Can Genocide Survivors Forgive the Perpetrators?

Reconciliation and forgiveness became a trending experiment used by the Government of Rwanda and some money-hungry NGOs since the end of the Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi. Soon, the neediest of the survivors became the mouses in the laboratory of forgiveness and reconciliation processes.

Today, no single month goes by without seeing the survivors being paraded hand in hand with their executioners, chanting forgiveness and reconciliation. Words cannot express a sense of indignation these practices arouse in me. Photos below appeared in the Rwandan government sponsored-newspaper, The New Times, recently.


Survivor Stephanie_ukubereyimfura_holds genocide convict Uzabakiriho’s_hand. Photo/The New Times

Genocide perpetrators_with the genocide survivors holding their_backs_as_they ask for forgiveness in Bugesera. August 21, 2018. Photo: Kelly_Rwampera/The New Times

A couple of questions remains unanswered.

Economically disadvantaged survivors in rural areas are exclusively the only ones participating in this forgiveness-reconciliation drama. Why is that?

Is it even possible to forgive the mass murderers Hutu who committed Genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda? If so, who is well-suited to forgive?

While the answers to the questions above may vary from a person to another, one thing seems obvious to me.

The only well-suited person to forgive is the victim who was mercilessly killed. Since the victim is no longer in the world of the living then, the chance for the perpetrator to seek forgiveness is futile. Therefore, my question to those survivors who claim to forgive: Who are you to forgive on behalf of the dead? In what capacity?
Going against this basic logic is not only disrespectful to our beloved ones we lost, but it is also a grave insult to them.


1 reply »

  1. Very beautifully put!thay can’t ask the survivors in a good situation to forgive they just take advantage of the ones in the village whose life is miserable.
    This game has to stop

    Liked by 1 person

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