One of my most dear earthly homes, Rwanda is in a period of mourning from the horrific Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994. In grief many emotions overwhelm us – denial, anger, sadness, and acceptance. Grief that is caused by human sin must never be accepted as a cover up of the darkest actions of man. Rightly, the victim’s blood cries out for generations for justice. Yet, in the cries sometimes we deny our own dark places that make such horrific actions possible. In true acceptance we seek to change our own lives, and resolve to make a world where human initiated horror is unlikely to ever happen again.
These seasons of grief bring us back to one of the oldest spiritual disciplines – confession and repentance. God requires those of us who build after tragedy to humbly acknowledge the actions of our fathers and ourselves that created such tragedy. A Diaspora builder of old confessed,
“O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God who keeps covenant and steadfast love withthose who love him and keep his commandments; let thy ear be attentive, and thy eyes open, to hear the prayer of thy servant which I now pray before thee day and night … confessing the sins of the people… which we have sinned against thee. Yea, I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments… (Nehemiah 1:5-7, Revised Standard Version.)”
I am an American Mulokole (Evangelical / Saved One.) My people have sinned greatly.
I have read the histories and listened to the stories of Africa’s Great Lake’s Bzee. My people, the nation of America has sinned greatly. We repeatedly manipulated political processes in Africa’s Great Lakes after Independence. We supported regimes who repeatedly forfeited their moral authority for our gain of resources or political stability during the Cold War. We cared little for the consequences upon the people of Africa’s Great Lakes. During the Genocide we hid in nuances of grammar, legal technicalities, and political rhetoric. We could have done more. We were cowardly.
My people, the Balokole have sinned. We retreated into a world of the spirit and forgot the affairs of men on earth. When Independence came we did not offer a prophetic voice. We did not participate in building of enduring institutions. In the end, the killing fields of Rwanda were our own church buildings.
I have sinned. From my childhood, Rwanda fascinated me. My earliest Ugandan friends were Banyarwanda. Yet, when I read hateful literature that masqueraded as academic reasoning I was silent. When my Bazungu clan mates repeated mythology that would later justify Genocide I was silent. When the Genocide began I did not write a single letter or make a single phone call to any government official who could have made a difference.
I offer my God and the people of Rwanda my deepest apologies. I pray that my people and I will never act in a similar way again so help me God.