftovers of that deadbody he was very afraid and went back running. After amoment their houseboy came and told me that my teacherwanted to see me. I went there, she gave me bananas butadded that I had to leave that forest because Interahamweused to go there. So they could find me there and kill me. Itwas in the evening and I immediately heard people cryingat a place called Imihanda irindwi. I went where I couldsee what was going on. It was a girl that they had found.They had put her in the road. I was at a distance of like 200 e fmeters. Interahamwe called NSENGIMANA se A searched her earcand took off the piece of Kitenge that she had fa e fastened onher belly. He then stroked her with a humhummer on the faceand she was down. They left her there s here struggling with thelast breath. I turned back waiting fo the night to fall so ting for g orthat I could leave that place. I we to MURENZI’s and ace. wentthey were aware of the d death o my mother because she of he roadwas killed and left in the road. I spent this time the nightand the following da ins day inside their house. We heard thatInterahamwe w ld se e would search this family second night. Thatis why I went to spend the night in the banana plantation. spI stayed there five days but eating from Murenzi. There d re vwas a pathway i that plantation and as time went on it pathway in thwabecame frequent. Many people were using it. I decided to freshift from there and go into another plantation of bananathat was near my school. Apart from this, people wereaware that me, Josée and Modeste were still alive hidingin those plantations. There was a child nicknamed TOTO.He was a Hutu and we had studied together. At that time,he was spending the day moving around these plantationsand bushes to find Tutsis who were hiding there. Once hefound a Tutsi, he would hurry to inform DUSHIMIMANAwho rewarded him for this according to what people said. 43
  • Jean De Dieu MusabyimanaI once heard his voice together with someone that I didn’trecognize. I immediately left that banana plantation andwent to school. I passed through the playground and wentto sit behind the class of p6. Towards 2:00 pm people cameto play in that playground. I thought that some of them maycome my way and see me. I moved down a bit and hid in thepit to prevent soil erosion that was near the road. After liketwo hours, DUSHIMIMANA came with four Tutsis. Whenthey got near where I was, he told them to sit down. Hestarted killing them using a machete. No one of them cried.It took him like five minutes to finish killing them. After the hhe left all these dead bodies lying there. Many peop came people y peto watch and this frightened me a lot. I left there and went ft theredown the Presbyterian Church that was ther I used to pray there.from there and I was in the children’s choi I wasn’t walking n s choir.in the road instead I was down it. There I saw someone who t. ewas not fully killed. He was sti br still breathing and he was half illburied. I took away soil on his he and when I tried to talk n headto him, he didn’t respond and I went on. ond and dI sat in the bush behind the Church. After like thirty bu behminutes, childre c children came to play in front of the Church. I hadto leave again to a e a ain avoid being seen. I went down through the nbanana plantation and I arrived near the house of hearing a plant pl tatioimpaired wwoman. In that plantation, I found a girl who wasalso hiding. She was younger than me. She was like eightyears old. I sat next her and she gave me one of two bananasthat she had. We didn’t greet one another, at that time wehad become like animals. After like five minutes, two dogspassed down the road running. The one that was in fronthad a head of a person. When they got near us like in twentymeters, they started fighting just to own the head. The headhad its hair; it was easy to say that it was a woman. The girlwhom we were together was lying for a while. I told her to 44
  • Love Above Allget up for us to go away from those dogs. When she sawthat head, she immediately said that it was her mother’s. Sheadded that she didn’t know that she was dead. I tried to coolher down saying that may be it was someone else’s head butshe refused saying that she had even recognized her teeth.I went on telling her the opposite also watching over thosedogs to see if they were not approaching us. When I lookedat her, she was already sleeping against a banana tree. I triedto wake her up but in vain. In a moment I heard someonemoving in that plantation. I woke her up without success.I left her there and went in the forest that was not far from notthere. I sat there waiting for the night to come. In th night e. theI went back to see if the girl was still alive. I didn’t find her e. didnand I went to MURENZI’s to ask for food food.After eating I went back in the sam ba same banana plantation and mespent the night there. They told me not to go far from their y dhome so that they would be able to bring me food. I started dbspending the day in the ban he banana plantation that was thereunder an avocado tr th was surrounded by sorghum tree that reeplantations. Du ng the day they brought me food there and Duringin the night I wou go home to eat from there. After some ght wwoulddays, they we no longer coming to search in their houses hey were ey ereso I started spen arte spending the day and sleeping in the house. In ed spthe following days, I heard that there were French soldiers wiwho had established a position in a secondary school calledGroupe Scolaire de Rubengera. People were saying thatTutsis who were still alive would go there to be brought inRPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) positions. They asked me ifthey would bring me there and I refused. I said that I wouldstay there especially because Interahamwe were fleeing to theDRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) that was ZAIRE atthat time. Besides I was aware that Inkotanyi were about toarrive in our area. 45
  • Jean De Dieu MusabyimanaBefore the genocide, when I went for my holidays to myuncle in Kigali, I heard him talking to another man thatFrench Soldiers trained Interahamwe. That is why I refusedto go where they were. Hutus refugees who were said tohave escaped Inkotanyi were then spread everywhere. Thisbecause when soldiers of the government that was on powerat that time and that supported killings lost the war, calledall people to leave the area. I was then able to go out becauseInterahamwe who knew me had already left the p place. Thetime arrived when all these Hutu refugees most of whom ost twere Interahamwe, left for the DRC and those who t e wh thoughtto be innocent returned to their native places that were placestaken by Inkotanyi. Brief, INKOTANYI h d stopped the NYI hadgenocide. 46
  • MURENZIs wife and I. 47
  • Part Tw art T Two 49
  • Chapter Seven: AFTER THE GENOCIDEAn eleven year old boy, who had lost hi family, who had lost hisseen all sorts of bad things, who saw th death of his mother, o thewho had seen people being slaughtered like animals to be ng slau heaten, and so many other bad th r d things. You can say that it willbe hard for such a boy to b helpful to himself and others. oy beYou are even allowed to say that he may become a terrorist wed tor a doer of all so s o bad things. I thing that if you live sorts ofin developed cou loped coun ped countries you would take him in institutions edgiving sp al tre special trea pecial treatment to traumatized people. You can alsothink of ta f taking him to an orphanage where he would find akiother children. May-be playing with them can be helpful tohim. I agree with you all these can be helpful to someonewho knew bad situations like me but what would happen ifall these were impossible? Does it mean the end of his life?Or it means pretending to live when you are not living? Thiswould be what Rwandans call “Gupfa uhagaze” to meandying while standing up. 51
  • Jean De Dieu MusabyimanaSuffering Does Not Mean The End Of LifeAfter the genocide, there was a very serious hunger all overthe country. In my opinion, three major things caused it.The first is the genocide. A very big number of Tutsis hadbeen killed and survivors were there but with no hope ofthe future, even some of them had left their native places.Second, some of Hutus had spent most of their time killingwithout cultivating and those who had not participated ingenocide also didn’t cultivate and yet this was the mainactivity of Rwandans. They were afraid of possible war and ible lwere always ready to flee. For this, what mattered for them tered fo edwas life on daily basis. Third, a big number of Rwandans ber ohad fled to DRC ( Democratic Republic of C Congo). All thesethings caused that food shortage.The family in which I was living tryi to start a new life was g tryingfacing the same problems o lack of food. To make matters ms ofworse, it had a very big numb of the family members. It gnnumberhad sixteen members and I was the seventeenth. There was ersthe old chief of f mily a his wife, their two daughters, one family andson and their te g heir ten grandchildren. It was not easy to manageand feed such a big family after hard times like the ones ed uc d ch bwe had liv d in. Sometimes we had to drink porridge only d lived ivedbecause we couldn’t find food. One day, the old mothertold me about the problem. She told me that it was noteasy to find food. She added that even if my mother waspoor she tried to find food for me. To that she added thatthere was somebody who wanted a boy to look after hiscows. He suggested that I went there to see if bad days canpass. She was begging while telling me this. I had no otheralternatives; I had to accept because I myself realized theproblem. The following day that is when I left and went tosomeone called IRIKUMWENATWE who was living with 52
  • Love Above Allhis sister. I started a job without a salary, but I didn’t staythere for a long time.Shepherds with whom I was spending the day had theideology of genocide. They were not afraid of remindingme that I was a Tutsi. They even sometimes called me“Inyenzi” to mean a cockroach. I decided to go away fromthem avoiding being killed especially because I had seenhow killing someone had become a game. The only solutionwas to go back in the previous family. I explained what hadhappened to the old mother and agreed that I w would staythere. After one week she found for me the same job but this me jotime I was to be paid. I was somehow happy bec ppy because it waspossible to get some money instead of worki for food. workingRemember I hadn’t heard any news abo my brother, uncle ws about band cousins who were living in Ki ing n Kigali. I had in mind thatthey were still alive. I thought killings happened only in hooughtKibuye. I was looking a ho I could join them so that g at howwe live together. W When I got that paying job, for me Ihad started my way to Kigali. I had to find a ticket byall means. Few da later, I got where I was supposed to ns. s. dayswork. The ow The owner of that house told me that he would be wnpaying me five hundred a month. This is the equivalent of g five h valmost one A ne American dollar. Even if I was given food andaccommodation, still that amount was very little. But for mewhat was important was my purpose and I had to achieveit. In the first days my boss accompanied me just to help meto the pasture get accustomed but after one week I had togo alone. I had to meet other shepherds and most of themwere my age. Some were looking after cows of their relativesand others were working for money like me. Most of themagain were children who had never attended school whosebehaviors were not good. They would spend the whole day 53
