Time for Christians to reflect on Genocide against the Tutsi

In the Christian world it is widely believed that Christ died on the cross so that we may all be forgiven of our sins.  Over this weekend we celebrated Easter, remembering the death of Jesus Christ and how it symbolises the forgiveness of our sins. However, as the rest of the world celebrated Easter, Rwandans were reflecting on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. They remembered loved ones who died during the 100 day massacres in which over a million died.

In the Christian world it is widely believed that Christ died on the cross so that we may all be forgiven of our sins.

Over this weekend we celebrated Easter, remembering the death of Jesus Christ and how it symbolises the forgiveness of our sins.

However, as the rest of the world celebrated Easter, Rwandans were reflecting on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

They remembered loved ones who died during the 100 day massacres in which over a million died.

A million people might sound like just a static; but it is a figure that encompasses someone’s, friend, uncle, aunt, sister, brother, father or mother.

The brutal reality being that each of the surviving targeted Tutsi lost at least a relative.

At different memorial sites those who lost loved ones during the Genocide, made prayers and placed fresh flowers on the mass graves in remembrance.

Old wounds opened as people remembered the gory details of that mass murder, meant to annihilate a whole section of society.

Memories flashed back to the dark days, when man became beast thirsting for the flesh and blood of another.

Tears flowed as each relative remembered the dark days, the trauma visible on faces.

Remembering the carnage at roadblocks, in schools, in the church anywhere and everywhere, there were killings with much blood spilt.

Others have aptly referred to Rwanda as one big grave-yard, for no place was spared in the hardhearted slaughter of innocent citizens.

The killers were evil and brutal in their mission to extinguish the Tutsi, but many on the frontline of this cause were men and women of cloth.

God’s ambassadors temporarily forgot their mission on earth, as they joined the devils bandwagon in the killings.

As Christians bow their heads in prayer, remembering the values that Jesus Christ stood for, they have to be reminded that the open wounds in Rwanda today, are as much about the failure of our humanity to save lives, in as much as they are about the failure of Christians to rise to Christ’s calling.

Men in cloth led the innocent to slaughter. Glaring evidence is at Nyamata, Ntarama and Nyarubuye where thousands were slaughtered under the silent guidance and watchful eye of the Men of God.

Among the men of cloth who broke the fifth amendment are Athanase Seromba, who was sentenced to life by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Then there is Wenceslas Munyeshaka who was sentenced in absentia by the military tribunal, but is still practicing his faith in France.

That the Christian world let down the people of Rwanda is visible for all to see.

The values that Christians stand for of love, caring, sacrifice and forgiveness were all violated, denting the image of the church.

When young children raised their hands crying out for mercy, Christians stood by watching their merciless slaughter.

When pregnant women cried out for mercy, Christians stood by and watched as they were bayoneted first to kill the Tutsi descendent they carried then the mother who would inevitably die too. 

The Christian faith also preaches forgiveness, much of what many of the survivors of the Genocide have painstakingly done, the question remains, is the Church ready to plead for forgiveness for its role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi?

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