Editorial: Assumption Day rains could be put to good use

The perennial mystery did not disappoint. It rained on Assumption Day, as it always does ever since the apparition of the Virgin Mary in Kibeho in 1981. It is wildly believed by Roman Catholics that the rain is a sign from heaven and, on that day, pilgrims from all over the world flock to Kibeho in Southern Province with the expectations of witnessing some miracle.

The perennial mystery did not disappoint. It rained on Assumption Day, as it always does ever since the apparition of the Virgin Mary in Kibeho in 1981.

It is wildly believed by Roman Catholics that the rain is a sign from heaven and, on that day, pilgrims from all over the world flock to Kibeho in Southern Province with the expectations of witnessing some miracle.

Now the irony is this: One would expect that Kibeho and the people around it would be a symbol of religious fervor and merchants of peace.

One would have expected that it would be a haven of peace and refuge during the Genocide. In fact, many fled to the southern town of Butare to seek sanctuary. The respite was just two weeks and all hell broke loose.

It is an area that witnessed the worst killings, and the cruelest ones to boot. It is an area where the clergy took active part in the killings, even the Bishop who was based in Kibeho was not left out.

The annual pilgrimage attracts tens of thousands of people, it has become a tourism destination but it could be more. The government and other stakeholders should take advantage to send a message to the clergy: You messed up in the past, use this opportunity to atone by preaching love and forgiveness.

In fact, religious organisations could go a step further and build a peace centre at the very place they broke their vows; maybe the Assumption Day rains could be a sign of blessings from above.

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