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanainsulting, fighting one another and they were very dirty. Iwas very different from them. I was someone who had beentaught to be clean, especially because in my childhood Iused to spend the day with my grandfather who was cleanand smart. I had two shorts, one shirt and one t-shirt. I hadto wash myself each time I get home from work and I had tomake sure that my clothes were clean. I was not aggressivethe way they were. All these made me totally different fromthem. Some even hated me for this. One of them told methat their colleagues had told him that they would throwme in the river because they had known that I wa a Tutsi. wasWhen I got home, I told my boss that I was abo to leave about outbecause other shepherds had bad plans for me H soothed r me. Heme telling me that they would not harm m b it was too m me butearly to forget people I saw being killed. T l illed. Telling me that youcan kill me to me this was very eas to understand because y easy t asyI had an experience. In the following morning, I left and he followwent back to Murenzi’s. The old m The mother asked me what hadhappened. I replied that I go the same problem. She told hat got tme to stay at home becaus she couldn’t do anything else. eb becauseSchools were ab ut to r about restart. At that time the daughter ofthat old woman c woma came and told her mother that she had aneighbor who w a primary school teacher who wanted a or who wa r wasshepherd just for his children to go back to school. She lived erd j tat a place called NYARUGENGE. The old mother replied ec lthat I had to go there. I accepted because of my plan to goand see members of my family. I had to do all I could toget money. In the evening of the same day I left with thatdaughter to that place where I was supposed to work. It waslike five kilometers from my new home. She left me thereand went to her home that was near. When I got there, Iknew one of the children of that family that we studied atthe same school before genocide.the chief of that family was 54
  • Love Above Allcalled NDINDABAHIZI Theoneste. The Mother of thatfamily started asking me different questions including: • How old are you? • Eleven • In which class were you when you stopped your studies? • P5 • Do you have parents? • Non • When did they die? • My father died when I was very young and my d mother died during the genocide. • What kind of works can you do? • I can do everything. He laughed wh I said ghed when that I could do everything. g. • You say you can do ever th everything, how much eryt would you like each m ch month month? • I do not know. Yo wil pay me according to You will how you will hav ap have appreciated my job. veHe asked one of his children who was following our ne fconversation to kee the plastic bag that I had. It contained tion keep ionmy clothes. He al told his other son to bring cans for us th . H also hes.to go and fetch water. He then asked me if I could carry d fet etchtwo cans a d I said that I could. Sincerely speaking I had andnever carried even one because I used to carry the one offifteen liters. Here I was accepting to carry two, each havingtwenty liters, to make fourty all together. It was not easy butI had accepted that just because we had agreed on payingaccording to how I would work. I had to show them thatI was a hardworking boy. Water was found like in threehundred meters but I got home very tired as if shoulderswere broken because I was carrying them in my hands. Inthe following morning, I went with the other boy of that 55
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanahouse just to show me where their cows graze. He only didthis for two days because after he had to go to school.These are things I was supposed to do each and every day:getting up early in the morning, going to fetch water,grazing cows, at midday when I was back I had to look forgrass on which cows had to sleep, sometimes I also had tocut firewood before it was 3:00 pm, time for me to return tolook after cows. I had to come back home at 6:00 pm thengo to fetch water and that was the end of the day.That family was living in an agglomeration wh houses where herewere grouped together. In the evening all child ll children wouldcome to gather in front of our houses. The chief of that s.family liked talking to children that is wh they liked him a whyand they would come to gather ther waiting to listen to there er th rewhat he would tell them. I also so also sometimes participated inthose conversations when my hou works were over. I knew n m housealmost all of children of my age because we studied at the fsame school before the genocide. Even those I didn’t know e th gen hethey knew me b ause I was a football player and I was one becauseamong players of school team. I was also a singer in the layerschurch. A l these made me known by many children. By . All t thethat time I did talk very much. I had completely changed. me didn’t idn’tI was someone calm and who talked only when needed. I mecould even spend the whole day without saying anything.It was easy for those who knew me before to realize that.During that time, if I was not busy thinking about thingsI saw in the genocide, I would be thinking of ways to getto Kigali to find my relatives because I was convinced thatthey were still alive. It is even the only reason why I haddecided to work hard in order to get money. Those childrenamong things they talked about life at school was one of the 56
  • Love Above Allthings. One day when I was not there they talked about howintelligent I was and how I was loved by teachers for this. 57
  • Chapter Eight: YOU MUST GO BACK TO SCHOOL!One night we were eating and Theoneste(my boss) called g dme. He told me that children had told him that I was childrenintelligent at school. I did add anything to what he had didn’t dn’tsaid and he asked me if I still liked to study. I said that Iliked it before but I no longer liked it. He was not happy ore b twith me but he add that I should like it again. I said that addedI might like it a ht l ke again with time. Another day he called me agagain and we sat somewhere alone. He gave me reasons why d weI should like school again . ikHe also told me that it might help me to forget hard times Iwent through. After one month instead of paying me he toldme to get prepared to go back to school with other children.I was shocked by this news because my plan to go to Kigalito find my relatives was about to fail. By the time he wastelling me this, they had already brought someone to replaceme looking after cows. The one who was my boss had thenbecome my new parent. I went to school unwillingly. 59
  • Jean De Dieu MusabyimanaAfter two weeks, I was at home and then a woman passedthere. She saw me and recognized me. She was a friend ofthe mother of where I was living. She told her that she knewme because she used to see me in Kigali at someone calledGERARD (he was my uncle.) He also told them that allmembers of this family had been killed, that there was noone left. In the evening after eating, they told me that theywere going to tell me something that would hurt me. Forme I thought nothing could hurt me after all bad things Ihad witnessed. They told me what the other woman had sidetold them. I was very shocked and I went outside to sit on embbersa bench that was there. After a while all members of thatfamily were surrounding me. One of the childre tried to childrensoothe me and asked me to stand up and go to sleep. I cried ndvery much that even neighbors came to s what was going me seeon. The eldest daughter began blam ng her mother that she min blamingmade a mistake telling me this. They asked me to go inside his. ethe house for people who were ga o w gathered there to go. I spentthe whole night sitting becau I couldn’t sleep. g be becauseIn the following morn win morning, I failed to go to school insteadthat is when I we to bed and woke up very late in the hen wentevening. I ha l hope of life. I thought of what I could do g. had lost adbut I failed to get one. I had gone back through hard times. I ailed o edcouldn’t ea I spent two days sleeping and getting up when eat.it was time to pray. Members of that family were very goodChristians of the Catholic Church. Every night after eatingit was a habit to take time to sing and pray. I respected topray because my mother’s prayer during the genocide hadtouched my heart and I can’t forget it even today. I learntfrom it that when you pray believing, you get what you hadasked. When we were being hunted she always prayed Godto protect me against hands of killers and her prayer was 60
  • Love Above Allanswered. I began praying asking God to give me humanityagain and to help me bear hard times I had gone through.My new father had never given up asking me to go back toschool. Again I thought about when my mother was prayingfor me to be protected, she just wanted me to live. I alsothought about things she had asked me to do once I was notkilled: to learn from my brother good things, not to becomea drunkard, to help those who need my help and to seekadvice from my brother. My brother was no longer there gso I had to follow these two things: not to be a d drunkardand to help people who would need my help. These things p.comforted me and I decided to go back to sch k school. Afterone year I was in p6 where I had to sit for an examinationallowing me to go on with my secondary s ndary studies. I succeededthe exam but the other boy who had become my brother ho haddidn’t. We were happy but no ve happy because of his ut not very otfailure. His parents sent hi in a private school whereas the him imgovernment had sent me in a school that was at a distance eof twenty kilometers from where we were living. I had to ers stravel all these kilometers on foot. They had bought for ese lomeme a pair of kaki trousers and a white shirt. This was the ir ka runiform of a stu m f all students in government schools all over thecountry. They al bought for me a towel, a plate, a folk, ry. e alsoten notebooks, three pens, slippers, a bag in which I could bo kcarry them, a bucket and mattress. I put the bag on my backand I held the bucket and the mattress in my hands. Theywished me a safe journey and food lessons. I had to climb upa very high mountain called SAKINNYAGA, but this wasnot a problem I was happy to study in a secondary school. Ididn’t know where the school was built. I had gone only tothe stadium when we went to burry Tutsis who were killedthere during the genocide. They had told me that once Iwould get to that stadium everybody would show me the 61
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaway to school. I did what I was told and a businessman nearthe stadium showed me the way.I Was Not Well Received At School.When I arrived at school (ETO Kibuye), I first arrived wherethere were administrative premises. I was the first amongother newcomer. Two gentlemen were sitting there on abench. One of them asked me if I was a newcomer and Isaid yes. The other one immediately told me to kneel down.I obeyed and he asked me to carry what I had brought dwhile kneeling. He asked me to creep up to wh p w where sickpeople stayed. He told me to stand up after I had put down er hadall my materials. He boxed me and I wa down on my wasback. He stepped on my chest and told me very angrily: nd d“They are chasing us out and you are coming?” Another ou agentleman who had heard of my arr my arrival also came to troubleme. Looking at me he recognized me immediately stopped eco ognizethe other guy from beating m He said that I was from his atin me. ngplace. He took me to his b and called all boys from his e o bedregion and introduced me to them. They were famous and ntro ucedknown in the sc n scho that’s why nobody could harm me any schoolmore. In the evening, there were so many newcomers and n he ev evenI was named their chief by continuing students because I nam d the medwas the first to arrive at school. The following day we started rsstudying.Like A Star At SchoolI had a very good start, and I got 91.5% at the end of thefirst term. I was the first among forty students. In the secondterm I had started getting familiar with other students and Iwas once again sociable as I was before. Many students likedme and suggested I would join their clubs. The first club I 62
  • Love Above Alljoined was the one of SCOUT because it was stronger thanany other clubs at school. Besides, its members seemed to besmart, clean and sharp. I had to alternate Scouts’ activitiesand playing basketball. All these were extra curricularactivities. In my second form, members of modern dancesand drama club asked me to join their club. They wantedme to be in the drama part but I liked dancing. I think theywanted me there because I was a sociable boy and with asense of humor. I had talents to show in that drama groupaccording to them. I accepted but I also requested themto allow me sometimes to participate in dances and they cesaccepted. It was not something easy participating in a these ing all gactivities after lessons. I couldn’t’ even find tim to rest. I timehad become famous and everybody knew m I had become ew me.a star. At the end of the year, I had bad marks: I got only ad d60%, and the reason was that I was bu doing other things as busy usinstead of studying. 63
