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« ’Hope is the thing with feathers...’ | Main | So Easy, Even an Australopithecine Can Get It »

September 13, 2007

RE: Journey of Forgiveness

Kris, thank you for those moving words. The notion of forgiveness as a journey was something we heard again and again in Rwanda from survivors and people who work waist-deep in the mucky business of peace-making. The co-chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Rwanda, Antoine Rutiyesere, talked to us about that process, not only on the individual level, but on a more macro-level as well. Here's what he said:

If you take a country that 13 years ago was entrenched in the worst ethnic massacre, genocide--1 million people or more died at the hands of their neighbors--and you come back 13 years after and you see people going to the same churches, going to the same markets, going together to the same schools and they are not fighting. They are not even killing each other.  . . . that level of peace is the first sign that reconciliation is in the process.

Why am I saying this? Because the first step to reconciliation is peaceful cohabitation. Because, it’s like when you have a broken bone. The first thing the doctor will do is diagnose the fracture. Then he puts the bones back together; then into a cast; and then you are stabilized for however long it takes for the bone to be together. So I think that’s what we are doing. 

Things are stable. It’s peaceful, but deep inside the healing is taking place slowly, slowly, one individual at a time. A healing there, a repentance there, a restitution there, a change of system there, so it’s a slow process. But looking at the achievement, I am very confident that we are doing a fine job. 

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