According to the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus was crucified at a place
outside of Jerusalem known as Golgotha – the place of the skull. After
visiting 6 of Rwanda’s many genocide memorial sites, I sometimes start to
feel like every village, every town, has its Golgotha. And yet there is so
much more to Rwanda – verdant fields of coffee, bananas and corn; tech
hubs; hope and determination.
Yesterday I visited Bisesero, where Tutsis armed themselves with spears and
rocks and somehow managed to hold off the Interahamwe trying to kill them.
They managed to do this for about a month, when the then-interim government
sent a detachment of troops armed with guns and overwhelmed the sites,
killing more than 50,000 people. The memorial consists of three houses of
three rooms each filled with skulls and bones, a mass grave, and a monument
to the resistance fighters.
Mathias Mucyo, the guide at the site, lost seven siblings, his parents and
numerous other relatives in the genocide. As he led us around, along paths
that zigzag between buildings to symbolize the way Tutsis had to flee from
hill to hill to avoid the genocidaires, I grew exhausted. I can’t imagine
what it was like to be running for your life up these steep hills, carrying
a child and your possessions on your back, searching for a safe haven that
either didn’t last or didn’t exist.