  • Chapter Nine: GOING AWAY FROM ADVICEIn my third form, the situation beca n became worse. MarksI was getting were not satisfying a all. The reason was ying atparticipating in many activities a I said above. In addition ivities asto all these activities, I was als asked to become the class a alsorepresentative. Even the tea h who was heading my option teacherof automobile mechanics asked me the same. After few days hani iof deep thinking, I de hinking, decided to stop some activities includingbeing a member o the drama club and dancing this to em ofassume other re e o er responsibilities which were assigned to me. resI was only fourteen. I remained then a scout, a basketball nly foplayer and a class representative. I t was not easy but I haddecided to manage them so as not to spoil my studies. Therewas no problem with this; the biggest problem arose when Ijoined a group of children who were drunkards and starteddrinking. You can ask yourself where I got money to buybeer while I couldn’t even find a ticket to take me to school.I told you everybody liked me and I always had invitationsto go and share beer with them. I would go with one grouptoday and go with another one the following day. It was my 65
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanafirst time to drink beer and it tasted sour but I had to drinkjust to avoid being laughed at by my colleagues. I was notgood at drinking because only two bottles of MUTZIG wereenough for me to be drunk. One day we were from holidaysof the second term and my colleagues had a lot of money.We went to a pub and started drinking. After finishing twobottles one of them said that he was going to buy for uswhiskey. To show that I was mature, I drank it and they leftthat place holding me in their arms because I was unableto walk. I was vomiting along the way to school. When wegot into our bedroom many children gathered th to see there hme in that very alarming situation. I got into my b with o bedclothes and shoes. When I woke up very late in t night, I ate n therealized that I was wearing shoes. I got up sil silently to take off lthose shoes without being seen by anybod I didn’t know anybody. bthat they had seen me before going to b In the morning, oing o bed. geverybody came to see how I woul get up with shoes but ow w wouldthey were all surprised to see me without them. They asked osme when I had taken th them off. I was very ashamed and hemcouldn’t answer them. The problem was that no one of them em m.advised me to stop drinking; instead they were telling me o s p drithat very soon I wo y would get accustomed. I finished that yearwith very ba p ery bad po y ad points, only 52%. I had gone beyond whatmy mother had t me before she died. She had insisted on othe ha told erI should av i being a drunkard like my brother. avoidI Was AfraidAmong our neighbors, there were some other secondarystudents but who were older than me. We would spendthe day together during holidays. One day we went to visitsomeone who was a driver in a company called China Roadand Bridge Corporation. He had received his salary andhe bought for us beer and I went home being drunk. In a 66
  • Love Above Allfamily where I was living, no one drank beer and by 7:00 pmeverybody had to be at home. For me I was very late to gethome because it was 10:00 pm and I was drunk. The mothercame to open for me and she asked me why I was late but Ididn’t say anything. She also asked me if I had ever seen thechief of the family coming home late like I did. To this Itold her that it was because he had nowhere to go. She toldme to enter and she closed. In the following morning, shecalled me and repeated what I had said the previous night.She did this in front of all children and she added that I wasamong old children there that I had to be a good model. I ooddbowed my head on the table thinking about these wo and hese words eI apologized saying that I would never drink be again. I rink beertook a machete and went to find grasses for cows. When I es fogot in the banana plantation where I had t find these grasses toI sat down and thought of the word I had been told by the words rdsmother that my mother had to m once again especially told me oldwhen I was told to be a g good mmodel. These reminded mymother’s advice when she wa about to be killed. I thought e wasif that behavior would hel to respect my mother’s advice. oul help ldMy thoughts to me b s took back in the genocide. I saw a pictureof my mother ad other advis me and from the bottom of her heart. ther advisingI was very af ver afraid and started weeping. I was alone in that ry frabanana plantation but I felt guilty because I had not obeyed a pla tatio lantmy mother. I decided to change my behavior. That is why herI stopped being a scout when I went back to school and Ijoined a group of students who liked to pray. Everybodycould notice that I had completely changed. Remember Ihad bad results in the second and third form. This also hadan impact on my results in the fourth year and the diplomaitself was not good. 67
  • Chapter Ten: HE WAS MY TRUE FRIENDI left ETO Kibuye with a diploma known as A3 in the option knownof Automobile Mechanics. The diplo was on a very low diplomalevel. After, one had to go and g t an A level. At that time o getschools which offered A level in my option were only found lin KIGALI, the capital ci and all students had to study ital cityand go back home in t evening. It is clear that to study e th thethere you needed a fam that could accommodate you. For familyme it was not easy b as ot because I knew no one there. All membersof my fam y had been killed during the Genocide. For me, family milymy studies end there. I had to look for a job and say bye to dies endedschool life. I found a job in a Chinese garage. These Chinesewere constructing a road from Gitarama to Kibuye. I waspaid very little money according to my degree; Only 500Rwandan francs a day. This is the equivalent of almost oneUS dollar. I was in charge of car batteries. We were not givenappropriate clothes. We wore our own and they were quicklytorn because of the acid. At the end of the first month, I waspaid 14,000 Rwandan francs because I was absent twice.I paid the restaurant where I used to take my lunch and I 69
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaremained with 4,000. I bought a pair of trousers and a t-shirtand the money was over. I realized that this money wouldnot help me at all. Instead it might cause misunderstandingsamong us. Imagine working for money and unable to buyat least a t-shirt to my new brothers. I decided to leave thatjob. I couldn’t spend the whole day sitting. I had to do somehousework. I started doing the job I had been doing beforeI joined school. If I wasn’t looking after cows, I had to goto cultivate with other farm workers. I started saying thatthere was no use studying. I realized that my mother hadasked me to do the impossible. She had asked m to help d methose who would need my help, yet I hadn’t hop i me to hope in pefind that possibility of helping anyone. After o year in onethat kind of life, I met someone called THEOTHEOBALD whowas my good friend when we were at sch e a school. We had both hattended a wedding ceremony of a sen colleague of ETO senior niKIBUYE. He was going to ma a girl of our region. We marry arrytalked for a long time and I told him everything about my nd dlife after we finished studying. Even if he was a native of a tuddyinplace called CYANGUGU, at that time he was living in NGGUGUKIGALI the ca al cit of RWANDA with his sister where capital cityhe helped her in h business. He promised me to ask her d i herto let me live i that family so that I might continue my e ive instudies. After on one week, he came back telling me that s. A r onlyboth his sisister and his brother in law had accepted. I hadto get prepared to go back to school. After two months, Iwent to Kigali and started studying. From where they wereliving to my school, there was a distance of 10 kilometers.I had to get up early in the morning in order not to be latebecause I had to go on foot. It was not easy on one hand,but on the other hand it was a good opportunity to achieveto what my mother had asked me to do. For me, I wishednot to ask any other favor from that family because givingme the accommodation was some thing very great. But I 70
  • Love Above Allwas mistaken because there were things that were necessaryin life. My greatest problem was finding clothes. I startedlooking for some small temporary jobs in town. Rememberthat I had some knowledge in electricity. This contributedto my failures because once I got a temporary job I had tofinish it first before I went back to school. I could sometimesattend school only twice a week. 71
  • Theobard,His wife and I 72
  • Chapter Eleven:PLEASE, TELL ME WHERE MY MOTHER ISAfter RPF had stopped the gen he genocide it set the Government nocidof Unity of Rwandans. Am Among it priorities, it had to burry mong itsdead bodies of Tutsis that w spread everywhere in the s at werecountry. It was easy to bu those who were killed at one sy t burryplace like in sta ums, churches, schools and other public n stadiums,places. A very big p problem was to know where those who werekilled one by one in bushes, forests, banana plantations and on y on neelsewhere. To fin and burry them was a serious problem. here. o find .Many killers had fled to the DRC, former Zaire, and those lHutus who were still in the country didn’t want to showwhere Tutsis were buried.In my opinion, they were afraid ofbeing accused to have killed these persons. There are someTutsis, survivors of genocide, who didn’t find dead bodiesof theirs to be buried in the respect and honor that a persondeserves. For me I thought it would be easy to find mygrandfather and my mother because I knew their deaths andthe place where they were killed. When our administrativesector was preparing to bury Tutsis who were killed, I also 73
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanadecided to bury members of my family. We were in holidays.I knew that my grandfather was put in a pit latrine buteven if I knew the place where my mother was killed, Ididn’t know where she was buried. I started asking people.I thought it would be easy because she was killed in theroad where many people lived but it wasn’t the case. I triedto ask Hutus who were living there and they showed me abig banana plantation and didn’t show me the exact place.Together with other children, genocide survivors, we starteddigging in that banana plantation to see if we could find her.It was hard because it was just digging without kno knowing theexact place. We spent there three days digging and w g an withoutsuccess yet it was about time of the burial ce urial ceremony. Idecided to give up and go to find my gra d y grandfather in thepit latrine where he was thrown. H Hutu who were living Hutusthere came to help us. It was a dee la deep latrine that we found eephim in twelve meters deep. I was s p. w sitting near the pit. Evenif I knew that he was already de but I really wanted to eady dead lresee him again. I thought onl seeing his dead body would ght only trelieve me. I kept on appro approaching the pit to have a look butthey would tell me not to approach to avoid dirty mud from ellthat pit latrine. I w there with the same children, survivors atrine. was trine.of genocide, pe oci e, peop of that place and two old Hutu women ide, peoplewho used to pr with my grandfather. We heard from d o praythe pit people asking their colleagues to pay attention not eo lto break his bones because they had already reached him.I immediately approached the pit to see. They held me intheir arms to comfort me. One among those who were in thepit found books and he said that he might have been killedreading books. I told them to throw those books up. Theywere two: The Holy Bible and A Christian Book. Papers werealready spoiled but back covers were still fine. After a whilethey also found his rosary in his hands. One of these two oldwomen they used to pray together told them to leave it in his 74
  • Love Above Allhands. They took him out of the pit, and to say the truth,it was only bones in clothes. His knees were bent, his twoarms were together and his hands were holding the rosary. Iwas unable to say any words only tears were down pouring.I took the rosary, wrapped it in a handkerchief and gave itto one of these two old women asking her to pray for himbecause he was their friend. Immediately, a young boy camerunning and told us to hurry because they were waiting forus in order for the burial to start. We put his clothes apartand his bones in a bag then we went to join others where theceremony had to take place. My grandfather was th oldest as th theamong 900 people who were buried that day beca he was y because cause82 years old. It was an important action for me and I felt mrelieved but still the fact that I had not fou my mother ot foundwas another problem.When my holidays were over, I wen back to Kigali to go on ver, wentwith my studies. At school there was someone who worked ool olin the headmaster’s office and h looked like someone I knew e hebut couldn’t remember who and where I could have seen him. berI approached hi and told him that he resembles someone d himI knew but whom I couldn’t remember. He asked me where ut who tI came fr m an w from and when I told him that I was from KIBUYE romhe laughed an t me that he had never been in KIBUYE ghed and told ed ndeven a single day. He added that he was born in Kigali and nghe lived in a place called GIKONDO. Saying that he livedin GIKONDO I immediately remembered him becausehe was my uncle’s neighbor. My uncle was even his son’sspiritual father. I told him how I knew him and he asked meif I lived with my cousins. I told him that they were all killedand that no one survived. He told me that I was telling liesand he added that only Gerard, my uncle, and his youngestson TUTU died. He also told me that other children wereliving with their mother at a place called UMUMENA. I 75
