The Director of Hope and Homes for Children(HHC) Rangira J.H Vianney says that most times trauma is caused by the fact that all those things that may have happened during the war, genocide and other bad experiences, come back without the person playing part in it hence the trauma.
He further says that the effects come back in different dimensions and among these are undefined diseases. Some of these diseases are body reactions which show the effects and this happens when the brain doesn’t react so that the effects are spoken by mouth.
There are times when bad things happen to you and you decide to forget all about them intentionally or unintentionally and yet, however much you try to suppress what happened, it will always come back. The more you fight back the past, the more you remember it in a bad way.
Experts say that it is advisable to always not desist from remembering such things like the Genocide because it can be helpful in both the healing process of the survivors and in creating of awareness of the Genocide itself and its repercussions.
“The best way of remembering is that one where a person plays a part in it; such as attending commemoration with others, giving a decent burial to those relatives who were killed during the Genocide, and giving testimonies of what happened to you during the Genocide period,” says Rangira.
In this period, you don’t have to think only about the bad times that you went through or the weaknesses you had, but also about the heroic acts that you showed and the heroic acts of those you lost and this is done through testimonies.
Speaking about what has helped you to go on up to the present time. This helps you not to live with grief all your life.
Martin Gray, a Jewish writer, wrote a book called ‘Au nom de tous les miens’ loosely translated as ‘For those I loved.’
In this book, Gray writes about parts of his life and the death of his family members in two different scenarios. The first was during the holocaust in the concentration camp and another was when there was fire a outbreak in Southern France which destroyed his house.
Gray was 18 years old when the Nazi entered Poland at the helm of World War Two and took him and his entire family to a concentration camp.
Gray’s whole family was killed in the concentration camp. Later, as he was being used to remove dead bodies from the gas chambers he run away and escaped death.
In 1970, fire broke out in his home town and his house caught fire. His family of four children and wife died in the inferno. When this happened to him, he got so discouraged and began asking himself why all the troubles that were beyond his ability had to always come his way. But later, he got courage of continuing to live and decided to fight the war through telling the testimony of his life.
Gray says that the books that he has written and the films about his life that have been made helped him in telling the testimonies about the Holocaust. He drew a lesson from the difficult path that he went through and now teaches others how to overcome grief.
Prudence Gatera, the deputy director of HHC says that many Rwandans went through more than what Gray went through during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. He adds that you find that most of them have the will to live.
“This is visible from the fact that Rwanda has made big strides towards development 15 years after the Genocide.”
According to Harriet Mukarutesi, a survivor, she thinks that there are some people who haven’t had the courage to overcome grief, fear, sadness, desperation, which were caused by the Genocide.
“All these cause bad perceptions on life such as life means nothing; the world is full of beasts and also becoming drug addicts.”
Mukarutesi continues to say that there should be a way among all the survivors of trying to face the effects of Genocide.
“It is common that people try to cover their past by indulging in acts like alcoholism, drug addiction, isolation, hatred which only make matters for them worse.”
Remembering and commemorating the Genocide is ideal in terms of uprooting the Genocide ideology since it keeps reminding the people all around the world how terrible it is.
If done properly, commemoration helps heal the hearts of the survivors of the Genocide. Let’s do it properly, with utmost respect.