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Rwanda - Tribute To Courage - 2002-12-12

Eight years after the Rwandan genocide, a new book has been published called: Rwanda – Tribute To Courage. It’s a “collection of remembrances from survivors and witnesses of the genocide…and acts of individual heroism.”

The book has been released by the group, African Rights. The head of that group, Rakiya Omaar, is in Kigali. She spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua. She says, “The book names men and women who risked their lives to save others…moving accounts of fear and gratitude, of human triumphs in the face of catastrophe.”

For example, it tells the story of Frodouald Karuhije, who saved the lives of fourteen Tutsi by hiding them in deep trenches he dug on his property. The trenches were invisible to the naked eye, covered with branches and leaves. The Tutsi lived there for more than a month.

Another story is that of an elderly widow and traditional healer, Sula Karuhimbi, who hid members of neighboring families. She used her reputation to scare away militia members, interahamwe, by making them believe she was calling forth evil spirits to attack them.

There are also many stories of Catholic priests risking their lives to save parishoners.

Rakiya Omaar says, “These people acted not just from compassion, but from principle – a decision that they had to stand-up for humanity during Rwanda’s darkest hour because humanity, itself, was being threatened.”