As he is wont to sometimes when it is inevitable, Ali Yusufu Mugenzi of the BBC Kinyarwanda Programme presented some facts of Rwanda objectively, last Saturday, 10th April 2010.
It was telling, though, that he gave them short shrift, quickly handing over to his stringer in Kigali, Jean Claude Mwambutsa.
Which was as well because, as we have come to expect, the youthful and energetic Mwambutsa did a sterling job handing us the harrowing works raw.
The living, tearful testimonies of the rapes during the 1994 genocide must have penetrated even the stone-hearts of the perpetrators.
As for us who feel the ‘at-one-ment’ with the victims, we were reduced to sobbing wrecks. But forget about the repulsive rapes and its victims and consider the issue of those heinous acts a year after.
Against all odds, the mother survived and now a bouncing baby boy/girl is born.
Not being awake to the harsh realities of this world yet, the bundle of joy is blissfully shielded from the bitter truth of a hostile reception.
But, unbeknown to the baby, everybody shuns it and that sometimes includes the mother. And, slowly, as the baby grows, it begins to notice the uncharitable attitude.
At crawling age, the baby giggles with other babies, even if most times the others are not readily close. And when he/she reaches talking and playing age, he/she begins to discern the fact that other kids are not comfortable with him/her.
He/she begins also to notice mother is unwilling to explain.
There are close to 5000 such youths in Rwanda. They are all in school, thanks to a government that works to ensure access to education for all. Unfortunately, while now at 15/16 years of age they should be in secondary school, almost all of them are in primary.
Uwera, 16, is a beautiful girl. From an early age, she tried to know who her father was but the mother always found a way of not explaining. When she insisted, however, her mother relented and that’s how she found out she was the result of a gang-rape by Interahamwe militia.
Didier, also 16, is a cheerful young man who is a strong fan of the English Premier League club, Manchester United. His dream is to become a strong striker like the team’s Wayne Mark Rooney.
Today, he does not bear any grudge against the man who may have fathered him.
Jean Paul, 15, is a strong academic even at this primary school level. His inquisitive nature forced his mother into revealing the truth about his father early. The mother has told him that the man who fathered him is in prison but JP’s concern is just to concentrate on his studies and to one day become a journalist.
The above are only three of the 5,000 or so kids who will live with the fact that they are products of the shame of Rwanda. We know the stories of the three because they have managed to live their history and to face its traumatising reality.
But how many are out there, unable and unwilling to open up?
How many of these kids are being gnawed in their hearts and in their minds, under the weight of a pain unknown to the rest of the world?
In a sane world, a civilised world that ceaselessly sings democracy, how was it possible that pre-historic beasts freely turned the order of normal conception on its head?
Yes, let’s face the imagination because only these kids can live the blasphemy of that conception, the reality of their lives. Even in your old age, remembering that nobody welcomed your birth. Nay, that your birth spelt shame to your mother, rendered her ostracised and covered her in scorn.
No, not a single human being can ever begin to wrap his/her mind around the horror of such a brutal reality. A crazed gang of killers on the side of your father gang-raping and mass-murdering in the genocide of the people on the side of your mother.
Who can begin to see that?
Can anybody on this planet comprehend the enormity of this dilemma? If the best minds of the Western academia came together and tried to dissect that predicament, can they ever hope to start to scratch the surface of its incomprehensibility?
No, it is definitely beyond reasonable human capacity.
Yet, beloved children of Rwanda, that is what every Munyarwanda is. Not a Hutu, a Tutsi, a Twa – not a Nyarwanda. Every Muhutu, Mututsi, Mutwa is a proud Munyarwanda. And that proud Rwandan is a product of that shameful history that was forged by the West and some Rwandans who embraced evil.
Yes, products of rapes, you are the darlings of this land, the land of proud Rwandans who refused to be broken with their history. The evil ogres rose and raped their history, but here the Rwandans are, proud products of that desecrated history.
Yes, today’s Rwandans, superior seed of their land – standing tall in dignified defiance of the malevolent monstrosity of 1994!