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaasked him if he knew my elder brother because he was nolonger living with his cousins. He was living at his own. Heanswered that he knew him because he used to live at myuncle’s and he added that he was the first Tutsi to be killed inGIKONDO. He was killed the same night when the planeof the former President HABYARIMANA was fired. He waskilled near his home at a place called MBURABUTUROnear a football playground. I told him how I learnt abouttheir deaths and he also told me the right place where I couldfind my cousins. I didn’t sleep that night and the followingmorning I didn’t go to school.I got up early in the morning and went to see my cousins. I mwas very happy and curious to see them agai It was eight m again.years after the genocide knowing that th were all dead. that theyI didn’t have any problems to find th house because the the tother man had directed me well. They were all surprised wto see me and the mother asked me if my grandfather and er rmy mother were still alive. I t them about their deaths. I live told ve.spend the day there t e talkin to them and I went back home talkingin the evening. Sincerely speaking, I had gained something ng. ncerelgreat in my life bec because finding one of your family after thegenocide was a m de s miracle. eEvery holiday I had to go to KIBUYE to see if I could find lidwhere my mother was buried. I spent three years searchingwithout success and I had started losing hope of findingher. In 2004, I was with my colleagues, survivors of thegenocide; we took off our shirts and started digging in thebanana plantation I was talked about before. We startedat 8:00 am and stopped at 2:00 pm. We went home andagreed on meeting the following morning. On our waygoing home, a child came running and said that he wantedto talk to me. I listened to him and he told me that he 76
  • Love Above Allwanted to tell me where my mother was buried. He told methat he heard people saying that my mother was buried neara tree that was in that banana plantation. He was tellingme this secretly as if people who said that didn’t want thatI bury my mother in respect and honor that she deserves. Itold this to my colleagues and we immediately went back inthe banana plantation. The boy asked us not to reveal theone who told us this. We surrounded that tree and starteddigging. One of my colleagues dug twice and he exclaimedthat he had found her. Another one asked us to pay attention yjust not to spoil her bones. When people around th place nd th thatsaw us coming back, they also came to watch st ch stan standing inthe road. One of my colleagues approached an told me hed andnot to weep in front of these persons because they were not ecausthere because of love. I realized that he w right and tried at wasto retain my tears. We started pac ng her bones in a bag packing ackithat we had brought but we mis a bone of one of her legs. missed ssedI didn’t pay much attention to th because I had seen dogs io on thiseating dead bodies of Tuts e Tutsis even unburying those who were tsisnot properly buried. I thou d. thought it was the same case with mymother. I put th bag o my shoulders and we went home. I t the onhad to wait for the whole week because there was a collective ait itburial sch du scheduled to take place. To me a burial day was a cheduled ulemixture of happ re o h happiness and sadness. I remembered how mymother wa killed on one hand but also I can’t forget the wassorrow I had of not burying my mother in a respect that shedeserved as a mother. For me I had to thank God becauseI had found her. 77
  • My cousins and I. 78
  • Part ThreeA Way To Forgiving.I failed to find something that I can compare to genocide. caIt is an act full of extreme bitter bitterness and that is followed by rnesvery bad consequences. Af th genocide, there were too After the ftermany problems that resulte f resulted from it. The youth were much ltedaffected by these consequences than old people because old ons nsequepeople know ho to m w how manage life the way it comes. For us,young people geno eople ge ople genocide survivors, we faced hard times. Someof us were in o e n orp orpha orphanages; others like me were in host families.Most of us were traumatized being unable to accept what whappened to us. Some started using drugs, others became dstreet children and others lost the taste of life after knowingthat they were infected AIDS by Interahamwe who rapedthem during the Genocide. Apart from these problems, wealways met people who had planned to kill us even if theyfailed. The time even came when the government releasedsome of killers beginning by those who were under 14 yearsold followed by those who were very old. It was possible tomeet someone who had killed members of your family, whatwas not easy to bear. For me I had a very heavy burden in my 79
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaheart that my mother left me before they arrested her to bekilled. She asked me to help in my possibility whoever willneed my help. This was a very big problem for me. I evenconsider her words as my protecting Angels that God gaveme to prevent me from falling into the trap of hating thosewho hurt me in one way or another. To say the truth I wasa young student and I was not rich to help anybody. But Ihad learnt from my mother to be patient and to managelife the way it comes. I used this as a weapon to face allthese post genocide problems. I was also able to help some vivoof my friends. As I told you, young people survivors of thegenocide had very many problems but the most serious mowas to find someone whom we would tell our problems ourand what happened to us during the geno id Specialists genocide.in traumatism related problems say tha if a traumatized ay thatperson finds people from his fam t talk to; this helps family to milyhim because at least they knows th they listen to him/her now that wswith pity. The same if they talks to someone they share the hey yexperience of life; this als reli also relieves him/her. Most of young sopeople had this problem b blem because many were left alone or robthey were two a d bot having this traumatism caused by wo and bothhard times we w experiencing even after the genocide. mes es were werFor me I did experience this problem of traumatism didn’t idn’tbecause of d erent reasons: I had learnt from my mother diffto be patient and manage life the way it is, after the genocideI lived in families that liked to pray and I had also learntto pray and tell everything my God. Here I felt I could dosomething for my colleagues and friends. I used to listen totheir problems and advise them. This was at the origin ofmy election to be one of leaders of an association of youngsurvivors in the province of KIBUYE where I was in chargeof discipline. Here I had to listen and handle different seriousproblems. An example was a case of a young daughter who 80
  • Love Above Allwas the only one left in her family. After the genocide shewent to live at her aunt who had a husband who was a Hutu.Her cousin impregnated her. She was only eleven. Afterthis, the husband of her aunt decided to chase her from hishome. He did this as a way of protecting his son who wassaid to have impregnated this young girl because he mightbe jailed accused of rape. The girl went to live at one oldwoman who lived near the market. Her job was to sweep themarket in order to find food. After this girl gave birth shealso started doing the same job of sweeping the market. Sheleft school like that. Even if I was one of their leaders, I was eaddstill a student like many of them. They didn’t cons consider the ’t costrength of the problem and I didn’t know why th thought theyI could find a solution to that problem in o d to help the orderyoung girl. We were in holidays and I spe the whole week d spentthinking of what I could do to help th colleague of mine. I p this histhought of taking the case into cour to accuse the boy who courtshad impregnated her and his fat d father who had chased her. Ialso thought of how it hu g hurts growing without a father. I had urtsan experience so I fel pity of his children. I decided to talk felt ltto this girl to take the child back to his father that is at her o ta caunt’s and after I w d would find how to take her back to school.The girl accepted a I started to talk to her aunt. Here I was rl a pte andtrying to sho t show them consequences they would face if they s owwere taken into courts. They accepted to take the baby and enI also had to find a family that could host,e.g: Jeanette,theyoung girl I have been talking about. I asked someone calledDomina, also a genocide survivor, to take her at her house.She accepted then I started to find documents allowing herto go back to school. These documents had to allow her tostudy being supported by a government institution in chargeof helping poor genocide survivors commonly known asFARG. She started studying living at Domina. This is anexample of problems that were exposed to me by colleagues 81
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaor I would even hear about these from here and there. Allthese problems that I had to handle increased the hatred Ihad for those who participated in the genocide. But the onlything that saved me is that when the genocide was stopped,I lived in Christian families and I also had that gift ofmanaging life the way it is. The first old woman that we livedtogether was an Adventist who liked to pray and the secondfamily that took me back to school were members of theCatholic Church ”as I said before”. They liked to pray verymuch that every evening before we slept we had to gatherin order to sing and pray. They always prayed for m to bear or mewhat happened to me. Still I had not found an explexplanation exto why my family was killed and I hated all those who killed l thosemine and who had thought of hurting me W praying, g me. WithI knew that we had to live and wait for G ait God’s judgment. Iconsidered greeting or facing these pers hese persons as a big mistake. eWhen I was about to meet one of th I had to take another ne themway to avoid meeting him and fo me it was a way of trying m forto be innocent just because I avoided creating problems eca causeby uttering harsh wo to that person. To me this was a words ordsproblem because I had to change my program or be late ausbecause of takin another way. To him again he was always f taking aafraid an it wa and wasn’t possible for him to find an opportunity nd wasnto tell me wh h thought or ask for forgiveness. e what he hat 82
  • Chapter Thirteen: TRUE FORGIVENESSAs I grew up in ages I also grew up in t thoughts and I wasable to distinguish things important to me and to others portantfrom these which are not. I spend too much time thinking spendthat Hutus in general are kille I shared the same views killers. re kiwith many other survivors of my age. This was noticed in rvivorsconversations that we h among us. We used to say that heldall Hutus are the same, that they all killed and even the one mewho didn’t k w happy because of Tutsis’ death. We had dn’t kill was n’tsuch feelings bec eel s because of bad things we had witnessed. We lingssaw our fam i being killed in shocking manners, we saw families mibabies killed by their mothers who had husbands who wereTutsis, and here I can give you an example of that girl calledJeannette. Her mother was a Hutu and when the genocidestarted she told her husband and children to leave and jointheir relatives to mean INKOTANYI. She also told mehow her mother threw a baby that she was carrying on herback over the fence. Jeanette who was about five years oldtook that baby and started carrying her. The baby died onher back where she was hiding in the sorghum plantation. 83
