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The murderers are back

Erschienen in "Cicero", Dezember 2011. Fotos: Éric Vazzoler

Von Autor Markus Wanzeck

Rwanda has been a wounded nation since the 1994 genocide. A portrait of a small NGO that tries to reconcile killers and survivors.

The circle is square: Four long wooden benches between the gangly tree trunks of a eucalyptus grove. On them, three dozen men and women, sitting, silently, their gazes lowered. Survivors of the genocide meet the perpetrators. The ‘groupe de rapprochement’ on the hillock at the center of the town of Kanyinya in southern Rwanda.

Dieudonné Munyankiko and his colleague Ignace Ndayahundwa besprechen sich kurz. Then they stand up and alternate speaking to the assembled people. “We thank you for your courage in coming here today,” Munyaniko says. “We know that some of you are subject to threats and ridicule.”

Ndayahundwa continues: “Say honestly what you think. But don’t name names! Remember, all of us have suffered injuries. Even the murderers.” The two distribute pens and paper as the meeting divides into two groups.

The survivors gather around a woman with a baseball cap. She takes notes that will later be presented to the group. “No possibility of speaking openly outside the group. Fear.” “Survivors are excluded. Loneliness.” “Murderers are tried and convicted but do not pay compensation. Feelings of hatred” ….