Today, my thoughts have been with my friends and colleagues at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum after the critical shooting of one of the Museum’s guards, Officer Steven T. Johns, yesterday. Having worked at the Museum for three years, I am personally grateful for the commitment of the officers that work there and keep the Museum and its visitors and staff safe. I remember Officer Johns and the warm smile with which he welcomed me to work on many days.
It seemed somewhat fortuitous that Albert and I visited with our partner organization, IBUKA (meaning memory) this morning. As we drove up to IBUKA’s offices, a large memorial with a burning flame burning caught my attention, and it reminded me of the Hall of Remembrance at the USHMM.
As the largest umbrella organization for survivors of the genocide in Rwanda, IBUKA is dedication to remembrance and justice, and has a mission similar in many ways to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. IBUKA works with Survivor Corps to identify and train survivors who have the capacity and desire to help other survivors overcome their trauma through peer support. A special program focuses on helping survivors experiencing trauma after gacaca hearings.
At the heart of IBUKA’s mission is memory. Memory to ensure that the events that took place in Rwanda in 1994 are never forgotten and never repeated. Memory to honor those who were killed and those who survived. Memory to ensure that the voices of those who survived overpowers those who live in denial. And memory to honor the bravery of those who preserve the stories.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Officer Johns’ family.
“Only guard yourself and guard your soul carefully, lest you forget the things your eyes saw, and lest these things depart your heart all the days of your life. And you shall make them known to your children, and to your children’s children.”
-Deuteronomy 4:9 (Inscribed above the eternal flame in the Hall of Remembrance at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum)
Posted By Lisa Rogoff
Posted Jun 11th, 2009