I spoke to France 24/Spanish Channel, yesterday. They asked me my views on forgiveness and reconciliation. I have to admit that the duo is certainly NOT my favorite topics to discuss. Next, my favorite topic came up: Justice for the victims. They asked me why i feel strongly about reparative justice and accountability. Much to my surprise, they also asked me about Kagame, the current President of Rwanda! Here is a snapshot of what I had to say in English. You can read the original part 1 and part 2 of the article here in Spanish.
“The blood of my parents keeps asking for justice”
…..After 25 years, Albert Gasake became the defender of the victims of the genocide because, although he recognizes the advances in his country, he believes that justice and reconciliation are far away. “When the survivors who live among the perpetrators continue to be intimidated, harassed, their cattle are killed every year, I do not necessarily see a reconciliation,” he says.
And to Kagame? “I see a powerful ruler feared by all his subjects.” Albert, like Luck, did not know the murderers of his family. They never came to him seeking reconciliation for what, he says, the victims’ forgiveness of their victimizers is “at least the way I understand it, egocentric”. “The blood of my parents is still asking for justice, I do not forgive, in fact, forgiveness will be a betrayal for my loved ones who were killed by the Hutus so soon,” he says.
Forgiveness will be a betrayal for my loved ones who were killed by the Hutus so soon. “
Despite this, Albert was able to reestablish his relations with some Hutus. “I have no problem with the innocent Hutus, but I do have a problem with those Hutus with bloody hands.” He assures that, 25 years later, the murderers are still free. “Despite the request for reparations for the survivors, the Rwandan government and the international community do not have the political will to establish reparation mechanisms for the survivors.”
Therefore, Albert’s struggle does not end. “The marginalization and the untold stories of poor survivors who live in the countryside with their assassins sometimes keep me awake at night,” he says, and that is precisely his driving force.