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Your location>Home>Publications>PeaceWays>Fall 2012

   
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What One Person Can Do
David Zarembka, AGLI Coordinator
From A Peace of Africa, pp 21-22.

At the beginning of the genocide in Rwanda, all expatriates who so desired were evacuated while their Rwandan Tutsi colleagues were left behind for slaughter. However, one American, Carl Wilkens, a Seventh Day Adventist aid worker, evacuated his wife and four children but refused to leave his Rwandan colleagues and stayed behind. During the genocide, Carl was supplying Gicimba orphanage, housing about four hundred Tutsi orphans, with food and water. As the interahamwe were closing in to kill the Tutsi boys at that orphanage, Carl spent the night in the orphanage to protect them and then, by chance, the next day he ran into the Rwandan Prime Minister, Jean Kambanda. Carl asked him to call off the interahamwe. This the Prime Minister did and the boys were saved. Another time he saved a hundred children and then again twelve genocide survivors. In other words, this one American who stayed behind saved more Rwandans from genocide than did the entire United States government with its military might of awe inspiring weaponry and hundreds of billions of dollars.