  • Jean De Dieu MusabyimanaBecause she was also a baby, she didn’t know that the babywas dead. She realized this when she was already spoiledand started stinking.We saw husbands killing their wives because they wereTutsis, we saw children killing their mothers because theywere Tutsis and so many other bad acts that caused us tothink that all Hutus in general were bad. We didn’t evenattach much importance to some Hutus who helped usduring the genocide. Most of us were hidden or fed byHutus. Even after genocide there are Hutus who sh ho showed us hlove. I can give an example of the old woman Aan AD ADELINEwho received me immediately after the genocid and the genocideother family that took me back to school. O day, in a hool Onefamily in which I was living in Kigali, a b called Jean de gali, boyDieu (this is an older brother of Theobald, the one who took Theob e bame in Kigali) we slept together and he woke me up. I t was ether rlike 3:00 am. I was very anangry w him because I couldn’t ngry withunderstand why he would wak me up at that time. I sat on uld wake ldmy bed and he started apologizing because he had woken arte ap edme up. He told me tha he was going to tell me things that old e thathe had in his heart since he knew me. He told me that he n hear hknew we th m family was killed during the genocide well that my ell hatand I was the on one left. He said that even if we had very s e onlygood relationship that he was ashamed to hear that Hutus atikilled Tutsis. He said that he had to apologize just becausehis ethnic group did such bad things. To me these were veryhard words and I consider this action as great courage; briefit is total humanity. This helped me to start understandingthat the problem was not the ethnicity itself instead theproblem was individuals’ understanding. Whether youare a Hutu or Tutsi, black or white, Christian or Muslimwithout bearing in mind what you are, you can have goodor bad ideas. All these depend on the way people understand 84
  • Love Above Allthings. That is why you will find people of all kinds in allcategories of people. Here I had reached another step: hatingHutus who took active involvement in the Genocide andloving those who didn’t participate in the it.A Good Word Is As Good As GodA “word ” is something precious though many peopleconsider “actions” more valuable than words. Nevertheless,“words” pave the way of “actions”. A bad word predeterminesa bad action whilst a good word leads to a good ac d action.A man named BAGOSORA was once a very hig military highofficial in the second Rwandan Republic, the same one publicgovernment that organized genocide p cide perpetrated againstTutsis. Once he was from the pe e accord between his e peace eacgovernment and the Rwanda Pat wanda Patriotic Front (RPF), he adeclared: “I am returning to R ng g Rwanda to prepare for theApocalypse”Currently, gen de r genocide researchers have so far consideredBAGOSORA as th chief visionary of the genocide despite ORA a thethe fact t at he d not use any machetes to slaughter any t that didTutsis or use hi gun as a high military official to shoot e hissomebody for being a Tutsi. However, due to his speech yand that of his fellow leaders, more than one million (1M)Tutsis were exterminated. This demonstrates the potency ofa bad word.Bearing this in mind, it is evident that consequences of a badword are far dissimilar to impacts of a good one as statedearlier. It is also true that the evil is more quickly spreadthan the good though the latter prevail over the former. Thisis why each and every person, either a leader or a normal 85
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanacitizen, should always strive to use words that value themand inspire their community. I know the worth of a goodword for the reason that I read it or heard it or else becauseit was addressed to me.I have been on the forgiving process for long and besidesthe word of God that helped me out in that long journey,good speeches of late or live individuals played a significantrole. Sometimes, I could think I was born in a bad countryand my problems derived directly from it. Nevertheless, thespeech of the former US president John Fitzgerald K ald Kennedy daroused my attention to consider my country: „A not ntry: „Ask y:what your country can do for you -- Ask what y can do what youfor your country“ This speech undoubtedly put me up in btedlthe aforesaid process. Furthermore, Des e, Desmond Tutu’s bookentitled “No future without forgiveness” has truly inspired rgive ess veneand encouraged me in the long flong forgiving process. Theseinspirations were finally comple y ccomplemented by two cheeringspeeches that often told me th I am “the hope of my country” d m thatand that I am the “seed of h see eed hope”You Are The Hop Of Future Rwanda H HopeWhen I got in RT go n RTUC (Rwanda Tourism University College)where I had to continue my studies, only after three months adI thought of beginning an association of students survivorsof the genocide against Tutsis commonly known in Frenchas AERG (Association des Etudiants Rescapes du Genocide).This was an already existing association in other schools andhigher institutions of learning but our college was still newand it hadn’t clubs that joined students yet. AERG is astrong institution well structured up to the national level.It has a national headquarters in charge of coordinatingactivities of all schools and universities throughout the 86
  • Love Above Allcountry. I was invited in many meetings on the nationallevel as a coordinator of the association in RTUC. We weresometimes even invited by the government to share viewson its policy of unity and reconciliation of its people. Eventoday the government of Rwanda keeps on showing thatyoung Rwandans survivors of the genocide have a greatrole to play in the reconciliation of Rwandans. I can givean example of a speech of His Excellence The President ofThe Republic of Rwanda Paul KAGAME, when he wasaddressing Rwandans and the whole world. It was on 07thApril 2009 when we were starting the mourning week on ingthe fifteenth time. He said that even if AERG is mad up of G m madechildren who faced hard times, they are well orga organized andhave a vision. He added that they had shown great patience hownand that they were the hope of Rwanda. wandadI think you all agree with me that when someone thanks hyou, it is also a way of assigning you with more tasks than ssi signingwhat you were supposed to d It means you have to work ed do. dharder than you used to. The fact that I was among those sed dwho were thanked m han d made me happy. But I also realizedthat I had some other tasks to assume that would help all ad d otRwandans in gene dan n g ns general. This gave me courage in the struggleI had started of forgiving those who killed my people. start d f rted 87
  • Fellow coordinators of AERG. Second from left is Me. ow 88
  • Love Above AllYou Are Seeds Of HopeOn 9th April 2009, IMBUTO FOUNDATION, that wascreated by the first lady Jeanette KAGAME, organized aworkshop for young survivors of the genocide from all overthe country. People invited were representatives of others. Iwas also invited to represent AERG/RTUC. We were about1000 persons. The theme for the workshop was “15 yearsand the Re-birth of a future generation.” The ceremonyto launch this workshop took place in SERENA HOTEL.The following are some of messages that were give in this givenworkshop: 1. Theodore SIMBURUDARI, the president of IBUKA (an association of survivo of genocide survivors against Tutsis.) said: “You, youn people who got You, young , the chance to survive th gen ive the genocide against Tutsis, he you have a very gre duty to assume. You are not great eat allowed to relax, you h ax, have to work harder than you may think because you have to accomplish hin bec nk your responsibilities and those of yours who were res nsibil killed and you have to be the light of survivors of illed a th genoci the genocide in general.” geno g 2. The pr president of UN ONE FAMILY RWANDA said: “Reconciliation does not replace RWWA remembering the past. It should instead help in avoiding this bad past to happen again. For me, I lay my hope in young survivors of the genocide against Tutsis reminding them to be able to take firm decisions aiming at their welfare. UN ONE FAMILY RWANDA agreed to work hand in hand with IMBUTO FOUNDATION in giving hope to this young people. I wish that truth, justice and forgiving build your country.” 89
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimana 3. Minister of Youth, Protais MITARI added: “Young survivors of the genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda have to be on top to lead other young people in the process of building the country and they can also change minds of old people characterized by the ideology of genocide. Remember that the President of the Republic thanked you. This should give you hope and confidence.” 4. Pastor Antoine RUTAYISIRE talked about “Recapturing a Dignity Lost” in these words: Being an orphan itself is not a problem; a oble problem is how you behave in this situ situation. tuati But also undergoing extreme animosity has so mosity many consequences like: • Loneliness • Not trusting others • Losing hope • Extreme melancholychooly • Losing interest in life t n • Losing faith. th.The most impo t importan among these things is losing faith. He importantalso told us a ld s abo two steps to overcome VICTMHOOD aboutwhich are: aree: • To recover wounds and putting down burdens of the past. • To have a vision: yours and the one of your country. Here he said that once you want to get your value back, first look at your vision, do things after behind and interests you intend to get.The following are 4 steps of a worthy life: 90
  • Love Above All • Desire • Decision • Discipline • DeterminationThe following are questions you should ask yourself: • What vision do I have for my life? • What am I doing to achieve it? • How is the country I would like to live in? • What am I doing for my dreams to bec become true? 5. Esther MUJAWAYO said: “it is true that you tr suffered very much but this is the right time his h to build yourself. If you are swimming in a u are swimming pool and you r y reach the bottom, is there anything else to do apart from going back lse se above the water? This means that you have faced r? the worst mo momen What is remaining is to moments. struggle for you best life.” ggle or your 6. The Fir Lady Jeanette KAGAME in a voice First fu of lo full o love and pity, she addressed us in a long speech full of advice. “When one looks at you, pe they finds in you many things which happened to you, but there is hope in you. It is even the reason why Imbuto Foundation chose to call you “Seeds of Hope.” These are what we wish you to do: • To rebuild in you hope that you are worthy persons. 91
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimana • To build in you powers every one of you on their own. • You must be seeds of tomorrow’s hope. • Keep on working hard in everything you do. • Those who study, study to succeed, avoid being thugs, thieves and prostitutes.I thank everybody with a good will to help you. We requestyou that we agree among us that you become our true Seedsof Hope. These are some of words that constituted the speechof the first lady Jeanette KAGAME on that day. At the end y. Aof that speech, almost everybody was about to we because o weep eepof emotions. This workshop lasted five days. ys.“You are the hope of future Rwanda” a d “You are seeds nd and da”of hope” These words deeply touched m heart and evicted uch d my hedmy thoughts about my hard and t ard and terrifying past. I used tothink that my country ow me much for taking away my owed wedfamily but since I heard those words I started thinking that dtI owe much to my cou country; that I have to prevent atrocities I untryhad experienced from h ced om happening to any other persons. Thiseffectively helped me in the forgiving process I had started ly helpe m yand I dec ded t s decided to spread it through writing. cideddWhen I t i to talk about unity and reconciliation triedof Rwandans with my friends, very few of them took itseriously; others seemed to accept just because they don’thave choice. Another group said that what was importantwas that Hutus accept that Tutsis are human beings andhave the right to live as Hutus also have that right. For methis is very possible especially because it is the policy of ourgovernment. It had even established laws punishing whoevercan hurt another just because of them identity; what isdifferent from situations in previous governments. But even 92
