The gift of forgiveness is divine

Editor, I have been amazed and baffled by the strength and will to live and thrive the survivors of the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda have shown the past 16 years and continue to show.

Editor,

I have been amazed and baffled by the strength and will to live and thrive the survivors of the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda have shown the past 16 years and continue to show.

Year in, year out I listen to testimonies of survivors who went trough unimaginable and debilitating suffering, and yet are functioning members of our society and are forgiving those who perpetrated these crimes.

This super human ability to forgive those who tried to de-humanize them even in death, and killed their family members in the worst way possible is almost impossible to comprehend. 

I wonder if this wouldn’t be the reason why some Westerners don’t believe that these atrocities were committed in the way they were committed, and tend to listen to, and believe the genocide deniers simply because they can’t bring themselves to understand that someone who went through so much suffering can forgive the person responsible for his/her suffering.

To forgive has two meanings; the first meaning is to “excuse somebody for a mistake, misunderstanding, wrongdoing or inappropriate behaviour.” To excuse means to release somebody from blame.

If this is the forgiveness the survivors have to give, I wonder how many of those who took part in the killings should be released from blame. 

Wouldn’t this be too much to ask of people who have already suffered greatly?  Those who committed the Genocide and/or participated in it in anyway should understand that Genocide can never and should never be excused.

The other definition of forgiving is to “stop being angry about or resenting somebody or somebody’s behaviour or acts.” 

Resentment and anger is detrimental to the victim. No one will ever claim that he/she lives a healthy life if they are always angry or resentful. 

I would wish all the survivors to forgive, not in releasing the genocide perpetrates from blame, but by stopping being angry at those who committed atrocities to them and start living.

What has been taken, can never be given back; anger and resentment will only keep us in shackles. Forgive to start living.

Kimironko Kigali
alain@asyv.org

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