Encounters with conflict and peace

The best that we can be

Alisa nearly died from her injuries. “When I got out of hospital I felt like I had become an animal. I thought that every Hutu should die - I hated them.”

As she tells her story, we’re sitting on wooden benches in the shade of a large tree. She points to Emmanuel, the person beside her and says, “This is the man who cut me. I forgave him, and I feel that he’s my brother now.”

How is that possible? Is it real? If so, what has actually happened to make it possible?
Despite all the talk of forgiveness in Rwanda, situations like this are not very common. As Rwandans say, recovery is a journey, and people are at different points along that road.

A few would start a fight again tomorrow if they thought they could get away with it; many are just glad to have moments of happiness with friends and family, pleased with the progress that Rwanda is making, but still really struggling with the after-effects of the genocide. Through gacaca, most adults have engaged with the public reconciliation processes, but many have found it very difficult. In a few cases like Alisa and Emmanuel, however, the stories are stunning.

Related pages
Laura: I came to Rwanda
Laura loves Rwanda - the landscape and the culture - but clearly remembers a darker time when she returned to Rwanda with her family, as a seven year old... ...
Hutu or Tutsi
Laura, in her usual style, gives us a history lesson and explains what Hutu and Tutsi has meant to Rwandans...

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