News / Africa

Trauma Still Fresh for Rwandan Genocide Survivors

Trauma Still Fresh for Rwandan Genocide Survivorsi
X
Roopa Gogineni
April 04, 2014 2:30 PM
The Rwandan genocide happened 20 years ago, but the trauma experienced by its survivors still lies close to the surface. Roopa Gogineni heard one survivor’s testimony in Kigali.
Roopa Gogineni
The Rwandan genocide happened 20 years ago, but the trauma experienced by its survivors still lies close to the surface.

Every April, a sadness falls over Kinyaya, a community of genocide survivors, home to Cecile Umurerwa.

"Each time in April, I feel very anxious and sick because I remember the genocide.  It is like a film in front of me, because I can remember very well.  There was nowhere to hide.  We were sitting when the first group of killers came.  They told us to pray, that the next group would come within 15 minutes.   We prayed.  After we prayed, the Interahamwe took us to Kabeza where they had dug many holes," she said.

The Interahamwe (Hutu killers) forced Cecile and her children to the ground.  They began shooting but soon ran out of bullets.  Cecile and her younger sister were the only ones left alive.

The killers made a promise to return.

"They said, those we have killed will serve as a mattress for our dead president, you will be the blanket.  Instead of me staying alone, I thought, “let them kill me.”  I have no reason to stay alive," said Umurerwa.

But before the Interahamwe could come back, soldiers from the Rwandan Patriotic Front found Cecile and her sister and brought them to an IDP camp.

Today, Cecile cares for five young people orphaned by the genocide in a home built for her by the government. 

Two hours south of Cecile's home in Kigali is the Murambi Genocide Memorial, another stark reminder of lives cut short.
FILE - Rwandese refugees cross Rusumo border to Tanzania from Rwanda carrying their belongings even goats, mattresses and cows, May 30, 1994.
FILE - Rwandese refugees cross Rusumo border to Tanzania from Rwanda carrying their belongings even goats, mattresses and cows, May 30, 1994.

Forty-five thousand Tutsis were killed over three days there at the Murambi technical institute.  Today, thousands of bodies have been exhumed and now lie covered in lime on desks in old classrooms.

Eric Gatabari, a guide at Murambi, lost his own family during the genocide. Now he takes groups of school children through the site.

"Some Rwandans and other people, sometimes they deny there is genocide of Rwandan Tutsis.  So that is why we have decided to preserve it, in order to educate the consequences of bad ideology and ethnic divisionism," he said.

Gatabari said the memorial raises awareness in young Rwandans and ultimately served to promote unity and reconciliation.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jeffrey M. Collins from: Boston
April 06, 2014 12:13 AM
Can a (meficsl) doctor actually make a comment like the first one here? The US & the UN looked the other way from this genocide and did nothing to stop it. Would we had spent a few bucks to save 800,000+ lives. If you're looking for a big waste of US dollars and American lives, look no further than now-painter, then-president George W. Bush's costlly war folly in Iraq.

by: Dr. Masta Marina
April 04, 2014 1:40 PM
does anyone have any idea how many Trillions of Dollars we have sunk into this diseased continent..??

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More