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The church - Rwanda, 1994

The church – Rwanda, 1994

In 1994, a state orchestrated genocide of Tutsis and their supporters was set into motion resulting in the murder of over a half million people. Following the rebels (the Rwandan Patriotic Army) from Uganda into Rwanda, I was struck by the silence of the areas they liberated. Hundreds of thousands of people lay dead in the fields, swamps, roadblocks and residences. It was like entering a house that was now empty, except that it resonated with the echoes of a horrible crime.

Especially troubling was the way the organizers of the killings lured people en masse into places of refuge, such as churches, schools and hospitals, to make it easier to kill them. I came across this church after the killers fled. It harbored over 3000 men, women and children, until militias armed with guns, grenades, machetes and clubs slaughtered them and burned the building. To me it was a desecrated and haunted place. Later, I heard that this church was repaired and used, once again, as a house of worship to a God they had abandoned during those days of terror.