  • Love Above Allif things were like this, it would not be a way of setting freeminds and hearts of many Rwandans. Instead, it wouldbe a way of favoring selfishness. If things are like this, thedevelopment of the country will slow down and hatred willincrease among citizens and remember that it was the originof the genocide in which more than one million Tutsis werekilled in a very short period of time of 100 Days.Even if we suffered very much in our country, it doesn’tprevent us from loving it and wishing all the best to happenin this country. We must contribute to its development by eloppall means without anybody to force us, otherwise i would rwis it isebe like throwing a way the baby carrier that ca hat carried you or arrcutting a branch of a tree while sitting on it. I agree that g iany person should know that citizens of a given country not nsonly benefit from its good fruit but also share sufferings once ta alsothey are there. This is why each of us, in their possibility, hy eacchhas to do their best for the count to have peace. It is true he country ethat in countries like ours tha knew hard times of genocide urs that rsJustice is needed. Bu ab But above all, people have to ask forforgiveness on one ha and forgive on the other hand. n ne handTo me forgiveness does not replace justice, and justice does orgiveness rgivenenot exclude fo clu e forg ude forgiv forgiveness. Nothing replaces the other. Instead,both asking for forgiveness and forgiving help justice. It is askin f ingeasy to ask f forgiveness when you have killed by accident sk foror after fighting with someone trying to protect yourself.But I tell you, it is not easy for someone with hands full ofblood of innocent people to repent and ask for forgiveness.We have a very good example of someone called Judah inthe Bible. He was one of Jesus’ disciples. He liked moneyso much that he betrayed Jesus Christ knowing that he wasinnocent. He knew perfectly well that he had not committedany crimes. After Jesus’ death, Judah killed himself and I canassert that he knew about the love of God. It was possible for 93
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanahim to be forgiven. But due to the fact that he had betrayedan innocent person, his heart became like a stone and hechose to die. To me, if he had got an opportunity to meethis colleagues, disciples, they would have told him about hiscrime and he would have repented. And we are told that itwas a big loss to miss Judah among other disciples becausehe was a very good manager.May the genocide perish forever because it is an act fullof extreme animosity. It is even not easy for people whoparticipated in it to ask for forgiveness from the b he bottom oftheir heart because it requires courage. If they repe it is repent, ey rea way of escaping punishment. Chains lock up t ck p their heartswith two keys held by two different individuals. They and divid dtheir families that have the responsibility to convince them sibilityto ask for forgiveness hold the first key. The person who was first k y t keyhurt during the genocide holds the second one that is more oldssimportant than the first. This key is to forgive the killer andif necessary you do it face to f ce face. 94
  • First Lady h a girl in her hands, her left is Minister of holdCulture and Sports, her right is Minister of youth, together with young Genocide survivors. 95
  • FirstFirst Lady hugging two seeds of hope. 96
  • Love Above AllI Am More A Rwandan Than Being A Tutsi Or AHutu.(I am more a Rwandan than I am a Tutsi! I am more aRwandan than I am a Hutu!)These are my words and some of young people when I askedthem about the problem of ethnic groups after the genocide.I met some in parties and others in meetings. They are allaware of these groups but they don’t attach much importanceon them. They were all proud of being Rwandans than anddbeing named after their respective ethnic group One of groups. ups.them answered me very angrily in these words: “ ords: “What is thebenefit of being Tutsis apart from being orphans because of the g rphagenocide? I don’t say that ethnic groups do not exist, but it is oups da minor element far below being Rw nd in particular and g Rwandans wanhuman beings in general.” I also talked to another friend of lso talmine. His father died in th jail a the he accused to have participatedin the genocide. He told me this: “ Apart from the fact that old dour parents had dirtied our identity of Hutus, myself I do not rtie edfind any interest in being called a Hutu or a Tutsi. We should be estproud of being R f Rwa Rwandans sharing the same culture values andspeaking the sam l ng t e same language.” After listening to different viewsfrom youn p young peop I realized that the youth have not any ung people,problems of the genocide ideology. This problem is found ofamong old people who claim to be wise and they exist inboth sides of Hutus and Tutsis. When they are outside withothers they seem not to have any problems but when theyreach their homes they start teaching their children aboutthe bad side of Hutus or Tutsis. Such parents have to changebecause their weapons had already changed and they arenow firing peace, love and unity all towards the sustainabledevelopment of the country. Here by their weapons I meanus young people of today. We are far different from the 97
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanayouth used during the genocide to kill Tutsis and destroytheir native country. Why do such parents want to inheritus this hatred? We are now aware that such hatred causedyou to pour down blood of your brothers and sisters withwhom you shared citizenship, and now you are ashamedand uncomfortable to live with them again. These ethnicgroups you want to inherit us caused you to stay alone andwe also grew up being orphans. If you don’t want to changeand advise us to build a better country for your old ages,stay with your ethnicities and we young people are proud ofour Rwandan identity. But always remember that b things at badwill never prevail good ones.I hereby request all young people for workworking together in kithe struggle of building our motherland, l us unite because land, letunity is strength. Let us not listen to so of our bad parents en someomwho are still singing outdated songs let us give our strength ated songs;and knowledge to our beloved co elo oved country. If we want a betterRwanda of tomorrow tha w can inherit our descendants, that we atwe better separate wi ba actions and words from some with badof our parents. Some o them have that genocide ideology; ts. me ofeven some of th dare to tell their children that the policy me them eof our gov rn government of unity and reconciliation is a naked lie overnmen nmand cunnings of Tutsis. Some even say that they lack peace unni gs ningsof mind bebecause of Tutsis. This is true because those whocommitted crimes in hidings, they didn’t apologize and eventoday their hearts still accuse them. The Bible even says thatthere is no peace for a sinner who does not repent.Young people, survivors of the genocide, at least those whowere attending school, remember when Tutsis were asked tostand up or put up their hands. You remember how it washurting. You also remember that some of our parents had tochange their identities to become Hutus. You remember how 98
  • Love Above Allbad and afraid we felt when walking and you heard peoplesaying that you belonged to a given Tutsi family. This wascaused by nothing else but the hatred that the governmentin place at that time had taught its people. These days,sometimes you hear some of our parents saying many timesthat Hutus are bad and they did very bad things. Someof them even say that Hutus in general are the same andthat they can’t do anything good. They even forget thoseHutus who helped us in one way or another when we werein hard times of the genocide. Some of them even tell us tostop our friendship with our Hutu friends. They also hurt Theythese friends of ours with harsh words. I can gi you an n giveexample of one time when I was talking to two o my Hutu o offriends; we were talking about various topics. W opic When it cameto the problem of reconciliation of Rwand fRRwandans, one of themtold me what was in his heart in the words: “You know these eseperfectly well that you and oth yo d other young people survivors of herthe genocide are my friends but I am not happy to visit some nds dsof them especially those who h parents. This because one e w haveparent hurt me when I vi hen visited my colleague called Peter. enHe was born outside the country because his parents had n o ide tfled the country in 1959 and came back after the genocide. ountryWhen hi father entered in the sitting room, he asked his his the isson where I w from calling me a prince. (Remember that here was ekings were T re Tutsis). He didn’t greet me and went into hisbedroom. This showed me that he was trying to tell his sonthat he shouldn’t bring Hutus in his house. You know somejudge people’s ethnicities by the face and as you can see I ama very good model of Hutu. I tell you this shocked me thatI don’t want to visit any other family any more.” The otherone also told me how he heard the mother of one girl thatthey studied together telling her daughter that she shouldstop her affairs with a boy who was a Hutu otherwise noone would support her. I am saying this just to remind you 99
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanathat if we were not happy being called Tutsis before thegenocide, reminding our colleagues that they are Hutus alsohurt them. This doesn’t even help our country instead it is away of strengthening hatred that can cause divisionism andother bad things.Here I may say that at least parents who are inside thecountry are afraid of opposing the government policy ofreconciliation. A very big problem is found on the side ofRwandans living outside Rwanda. They are very far as hatingpeople they do not share the ethnic group is con concerned. Iwas surprised to hear that a Tutsi artist can organize a show rgan nizeand Hutus do not attend it and once a Hutu o organizes itTutsis do not attend it. Rwandan youth livin abroad should livingseparate with their parents full of the G f the Genocide ideology.They should know that they have to st shaping Rwanda ave startof tomorrow. We should j in o s join our strengths to build unityand integrity all based on a stron foundation of love. n strongWe should understand that these parents are very soon passing and daway and we ar the o e are he ones who will suffer consequences ofthe seeds of hatred they will have sowed in us. It is a must s hatfor us to be st o b strong on this struggle trying even to show them trothat it is not good of them to inherit us bad things they n t golived. I don’t mean that we should forget difficult times of onthe genocide we knew; let this history help us to prepare ourfuture trying to promote good things over bad ones. I knowwe have wounds of different kinds but sorrow is an enemy todevelopment we decided to achieve. The only treatment tosorrow, my dear friends, is nothing else but sinners to repentand ask for forgiveness and the one who experienced hardtimes learns to forgive. This should become a culture fromwhat we consider as the smallest to the biggest mistake orsin like genocide. Even if I am saying this I know that it is 100
  • Love Above Allnot easy for everybody, but let us have love before any otherthing because love will help us to succeed. We should alsoknow those who are weak for us to help them.Forgiving Face To Face.After deciding to find those who killed my family or whohurt me in one way or another during the genocide againstTutsis, I was wondering how they would take this after 15years without talking to someone. The last time to meetsome of these were when they were trying to hurt me and hurtthen we were going to meet telling them I ha f ad had forgiven hinkinthem, yet they had not apologized. I was thinking that theymight consider this as a way of cunning. I was afraid that ng.this would be a way of increasing their sh h their shame of what theydid and this would cause them to hate themselves and hate hateme more than ever before. I was afra of being killed again. was afraidI had two consciousnesses. One forcing me to do it and se es.another one to leave that idea of forgiving. Apart from this, hattsome of my friends tri to convince me telling me that what tried iedI was about to do was total foolishness. They added that itwas a way of no g ay not giving the true value to my killed family. yI was alre dy c already con eady convinced to do it mostly after reading what ythe Bible says th we should forgive. This also goes in the ble s ys thatsame line with our country’s policy. e wiThe first thing I did was to find their cell phone numbersand I talked to them on the telephone one by one. Thefirst one I talked to was someone called Aloys. Before thegenocide, he was a singer in the main choir at our church.His wife trained our children’s choir. But remember he wasthe first to tell me that I would inform my mother that wehad to flee otherwise he would kill us. The conversation weheld was short and was like this: 101
