“I have always perceived Gahigi as a killer—but I now see him as a human being because of his confession today.”
- A participant in the Bugesera Dialogue Club
This Dialogue Club has for the past two sessions been talking about the theme of gusasa inzobe—literally meaning bitter truth. It is difficult to translate exactly, but it means being sincere in all you tell others.
First of all, for the Dialogue Club members to be able to speak truthfully about their experiences regarding our unity (and disunity) as Rwandans, it all depends on how good the facilitators are. I therefore want to appreciate Tutagengwa and Violette, and everyone who has worked with them to build their skills as facilitators. I can't say that my two days of training have made them as great as they are. They were already wonderful.
As facilitators, Tutagengwa and Violette have embraced the approach of letting discussants speak whenever they are ready or when they want to. Because of this approach, some Dialogue Club members felt freed to speak openly with no pressure and no fear of the other members around.
“Gahigi, from today onwards, I would like you to be my true friend because of the truth you have told us. There are so many hypocrites who are hindering our reconciliation because they cannot tell the truth as you did,” said a Tutsi lady who had returned back to Rwanda after the genocide.
She added, “I have always perceived Gahigi as a killer because I knew he killed people--but I now see him as a human being because of his confession today. I forgive you, Gahigi.”
“If all people were like Gahigi, the world would be a paradise,” another genocide survivor added.
How do we really spread the great outcomes of these dialogue sessions? I think it would be great to keep a record of people like Gahigi and the survivors, and bring them to a platform where their voices could be heard or read by many people across Rwanda. In the meantime, I thought it would be good to share Mr. Gahigi's story for you all to know the result of the good work the Healing Our Communities team is doing for a better Rwanda.
Murakoze cyane--Thanks a lot.
The Healing Our Communities program combines community dialogue with trauma healing and youth-led initiatives, and raises community voices to advise government. The consortium includes Karuna Center and three Rwandan organizations: Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace, which developed the "Dialogue Club" model; Aegis Trust; and Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities. It is supported by a grant from USAID.