Encounters with conflict and peace

Laura: I was still a child

Laura is an articulate young university student. Last time she emailed me, she had just returned from a two month field trip in the north of Rwanda as part of her course in conservation and ecology. She loves Rwanda - the landscape and the culture - but clearly remembers a darker time.

"We had a strong culture - the way we lived together as Rwandans, but during the genocide it's as if people turned into wild animals. If you went to your neighbour for help he would just say, “I don’t know you. This is the first time I've seen you.” And you would say to him, "but you’re my best friend!” And he would say, “No, I’m no best friend of a snake.”

She remembers coming back to Rwanda from Burundi with her family, as a seven year old...
Like many Rwandans, Laura believes recovery is up to Rwandans.

"I think we should feel responsible as Rwandans. It’s Rwandan who destroyed Rwanda, so it’s up to Rwandans to reconstruct it, and give it back the dignity and the beauty it had. We should not wait for help of foreigners: Americans, Europeans...

We are capable of working for this country. And we will do that if we stop blaming each other. We should accept what happened, accept our roles in the genocide, and now try to live together because that’s how we are going to build up Rwanda.
Related pages
Hutu or Tutsi
Laura, in her usual style, gives us a history lesson and explains what Hutu and Tutsi has meant to Rwandans...
Building peace
Laura: "The most dangerous ideas are the ones that tell people they are different..."

< previous page    |    next page >