Genocide memorials are inevitably heartwrenching and always difficult to visit, but I was not prepared for this morning’s visit to the Kigali Memorial Center. As I walked past the testimony of those that escaped in 1994 and saw the pictures of children that were not as lucky, a group of students from AERG – the organization of child survivors that I am working with through Survivor Corps – wearing purple handkerchiefs and scarves (purple is the color signifying remembrance) accompanied me. I was initially struck by their sullen, but stoic, reactions as we toured through the history of Rwanda and the events of 1994. However, when we reached a room with photos of those that were killed, several of the students broke into tears. As soon as one student began to cry, he or she was immediately comforted by three to four other students. I realized that these are the families Kabera told me about during our interview.
I’m left with few words to describe this experience, so instead, I share a quote from the Museum’s walls that I think speaks to Rwanda, the recent shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and all those using education and memory to end genocide and crimes against humanity:
“If you knew me, and you really knew yourself, you wouldn’t have killed me.”
Posted By Lisa Rogoff
Posted Jun 13th, 2009