Letters to Rose

Once again, Rose, the thought of your arrest is pushing me into a deep reflection.  As I mentioned in my last letter, I came in contact with the Rwandan people in 1980 and became immediately drawn to the predicament of the exiles who were living in Belgium in exile, some since the early sixties. 

Once again, Rose, the thought of your arrest is pushing me into a deep reflection.  As I mentioned in my last letter, I came in contact with the Rwandan people in 1980 and became immediately drawn to the predicament of the exiles who were living in Belgium in exile, some since the early sixties. 

You could meet a Rwandan and no matter what news was under discussion that day around the world; ten minutes later you would be immersed in the subject of the fact that they were refugees and had been refugees for nigh on thirty years. 

One of my best friends, Rosalie Mukamutara, the talented dancer and choreographer for the cultural troupe Isamaza,  had her old mother living in Mumena, Nyamirambo, during that time and she used to tell me how painful it was never to be able to go to see her as she feared for her life if she did. 

The section of the oppressed society who had remained in the country were hanging on to their lives by the skin of their teeth, barely tolerated, but if you came back from outside, then that was it, you got bumped off, end of story.

Little by little I came into contact with the whole the community and became so fascinated by the story that I wrote the first song called “Lament For Rwanda”, in 1987.

Being Irish it was not too difficult to be fascinated and attracted by this cause.  I assisted conferences whereby delegates were sent to the United Nations Headquarters, over the years, to plead their cause. 

They always sent two men and one woman, which I particularly liked, being partial to the empowerment of women. These pleas for intervention fell on barren ground and subsequently led to their organizing themselves and crossing over the border into Rwanda on October 1, 1990.

Of course, you know all this Rose, as you were part of that struggle, I’m just filling in with my side of the story and how I became so involved, and would say, devoted to your cause. 
During the four years of the struggle I was part of the fund raisings organized by the Diaspora. 

I followed the maneuverings of Habyarimana and his clique during that period up to April 1994.  How many times did he not show up, forever trying to avoid and delay the real issue, the hope and then continual disappointment of the Diaspora as the negotiations slithered into chaos? 

I lived the 1994 genocide with them while they watched in horror as the world stood by and let the massacres happen. I was part of the protest against Turquoise staged in tents outside the French Embassy in Brussels during the month of July which lasted 37 days before the Belgian authorities had the guts to remove them. 

I walked across the border at Gatuna on November 19, 1994 to finally touch the soil of my already beloved Rwanda. 
Being someone who spends the greater part of her time in reflection, it is not surprising that since my arrival in this country I have been dwelling upon the hate that drove the extremists to commit this genocide.

I have been reflecting on the phenomenon of hate itself and how it manifests itself in human behavior.  We have enough examples of it in our long history of human viciousness against each other, for our religious and racial differences. 

Hate is all consuming, it consumes like a smoldering fire, it omnibulates, takes over the mind completely. Whereas, love is the ultimate freedom, hate imprisons the sufferer to the point of total obsession where the only outlet is a frenetic drive to kill. 

Hate is the driving force of evil.  In April 1994 when General Dallaire walked into that hotel room in Kigali to meet the heads of the Interahamwa militia, he said “I found myself in front of the face of pure evil and I thought, I have a (gave the name of his weapon) in my pocket, I can take them all out, but in my position as General, Head of the United Nations peace keeping force, I knew there was no way I could do such a thing”.

Dallaire was not feeling hate for these individuals and his thought of killing them was totally dispassionate.  He is a soldier and trained to kill, he is also a General and is more concerned with saving lives than taking them, of limiting the destruction.  

However, as an experienced officer, he recognized what he had in front of him, “Pure evil” he had said and he was totally aware of what “pure evil” is capable off when unleashed unchecked.  In Dallaire’s case he “felt” the power of this evil emanating from the minds and spirits of these killers. 

They were literally vibrating hate as a collective mass and the evil resulting would know no bounds.  Their whole beings were given over to hate.

There was no room for any other sentiment or feeling; It was at its apogee and its only outlet would ride on a rampage of the most despicable, abominable and atrocious inflicting of suffering leading to death, that is known to recent human memory.

The problem is, Rose, is that these extremists don’t even know why they think they hate you. This hate was created from the outside. It did not come from inside the Rwandan people.  Here, all of a sudden, these white people appear; they walk in like as if they own the place.

They took over. They had weapons which outsmarted all the local arms. This was the rule of death, you complied, or you died. They informed the Monarchy and the local population that from now on their country, culture, language, identity, no longer belonged to them; it belonged firstly to these Germans, from 1908 to 1916, and all of a sudden it belonged to Belgium.

The Belgians then proceeded to destroy a structure, a society, which had existed since the beginning of time for no other reason than greed and lust for power.

They had imported their ways as if these ways were the only viable ways for human beings to exist.  White Supremacy, I ask you, as myself a white, what crimes have you not committed all over this poor little planet of ours, in the name of your “White Supremacy”?


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