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Your location>Home>Publications>PeaceWays>Fall 2007

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There is Béatrice who endured unimaginable suffering and still found the strength to forgive. There is Pasteur Théophile who could not even speak to his neighbors before the workshop but is now counseling them. There is Samuel who gave up his family, friends, and safety for the truth and now lives with government guards surrounding his house. There is Venancie who took the hand of her enemy and let him lead her through darkness to come out fearless on the other side.

These are just a few of the remarkable people that HROC has touched since it began four years ago. There are hundreds more whose stories are too numerous to fit into these bounded pages. They stand as proof that another way is possible, that with the right vehicle and inspiration, healing and reconciliation can take place.

After years of oppression, division, and bloodshed, the task of deconstructing the ideology of genocide and breaking the cycle of violence in Rwanda is enormous. Healing and rebuilding communities is indeed an uphill battle, but one that needs to be undertaken. For the first time in decades Rwandans are attending HROC workshops and going beyond ethnicity to a place where labels do not represent who a person is or could be. Within the walls of barren rooms across the country, people are becoming more than just “Hutu” or “Tutsi,” more than just “survivors” or “released prisoners;” they are becoming human beings who refuse to be defined by a single part of their identity.

Alone the HROC program cannot achieve reconciliation, but as François and others have testified, it can create a space where two people – two people who have every reason in the world to hate each other - choose to love one another instead. It is not happening quickly, but workshop by workshop, person by person, Rwandans are choosing love.