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Rwanda 20 Years Ago


20th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide

Photo credit: Refugees made makeshift crosses to honor those who died in the Benaco Refugee Camp. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post). Originally posted as part of 11 Powerful Images from the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide.

Twenty years ago this month, the normal lives of Rwandans were uprooted. The love between neighbors and families that once created bridges between ethnic groups was replaced by fear, terror, and bloody deaths. It was a calculated massacre of the Tutsi ethnic group. A genocide organized by a small group of people in power and carried out by everyday citizens who were told if they didn’t join in the killing, they would be killed. The radio, once used to connect Rwandans, was used to disseminate the names of those who should be targeted. Neighbors took up machetes and family members killed one another. It was a horrific 100 days in which 800,000 to a million people died.

Last night I had the privilege of listening to two Rwandan survivors as part of