25 years after the genocide of Rwanda, a woman managed to forgive her children’s assassin

Anne-Mary with her neighbour, Celestin

25 years have passed since the genocide of Rwanda in April of 1994 when 800 thousand Tutsi lost their life due to the massacre of the Hutu ethnic group. The inhabitants of the African country are still suffering from the memory of the attacks but Anne-Mary, a woman of the Tutsi ethnic group, has forgiven the assassin of her loved ones.

800 thousand deaths in 100 days

It all happened in 100 days. The members of the Tutsi ethnic group at one time formed a sizeable number of the inhabitants; today 85 percent of the population belongs to the Hutu ethnic group.

In 1958, the Hutu restored the monarchy and tens of hundreds of Tutsi had to flee to the neighbouring countries where they established a Rwandese Patriotic Front, and in 1990 invaded Rwanda. The two ethnic groups had been fighting for years until they signed a peace agreement in 1993. The year after, on the night of the 6th of April of 1994, the Hutu broke the contract and started one of the greatest genocides in history.

“Eliminate the cockroaches”

The junior front of the governing party was armed and demanded the extermination of the Tutsi people in the country. It was easy to identify them because their ID card contained their ethnic identity. With the implicit approval of the UN and other Western international organisations, entire families were massacred in their hundreds.

The propaganda of Hutu: “eliminate the cockroaches” was diffused in the RTML radio, and also in some newspapers.

800 thousand people were killed in only 100 days, most of them by machetes. The massacre was ended by the Rwandese Patriotic Front, on the 4th of July 1994. The leaders of the Rwandese Patriotic Front, Paul Kagame has been the president of the country since the year 2000.

The person responsible for organising the massacre still has not been found. After a long time, the police arrested 93 people, among them ex-functionaries of the Hutu government.

“I forgave Celestin with the help of God”

Among the people arrested was a man named Celestin Habinshuti, who had killed two children belonging to his neighbour Anne-Mary. He was sentenced to four-years in prison.

The woman still remembers the horrible day: “They invaded our house with a machete. Celestin decapitated my children; I managed to escape.”

She told BBC that after the end of the genocide, they had to continue to live in the neighbourhood. She continued: “when he saw me on the street, he hid his face, and I was always scared of him killing me.”

This dreadful situation eased with the help of a Christian priest who made Celestin and Anne-Mary understand that their spirit needed reconciliation. Finally, Celestin begged pardon of his neighbour and Anne-Mary forgave him.

Now, they are living in relative harmony, and Celestin said the following:

“I learned forgiveness from the survivors. I attacked Anne-Marie’s family as a cruel assassin, but she survived and forgave me. Their survival was the will of God.”

Source : Tempi.it

Photo: BBC

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