St Famille 2

St Famille 3


Church Outside

Church Outside

To Orwell Today,

Dear Jackie,

I am from New Jersey, fourteen years old, and an aspiring screenwriter. I am currently writing a film, that follows a poem a Rwandan girl writes, is killed at Saint-Famille, but before dying gives it to a friend, who gives it to a UN soldier. It follows the poem as it goes through Chechnya and Iraq. At the end it is revealed that the Rwandan girl escaped death, and she finally gets the beloved poem back.

But I need to speak with survivors from Saint-Famille, and your article was the most informative. You seemed to have spoken with survivors; I was wondering if there was any way you could help me contact them. It would help immensely. Thank you.

With All Due Respect,
Benjamin Meyer

Greetings Benjamin,

I've not personally talked to any survivors from Saint Famille but when I was inside the church this past summer there were probably survivors there that day. Perhaps a survivor, upon reading your email, will contact me and I will put you in touch.

Saint Famille was recently in the news when the priest there during the genocide - Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka - was arrested in France on Friday, July 20th. He'd been living in France all these years - still a priest with the Catholic church - even though he is wanted by the government of Rwanda and the ICTR (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) for the crimes of rape and murder.

It was an exciting day when France arrested him and it was expected that he would be extradited to Rwanda to face trial, or to Tanzania where the ICTR holds court. But instead the French government released him from custody and he was free to return to his church and congregation in a rural part of France. Now the world is having to wait again for justice to be served, not only for the sake of the survivors but also for the sake of the church. Both have been sorely wounded and not yet fully healed.

It is very impressive that at your young age of 14 years-old you are as knowledgeable as you are about Rwanda, Chechnya and Iraq and have it in your heart and soul to create a poem and film about their suffering.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

Rwandan anger at suspect release. BBC, Aug 2, 2007
The decision to free two Rwandan men in France may be politically motivated, Rwanda's representative at a tribunal trying Rwandan genocide suspects says. "There is lots of politicking about genocide cases," Aloys Mutabingwa said. A French foreign ministry spokesman said he hoped the decision would not put the rapproachement between Paris and Kigali into question. The UN-backed tribunal wants to try the men in connection with the 1994 genocide in which 800,000 were killed. A French appeals courts said their warrants issued by the tribunal were invalid and ordered their release. Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, 49, a Catholic priest, and Laurent Bucyibaruta, 62, an ex-civil servant, were arrested on Friday. They have lived in France for more than 10 years....Father Munyeshyaka is accused by the ICTR of murdering three young Tutsis in his Holy Family parish in the capital, Kigali. He is also accused of raping four young Tutsi women between April and June 1994, and of calling on the extremist Hutu Interahamwe militia to commit rape...


Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~