Every genocide poses difficult questions.
The 1994 genocide in Rwanda took the lives of 800,000 or more people, mostly Tutsi, moderate Hutu, and others of blended ethnicity. Since 1994, the international community has engaged in a vast exercise, trying to unravel exactly what happened. But for Christians, Rwanda poses an especially dark puzzle: How could Christians day after day slaughter with impunity ethnically different Christians in one of the most intensively evangelized parts of Africa?
Three new survivor narratives give some insight into this puzzle, but even more, they show God's redemptive hand in the midst of the chaos.
In Left to Tell, Tutsi Catholic Immaculée Ilibagiza recounts her unimaginable ordeal of living for 91 days confined with up to seven other women in a tiny bathroom in a moderate Hutu pastor's home in southwest Rwanda.
In An Ordinary Man, Paul Rusesabagina, whose life story inspired the film Hotel Rwanda, gives a book-length version of his life before, during, and after the genocide. In early April 1994, hotel manager Rusesabagina filled his rooms with 1,268 people and helped them survive by drinking swimming pool water and eating scavenged food. All this was in spite of persistent efforts by militias to assault the hotel for 76 days.
Genocidal killing sprees in this region of Africa began in 1959. During the following 35 years, more than 100,000 Hutu and Tutsi were killed in Rwanda and Burundi, leading up to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
In This Voice in My Heart, star athlete Gilbert Tuhabonye from Burundi tells how after the 1993 assassination of the newly elected Hutu president, Hutu extremists attacked his school in Burundi. They tied up hundreds of Tutsi students, including him. They herded the ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more