RWANDA GENOCIDE HORROR
"Never in living history has such wanton brutality been inflicted
by human beings on their fellow creatures as in Rwanda."
"Shake Hands With the Devil"
by General Romeo Dallaire
excerpt from page 429:
...We drove through village after deserted village, some still smouldering. Garbage, rags and bodies intermingled at places where either an ambush or a massacre had occurred. We drove by abandoned checkpoints ringed with corpses, sometimes beheaded and dumped like rubish, sometimes stacked meticulously beside neat piles of heads. Many corpses rapidly decayed into blinding white skeletons in the hot sun.
I don't know when I began to clearly see the evidence of another crime besides murder among the bodies in the ditches and the mass graves. I know that for a long time I sealed away from my mind all the signs of this crime, instructing myself not to recognize what was there in front of me. The crime was rape, on a scale that deeply affected me.
We saw many faces of death during the genocide, from the innocence of babies to the bewilderment of the elderly, from the defiance of fighters to the resigned stares of nuns. I saw so many faces and try now to remember each one. Early on I seemed to develop a screen between me and the sights and sounds to allow me to stay focused on the work to be done. For a long time I completely wiped the death masks of raped and sexually mutilated girls and women from my mind as if what had been done to them was the last thing that would send me over the edge.
But if you looked, you could see the evidence, even in the whitened skeletons. The legs bent and apart. A broken bottle, a rough branch, even a knife between them. Where the bodies were fresh, we saw what must have been semen pooled on and near the dead women and girls. There was always a lot of blood. Some male corpses had their genitals cut off, but many women and young girls had their breasts chopped off and their genitals cut apart. They died in a position of total vulnerability, flat on their backs, with their legs bent and knees wide apart. It was the expressions on their dead faces that assaulted me the most, a frieze of shock, pain and humiliation. For many years after I came home, I banished the memories of those faces from my mind, but they have come back, all too clearly.
excerpt from page 456:
...During those long nights in early July while the RPF [Tutsi Army] fought to control the city, I sometimes let myself think about the evil that men such as Bagosora [Hutu Army Minister of Defence] wrought -- how the Hutu extremists, the young men of the Interahamwe, even ordinary mothers with babies on their backs, had become so drunk with the sight and smell of blood and the hysteria that they could murder their neighbours. What did they think as they were felling the RPF [Tutsi Army] and stepping through blood-soaked killing fields and over corpses rotting into heaps of rags and bone? I rejected the picture of the genocidaires as ordinary human beings who had performed evil acts. To my mind, their crimes had made them inhuman, turned them into machines made of flesh that imitated the motions of being human. The perpetrators on both sides had their "justifications". For the Hutus, insecurity and racism had been artfully engineered into hate and violent reaction. In the RPF's case, it was willing to fight to win a homeland at all costs, and its soldiers' rage against the genocide transformed them into machines. And what of the witnesses -- what drove us? Had the scenes we'd waded through frayed our humanity, turned us into numbed-out-machines too? Where did we find our motivation to keep going on? Keep on going is what we had to do.
excerpt from page 461:
...Shaharyar Khan described his first encounters with the genocide in his book The Shallow Graves of Rwanda: "As General Dallaire drove me past places where massacres had taken place, there were corpses and skeletons lying about picked bare by dogs and vultures. The scene was macabre, surrealistic and utterly gruesome. Worse was to follow. We went to the ICRC hospital where hundreds of bodies lay piled up in the garden. Everywhere there were corpses, mutilated children, dying women. There was blood all over the floors and the terrible stench of rotting flesh. Every inch of space was taken up by these patients. The day before, as government forces (the RGF [Hutu Army]) left, they had fired mortars indiscriminately and one had hit the casualty ward in the ICRC hospital, killing seven patients." (In fact, when we got there, the staff were still cleaning up body parts.) Khan continued: "I have never witnessed such horror, such vacant fear in the eyes of patients, such putrid stench. I did not throw up, I did not even cry: I was too shocked. I was silent. My colleagues who had lived through the massacres were hardened: they had seen worse, much worse."
The scene was essentially the same at the King Faisal. That hospital tour, however, included a locked ward. When Khan asked James Orbinski why, James explained that these casualties had been identified by the RPF as having participated in the massacres, and the RPF wanted them to live to face the courts instead of lynch mobs. Khan considered this an extraordinary example of discipline from a victorious rebel force.
Khan had been in Afghanistan during the worst of the Soviet and Mujahadeen conflict. As a child he had lived through the Hindu-Muslim riots of 1947. In his book he wrote, "the fact is that never in living history has such wanton brutality been inflicted by human beings on their fellow creatures as in Rwanda. . . .even the killing fields of Cambodia and Bosnia pale before the gruesome, awful depravity of massacres in Rwanda." He chose one example from among many others to make his point. "The Interahamwe made a habit of killing young Tutsi children, in front of their parents, by first cutting off one arm, then the other. They would then gash the neck with a machete to bleed the child slowly to death but, while they were still alive, they would cut off the private parts and throw them at the faces of the terrified parents, who would then be murdered with slightly greater dispatch." Khan was wrong when he wrote that the veterans of the genocide had become hardened to such things. We were simply putting off our feelings until later.
WITNESS KAGAME KIBEHO TRUTH and KILLED AT KIBEHO and HUTUS HATE RWANDA IN DARFUR
RWANDA SHALLOW GRAVES REVIEW
LAMENT OF VICTIMS OF GENOCIDE and 60 MINUTES RWANDA READING
3. KIGALI KING FAISAL HOSPITAL and 9. GENOCIDAL SAINT FAMILLE and 6. AMAHORO CELEBRATIONS PRELUDE
2. KIGALI GENOCIDE MEMORIAL and 20. CHURCH, TEMPLE & MEMORIAL and 21. MURAMBI MASSACRE MEMORIAL
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