Hatred in Their Eyes
Florence Ntakarutimana, HROC facilitator, Burundi
story illustrates that peacemaking can begin as soon as the violence
has subsided enough to allow the protagonists to meet. These workshops
can become very intense and passionate so the facilitators need to see
that participants don’t become too angry and emotional. Florence
was introducing HROC to the Kenyans and this was one of the apprentice
workshops that she was leading.
During the workshop
I did in Kisii, Kenya, we were staying in the house of the chief, Francis,
a HROC facilitator. The workshop brought together three tribes--Kisii,
Kipsigis and Masai. When we started the workshop, you could read hatred
in their eyes. They were throwing bad words to each other at the beginning.
Actually, they were affected by the crisis between them as people are
in Burundi or Rwanda. But as we continued with the workshop they started
to reconcile themselves. During the time of sharing their experiences
people had a lot of tears.
I remember a man from Kisii tribe who stood up and shook the hands of
a Kipsigis and said, “You were my enemy. I have planned to kill
you with a spear. Now you have become my friend.” During the workshop
people continued to give testimonies of reconciliation and forgiveness.
They said that they are going to organize themselves, with the help
of Francis, the chief, to spread the word of peace and to help others
to do something on their trauma.
At the end of the workshop, Michael, a chief of the Masai community
who attended the workshop, called me and told me that he was going to
talk to the chief of Masaba district ["enemy district"] about
how they can stop killings between them.