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimana • Allo, How are you Aloys. You are talking to Jado. • I am fine, how are you? Who is this Jado I am talking to? • The one who was called SEDEDE (my childhood nickname)After knowing me, his voice changed and started talking assomeone afraid. • Ehh,I remember you, how are you ? • I am fine and I praise the Lord. I call yo just you to let you know that I have forgive you even if rgive you didn’t apologize after planni to kill my planning family and me. • Is it true that you had forgi forgiven me? Is there any f chance of me to m you and apologize? meet yo • I had already forgiven you, instead try to find forrgive others you hu the you ask for forgiveness and hurt then urt do not forget to repent before Lord Almighty. ot get • Please allow me to talk to you face to face. lease aallo • I accept and I will try to make it possible. cc a cep • Thank you very much. an y nk • Gr Greet your wife and children.After talking to him, I talked to Faustin the one who wasour neighbor and who was present when my grandfatherwas killed. He was even the one who found the booklet thattalked about RPF principles when they were taking thingsfrom our house. He was also the one who once said that Iwas hiding at Murenzi’s that I had to be killed. We heldthe same conversation as the previous one and we ended up 102
  • Love Above Allalso asking to meet face to face for him to apologize and Iaccepted.I tried to find cell phone numbers of those who killed mymother but I didn’t succeed. They had all fled to The Congoafter genocide against Tutsis. Only one called Fidele hadcome back but he also fled justice. People told me that hehad left a wife and one child and the wife died leaving thechild who was then being raised by his paternal aunts. Ifelt pity of that innocent child when I remembered howI grew up orphan. I was curious to see this child to see if hild dI could do anything to help him. I decided to le d leave theplace where I was studying in Kigali and go to Kibuye nd gowhere we lived before genocide. It is a di distance of about150 kilometers because it is two h urs and a half in the hoursbus. When I arrived in Rubengera I sp the night in one gera spent afamily of Tutsis, survivors of geno s g genocide. I called Aloys andFaustin to tell them that I was in Rubengera that I wished tto meet them. They bot tol me that they would meet both told thme the following day in t ay that family where I was staying.When the time came to hold the conversation, they both me ameseemed to be afraid. I tried to show them that I didn’t have o a afraiany bad intention to harm them. They still doubted about d i tentimy forgiveness. They started believing in me and told me rgive ess. venehow they w relieved after that conversation. They told y wereme that they wished not meet me before. They were alwaysafraid they even thought I would do something just to takemy revenge on them. They didn’t understand how I couldforgive them when they hadn’t apologized. I told them thatthe fact that I had forgiven them didn’t prevent them fromapologizing to others they had harmed. I showed them thatthey hadn’t to wait for people to forgive them when theyhad not apologized. They had to be the first to ask forpardon. We separated each of them being happy and they 103
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanarequested me to visit them in their families. The followingday I went into Fidele’s family who was one among thosewho killed my mother after raping her. I told you he hadfled justice and his wife had died. Their child was at his auntwhere I met him. I talked to them and I told them that Iwas there to tell them that I had forgiven their brother whokilled my mother. They were very surprised to see someonecoming to them with such an aim of forgiving. I told themthat I was willing to help that child as I could. They toldme that he was seven years old but I was very sorry to hear ythat her mother infected her with HIV/AIDS wh giving when hbirth to her. When I held Elyse in my hands, I im immediately mmremembered my mom persistently begging Elyse father to g Elyse’sforgive her and instead he slashed her with a machete andspit in her face. I immediately remembered E mbered Elyse’s father andhis fellow Hutus making my mom w a long way to the m wawalkplace where they killed her. While rememorizing all this, er. WElyse asked her aunt “Mom, wh this man?” It is evident Mom who’s om,that Elyse thought her aunt was her mother she was too er ayoung to know about her m out t mother’s death. “He is our guest”her aunt told h Ely turned and stared at me asking d her. Elyse“What’s your namn name?”“I’m Jado, I kn you’re called Elyse” do k o, know“Who told you I Elyse?” ld yo I’m“Your mom”om”“Uuhm, your mom, where’s she?”“She passed away”“Oh, is she in heaven then?”“Yea, we also will be there”I felt shocked but kept strong not to cry. I kept meditatingon the child’s lovely words and my heart settled down. Loveovercame hatred. 104
  • Elyse in my hands at his aunts home. 105
  • Chapter Fourteen: PLEASE, BREAK OUT SELFISHNESSFor ones people who believe in God we know perfectly well ve GGod,that love is above all. We are ev told that God Himself evenis Love and His commandments are summarized in love: mandm“ Love your Lord wi al your heart and love others the with allway you love yo self.” God asks us to love others the way e yourself.”we love ourselves but if at least every body loved others a ourselvehalf of th l f the love they likes themself, this world would be he tsafe and free of a kinds of bad things. These days, people nd fr allare dividing themselves into groups and this limits the loveamong them. People should know that they have a greatvalue because they live on the earth of human beings andwe should also love others because they are human beings.At this level we love each other 100% but the problem isthat people before they are human beings, they considerthemselves as Africans, Americans, Europeans, Asians orAustralians. At this level we love each other at a percentageof 70%. People who fight for interests of their respectivecontinents are very much admired and are sometimes called 107
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaheroes because of this love they love their people. Herethey don’t remember that a continent is a small part of theearth. For those who believe in God and who read religiousbooks, you will not find anywhere that God created a givencontinent. We are told that God created the earth and puta man in it. We are not told that God created America andput there an American or He created Africa and put therean African and so on. This is to show us the importancethat God gives to the earth and we human beings we onlytake into consideration the part of land on which we live asa result of lack of enough love.As love decreases in human beings, they also de decrease thearea of love. From belonging to a given conti continent, to a givencountry, and there then love is at the level of 50%. Here I do he lnot mean that people do not love their c ve th countries, the person theirI am talking about is the one who does not love and givevalue to other people who are no citizens of their country. ho o notThe more love decreases, the more people increase loving ses, s,themselves and hating oth atin others. When love is at this level, ngwhen we hear w rs he and there and the human being ar wars heresuffers. One wh k a great number of people is rewarded ne who killsand he is called a hero. alledLove for oone’s country also finishes at a given point andpeople consider the color of their skins or their ethnic group.Here he thinks they should only love black people, whitepeople and so on. love is on the level of 40%. Among peoplewho share the color of skins, the time comes when you startseeing that they also belong to different ethnic groups. Andstart only loving those they thinks they share the ethnicgroup. love is on 30%. It is at this level that we hear aboutcivil wars among ethnic groups or one ethnic group hates 108
  • Love Above Allthe other wishing to exterminate it as the case of genocideagainst Tutsis that happened in Rwanda in 1994.It doesn’t stop there; instead the time comes when peoplestop loving their ethnic groups and start loving only theirfamilies. Here love is 20%. The last step, which is the worstone, is when people do even not love their families insteadthey love themselves. Here people no longer have the sense ofhumanity. They are at the level of hating even their children,wives or husbands, and parents. They are considered asbeing in jails and their love is 0%. Here they also hate eythemselves and it ends up by killing themselves wh is the ves w whatresult of people continuing to love themselves. H I want elves. Hereto emphasize that it is good to love one’s con i s continent, country,ethnic group, family even ourselves. But the great problem s his when people start thinking that out at outside; there is no lifeand you start thinking that person or things outside your at personsgroup do not value.It is clear that lacking lo is a very serious disease for cki love ingindividuals in p icula and for families in general especially n particularbecause it is fol t follow by different crimes against humanity followedaccording to levels of lives of individuals. ing lev g levelIn Rwanda, in 1994, there was a group of few persons who da ihad reached a level to like themselves together with theirfamilies. They considered their ethnic group superior toother groups. Were used to kill Tutsis even Hutus whoseemed not to agree with them. Here the ethnicity became aweapon of that group of people who wanted to kill others. Itis clear that lack of love goes together with people consideringthemselves superior and they also think that other people areagainst their welfare. When it becomes like this, the nextstep is to find ways to eliminate these people. Examples are 109
  • Jean De Dieu MusabyimanaNazis when they decided to eliminate Jews and in Rwandawhen the group of some Hutus started convincing otherHutus that if they kill Tutsis they will get rich. This is evenfound in their songs during the genocide where they saidthat when Tutsis are killed, Hutus would live in peace. Theyeven called Hutus to kill Tutsis because the world and itscontent were for Hutus. But I am telling you, consideringyourself superior to others, this is one step before you getlowered.Even if this disease of lacking love for human b an beings isfollowed by crimes against humanity, it is eas to treat easy asyit once it was discovered early especially beca because it is not ausdifficult to find its symptoms. Individuals’ d uals’ deeds will showthem. People do not take this problem of lacking love and blem ofwhen you find a brother or a ne hb characterized by neighbor eighdeeds of lacking love, you seem not to be concerned. Those mwho are quickly take decision sta to leave them and their cis sion startfriends also abandon them. B doing this, they forget that hem By em.once you abandon a friend you gain an enemy and the more fyour enemies a many the more problems become many. s areThere is even a Rw ven Rwandan saying which says that instead ofkilling so eo be someone because he did something wrong, you better omeone onekill what caus him to do what he did. It is easy for people hat c used causedto say, “Forgive me” but it is a big problem to say, “I forgive For iyou” The reason is that the human nature always wants goodthings and once it has got them it does not wish anybody toget them. They become like little children. When you givethem two candies and after a while ask them to give youone they after a while, hide the arm holding these candiesin the back. People tend to forgive only minor mistakesor crimes but as the crimes become strong it also becomeshard to forgive. Imagine when it comes to extreme crimesagainst humanity like genocide; once you have the idea to 110
