Encounters with conflict and peace

Impossible to forgive

"Sometimes when I am sitting alone in a chair on the verandah, I imagine this possibility...

one day, in the distant future, a neighbour will walk slowly up to me and say, “Good morning, Francine. Good morning to your family. I have come to speak to you. Alright, it is I who hacked your Maman and your little sisters, or it is I who tried to kill you in the marsh. I want to ask your forgiveness.”

Well, this person, I would not have a good word to answer with. If a man has drink one Primus too many and he beats his wife, he can ask for forgiveness. But if he has worked a whole month killing, even on Sundays, how can he hope for pardon?

Rwandan girl
back to living again
We simply have to get back to living again, since life has decided it so. Thorn-bushes must not overrun our plots; teachers must be in front of the blackboards at school again, doctors must again treat the sick at the health centres. We need young cattle in fine fettle, fabric of all qualities, sacks of beans at the market.

Many Hutus are needed for all this. We cannot lump all the killers together. Those who were carried away by it in spite of themselves can come back from the Congo and from prison and go back to their plots.

We will start drawing water together again, exchange some local gossip, sell each other grain. In twenty, fifty years time, perhaps there will be young boys and young girls who will learn of the genocide from books only. For us, though, it is impossible to forgive.”

Francine. From Into the quick of life. The survivors speak by Jean Hatzfeld

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