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Sep '08

Rwanda: Some Final Thoughts

As I get ready to leave for South Africa tomorrow, I wanted to post some final thoughts and pics from Rwanda. After the gorilla trekking, I’ve mostly just been sitting here drinking beer and eating at nice restaurants. But I did visit the Rwanda Genocide Museum, which is a truly disturbing memorial to the hundreds of thousands that died during the 1994 genocide.

The first part of the museum was dedicated to other genocides that have occured around the world – such as the Holocaust, Armenia, Bosnia, and Cambodia (I visited a genocide memorial there as well, too many of these throughout the world).

The second part consists of profiles of some of the children that died during the genocide. The descriptions are very short and to the point, reading something like this:

Name: Francine Murengezi Ingabire
Age: 12
Favorite sport: Swimming
Favorite food: Eggs and chips
Favorite drink: Milk and Fanta Tropical
Best friend: Her elder sister Claudette
Last Words: “Help Mom’ma”
Cause of Death: Hacked by Machete

The third part of the museum is the memorial garden, where hundreds of thousands of people have been buried in a mass grave.

Here, as well as in Cambodia I have wondered how people who are seemingly nice and friendly now could have committed mass murder so recently. The only answer I have is that perhaps clues could be found in the famous Milgram Experiment, which seemed to show that ordinary people are capable of doing terrible things given the right [wrong] circumstances. I have no other explanation as to what would drive neighbors to kill neighbors, doctors to kill patients (and vise versa).

Here is a picture of the Hotel Milles Collines, in which the events depicted in the movie “Hotel Rwanda” took place:

A picture of Kigali (taken from the Genocide Memorial):

I may not have much more to write about this week because I’ll likely just be sitting on a beach in Cape Town. But if something noteworthy happens I’ll blog about it!


3 Responses to “Rwanda: Some Final Thoughts”

  1. rodah mumbo Says:

    kigali is a lovely place to be in, and now that all is well it is very disturbing to try and understand what really happened. The Genocide memorial has been well managed but the stories you read inside can make you have sleepless nights.
    but however small the country is;it has beautiful geographic sites like the hills that surround it and i will have to recommend them on thier hospitality and friendliness.i remember when there we coukld not find our way back to the hotel but some strange man took us there despite the language problem we had he was patient enoughand figured that we were lost.
    All in all with time they will pick up the pieces and be a better country.

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