Globus event remembers 21st anniversary of Rwandan genocide

Heads bowed in the Meyer Science Center lecture hall in a moment of silence Tues­day night, silently lifting up prayers and remembering those slaughtered in the Rwandan Genocide 21 years ago, where the Hutu tribe killed 800,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsis within 100 days. Sophomore Richard Nde­kezi, a native Rwandan, initiated the night and the moment of si­lence. Globus hosted the event, titled “Redeeming Rwanda.”
Senior Nathan Heath, presi­dent of Globus, began the night by saying we do not focus on moment of silence, he said it is good to pause and remem­ber but also to note change.
Although much of the la­bor force was eliminated in the Genocide when people killed their good friends and neighbors under a government that taught hatred and discrimination, Rwanda is now ranked the least corrupt country in Africa and is in the top ranks of the World Bank annual business reports. Reconciliation occurs through grassroot courts, and forgive­ness is extended to anybody. The government says there are no Hutus or Tutsis, only Rwandans.
Genocide survivor Frida Gashumba called in from Ohio as the main speaker of the night. She told her own story or rec­onciliation af­ter she watched her grandpar­ents, parents and five siblings die. Gashum­ba herself was knocked uncon­scious and bur­ied alive until someone heard her screams and dug her out.
Gashumba did not cry un­til later when she realized that everybody she knew and loved had been killed. She was angry and in pain and in denial for a while. She spent time in a refugee camp with some relatives of her murdered moth­er but said she was “hard to love” because she was “so broken.”
However, at the age of 18, Gashumba gave her life to Christ and found hope in Him. She said she finally had a reason to live. Despite the horrors she underwent, Gashumba knew others had it worse. For ex­ample, she knew some women were raped and contracted HIV, and others were mothers whose children and husbands had died. She said that with this in mind, she is inspired to live another day. A panel of students and fac­ulty from Wheaton answered questions for an hour after Gashumba spoke. The panel be­gan with Captain David Iglesias and Ndekezi, with Professor Carla Lovett joining upon an impromptu request. She was at­tending the event with her Con­temporary African History class. Gashumba participated over the phone. Part way though, Lovett returned to the audience and al­lowed second year grad student and Rwandan Pastor Emmanu­el Ndolimana to take her place when Ndekezi called him out to answer a spiritual question.
Ndolimana and Ndekezi pointed out that Rwanda has much to teach the world, and Lovett agreed that the mod­ern day country is a mod­el of Christian love and a “model to develop a theol­ogy of conflict-resolution.”
Ndekezi said, “The Rwanda we are describing (in this event) is the Rwanda of 20 years ago … The Rwanda of today is a different one. It’s a Rwanda where businesses are boom­ing … where parents are send­ing their children to school … where everybody is looking for opportunities … we help bring peace to other war-torn areas.”
“It’s a country on the move, and it’s a country in which the Gospel has pen­etrated,” Ndekezi added.
Ndekezi said in an interview, “If Wheaton students want to see God’s practical work, it is important that they care about the Rwandan genocide. Rwanda is a key evidence that God can transform us regard­less of how deep in sin we are. It’s hard to believe that in a country where at least 1 million people perished, the perpetra­tors and the victims now can sit together in churches, can work together and laugh together.”
“Rwanda is a demonstration that forgiveness is real,” Ndekezi continued. “This forgiveness would not have been possible if God was not in the midst of the initiators of this process. There­fore, Wheaton students definite­ly have skirmishes on different things sometimes, but if some­one can forgive a person who killed her entire family, can’t you forgive someone who wronged you on a much smaller way?”
Rwandan native Ndolimana said, “At Wheaton I did a tough course, Systematic Theology. Though it was a lot of work, I feel that I’ve been equipped to articulate theology in appraising the issues … (I) can contextual­ize it and develop a theology to deal with the issues back home where we don’t have the re­sources … I’ll be going back to train others. That’s how I can appreciate the Wheaton com­munity that’s been there for me.”
Ndolimana travels through­out Africa and the world to preach. “We are looking to be part of the global Rwandan story to tell it to the world. It’s not only the Rwandan story — it’s the story of Jesus Christ.”

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