  • Love Above Allforgive such a crime, sometimes people take you as havingpsychological problems or they say it is a way of not givingthe value to the member of the family killed during thegenocide. We forget that we reap what we sowed. Onceyou forgive less, you will also have less happiness from thatand once you forgive abundantly, you will get plentifulhappiness.When I was talking to people who tried to kill me and whoeven killed the members of my family during the g genocide,they told me that I had given them humanity b y back, thatI took them from the grave. Before talking to the they g themwished not to meet me and they considered me a their first d asenemy. They added that I had built in them the sense of n thelove again. I assert that in many parts of this world, many arts ofpeople lived in this extreme hatred, a there is nothing atre and red,good except slowing down the deve he development that everybodytargets to achieve and bringing deaths. The only solution briingingto this problem is TO A K FOR FORGIVENESS and O ASKFORGIVE, and all these b lt based on true Love.We should also re uldd remember that to ask for forgiveness andto forgive are t give are two different things. Most of the time it is vebetween two individuals: the one who did the crime and en t o indthe one to wh the crime was done. The one who asks for o whomforgiveness and the one who forgives should do this withoutwaiting their colleague to do something. This concerns morethe one who is asked to forgive because most of the time theywaits to be asked for forgiveness for them to decide to forgiveor not. He also think that forgiving is their right but we aretold to forgive our colleagues for us also to be forgiven oursins by our God who is in the heaven.But also people should know that when you ask for forgiveness 111
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanathis gives strength the one to whom the crime was doneto forgive you. It is therefore good to ask for forgivenesswhenever there is a mistake; from minor mistakes to strongcrimes like genocide. Many people do not know how toapologize and most of the time they find they have usedharsh words that also wound again the one they were askingpardon. Asking for forgiveness is an important action thatneeds to be thought of before it is done.How can one apologize?We all know what to apologize is. Apologize ca b done e can be anin speech as it can be in actions which are observed after ob bsesomeone has done or said something taken a a mistake or a ken assin. The utmost aim of someone apologizing must be giving o ogiziback value and respect to the pers n w was affected by person who rsonthe mistake or sin. (speech or actio h a action).Sating « I am sorry» is one simple way of apologize butthis has to be followed by good actions which will prove ow wedthat this was d done from the bottom of the heart of the oneapologizing. ing. ng.Even if th sent f this sentence is simple and short, it is not easy for hiseverybody to utter it. Again one has to pay attention before yuttering such a sentence.Steps of apologizing Accepting the mistakeMost of the time people are quick to make mistakes andsome may do so without knowing. People do realize this laterbecause of their consciousness or after seeing consequences 112
  • Love Above Allaffecting someone to whom the mistake was done. Peoplecan also realize their mistakes. In either way, once you realizethat you have made a mistake, you have to accept it. This isthe first step if you want to apologize. Accepting the consequences of the mistakeOnce you have decided to apologize, you have to acceptwhat you did. An example, is found in trial of those whoparticipated in the genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda. Somepeople were saying « I apologize to those, I hurt a to my rt and rnmmencountry but I was obliged to kill by the government».This is not apologizing at all. It would b better if you uld besaid this as testimony where you show y show your responsibilityin the mistake and denouncing othe who were involved g ot ers otherswhile making that mistake. But as far as your speech ake.aims at decreasing the pow of your mistake, you are not power werapologizing; instead you are showing your innocence. It is ou ugood to accept your respon ur r responsibility in a mistake if you reallywant to apologize. ogi Accept th it is possible or impossible to be ce t that ept forgiven rgiv ivenTo those who believe in God, we know that we are asked toforgives every time people make mistakes to us. We have toremember that it is not the case here in the world. Forgivingis the right of the person. He may choose to forgive or not.We have also to remember that being forgiven does notprevent the laws from punishing you. But accepting themistake can alleviate the punishment you receive. All thesemean that once you are aware that apologizing does not 113
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanamean being forgiven, this will help you to accept what willhappen to you even you are punished. Choosing the right time to apologizeIt is good to apologize immediately after realizing themistake you make. This is because if you apologize afterconsequences are already there, people may think that youare apologize for fear of punishments. So while apologizethe sooner is the better. Choosing ways of apologizingIt is clear that ways of apologize differ depend on people dependinginvolved in this process. The way you apologize to your ybrother is different from the way you c do it to someone ay y u canelse. It is easy to approach a bro brother and apologize whatever othermistake you have make.Likewise, it is easy to apo y apologize to other person to whomyou make a sim le m simple mistake, but it is not easy at all toapologize when the is a great mistake. An example is when e theseyou have seriousl injured someone or if you have killed ave seriously e erriousomeone will ne w ling or by accident. In this case you first have willinglyto apologize in an indirect way. You can do this either by gizasking some members of integrity of your family to go andapologize for you, you can apologize through a letter orthrough a telephone. By doing all these, you have to behumble and apologize from the bottom of your heart. To show that you are really sorry for your mistakes and that you are willing to change.You can not do anything to show that you have changed but 114
  • Love Above Allcharity actions comprove this you also need to feel that youhave really changed and that you can’t do the same mistake.You can ask yourself what charity actions are and who mustbenefit from them.These are actions you do not to please yourself, to show thatyou know more that othors do or that here are things you cando that others can not do. Whether you are wealthy or pooryou can do these charity actions according to your socialand economic class. For example, you can visit someone youoffended, but you pay attention not to say or do so o somethingwhich can remind them what you did to them. Y can hem You m.attend a party that they organized, whether they i r they invited youor not. You can also commiserate with them once something hembad happened to them.It is much better if you do such cha o h charity actions to each andeverybody not limiting yoyourself to those you offended that ourselfyou want to be their new fri ew friend. Tell them that you willdo your best to avoid wha oid whatever that can separate you from dthem again. Rem nd th that you are a human being make Remind themmistakes that may not an angel. Tell them that you may s mmake some m some mi me mista mistakes especially because we all sin even, ifwe want to do w is good. nt d whatWhat does the word of God say about forgiving?Forgiving is not an easy task. We always ask ourselves manyquestions about forgiving: Is forgiveness a conscious choice? Is it a physical action involving willingness? Is it a feeling or an emotional state of a human being? 115
  • Jean De Dieu MusabyimanaIn my opinion, there is a relationship between forgivingand being patient. You can not forgive without patience inyou, and patience is one of seeds of love. We also have toremember that the word of God tells us that God himself islove. So there is relationship between the one who forgivesand God.Does God ask us to forgive?God asks us to forgive; he even tells us that if we don’tforgive, we will also not be forgiven. We have to d this just o doto obey his orders and if we don’t forgive, our pray will ur p prayersnot reach the heaven.When is it necessary to forgive?This questions involves two th wo things: what kind of mistake hingsshould be forgiven and wh shou be forgiven? The wholly ho who shouldscriptures state that the one wh will never be forgiven is the e on whoone who date to insult the Holy Spirit, that’s why no one is su ultallowed to sentence tha one because God does not have any nte e thatpolice agents no l gents nor laws experts in this world, instead people entsare responsible of themselves and they have to pay attention pon ib onsible blenot to bre Go commandments. Common crimes that break God’s eakare made h on earth can all be forgiven. I, in my opinion, herethink that the greatest crime is killing.Christians, we believe that Jesus came on earth to give usan example of how we should live in this world. Rememberwhen he was on the Cross, he prayed for those who werekilling him to be forgiven. When Jesus was in the world,he were a human body like ours. You wouldn’t be mistakenif you said that Jesus did all he did just because of Godlycharacters which were in him. The Bible tells us that he was 116
  • Love Above Allnot the only one who was able to forgive his killers. Someonecalled Steven when he was being killed with stones, heprayed and called God in these words, «God, forgive thembecause they don’t know what they are doing».Now , if it is possible to forgive while being killed, isn’t itpossible to forgive the one who killed your relatives?It is very possible even it is hard. It requires to pray and gask God to give you strength to accept bad things which givihappened to you. You also pray to have a forgiving heart houuldespecially when you have known why you should forgive.The only reason why people should forgive is to fo follow God’swillingness.As far as the one who should be fo e forgiven is concerned, it is forgiveverybody, without considering th they are a member of dering thatyour family, that you belong in t same ethnic group, that lon ng theyou have the same citizenship or you have the some skin ize i enshcolor, like forgiving does not have any limits, the same, ngthere is no specified number of times people should forgive. peci d nuMany people think that committing the same crime should eople th oplenot be fo iv or the punishment should be made strong. forgiven orgiven venThough being pu gh be ng punished and forgiven are two separate thingsbut they ca be done at the same time. You can ask yourself canhow possible this is. To illustrate, I have forgiven these whokilled members of my family even if they fled justice. Oncethey are arrested, laws governing my country will punishthem and this doesn’t mean that my forgiveness is nothingto them.This will help them to accept their punishment and I thinkit may give them strength to apologize before God andbefore other people they offended. So we should not have 117
  • Jean De Dieu Musabyimanaany limits or a number of times whiles forgiving. We allremember someone called Peter in the Bible. He asked Jesus,or how many times? Jesus told him, “Not only seven timesbut seventy seven times seven”This answer show forgiving should be part of our lives andit shows us how forgiving should be part of our lives and itshows us that it is not something easy for us to do. but evenif it is like that , we should know that it is something greatand important for our god.Who benefits from forgiving?Many people say that the one who is the o who benefits he onemost form forgiveness. This is not true in true instead both the onewho forgives and the one who is forg fo giv benefit from this forgivenact of forgiveness. Their friends and the society also benefit riends sfrom it.When two people hav pro have problems between themselves, many vepeople, their b hers and friends even the whole life of r brotherscountry can be affected. To give you an example, there isa friend of min w was touched because members of his d o mine whoethnic group pr gro p prepared and put into actions the genocide roupagainst Tut i This has been a burden for him until he wrote Tutsi.a book entitled “Their crime is a shame on me”. This meansthat the crime committed by this ethnic group made him tobe ashamed even if he is innocent and didn’t play any rolesin this genocide. I think once these killers are forgiven, hewill also feel relieved.Once there is forgiveness there is no more hatred amonghostile families. Instead people work hand in hand and thisaffects positively the life of a country. All this is to show you 118
  • Love Above Allthat forgiveness is something more valuable than the way wetake it. My wish for you is to forgive thanks to LOVE. 119