Rwanda: Tarnished? Triumphant? By Jacob Tyson, Sarah Kohr, and Ethan Olney

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Table of contents

Introduction…………………………………………………………………………....………….........................................................……..1

Us- A poem by Jacob Tyson……………………………………………....……………..…..............................................…..…….1

Rwanda: Brave or buried?- A documentary by Ethan Olney…………………………………….............................2

Our Sins- A poem by Jacob Tyson……………………………………………………….…..........................................………..3

More than Machetes- Artwork by Sarah Kohr………………………………………...……....................................……….4

Bibliography………………………………..…………………………………………………...........................................................……….5

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Machetes, blood, hate…Rwanda in a nutshell? Almost 800,000 people died in the Rwandan genocide. Ethnic tensions simmering for a century between Hutus and Tutsis ultimately culminated in this massive, grisly Hutu-on-Tutsi confrontation. The Rwandan Patriotic Front, a Tutsi rebel group, eventually stormed the country’s capital, Kigali, and, though putting an end to the killing of Tutsis, began to carry out its own attacks against the Hutus. Over a Thousand Hills I walk with you, by Hanna Jansen, gives a detailed account of the beginning of the genocide from the point-of-view of Jeanne, a young Tutsi girl. Throughout the novel, Jeanne lost her childhood innocence after witnessing many traumatizing actions committed by her own countrymen. Seeing the merciless machete swinging at her mother again and again, witnessing her brother beaten by a crowd, and she almost getting killed at every roadblock along the way to the city she was trying to escape to couldn’t break her resolve to live. Eventually, through the help of some friends, Jeanne was able to make her way to Germany and find a loving family to adopt her, leaving her country behind forever. This is the Rwanda that everyone knows, but is there anything redeeming about this country? Paul Kigami, the country’s president, has been working hard to lift the country’s reputation from the muck it’s been wallowing in for years. The economy of Rwanda has increased, along with its life expectancy. Tourists increasingly visit Rwanda, a land of great beauty, as it’s home to Nyungwe National Park, which includes 227 km of trails, 86 mammal species, and 1,100 unique varieties of plants. Rwanda is continuing to add to these trails, as well as making it easy for tourist to see their rare species of gorillas. To top it off, Rwandans have started making peace with each other: Hutus and Tutsis attending the same churches, helping each other in the community, and attending classes intended to foster reconciliation and to replant Rwanda into a region of regrowth.

Rwanda needs to have a transformed image in the eyes of the world. Changing the perspective about Rwanda is important, not only to give credit where credit is due—the country is admirably adamant in its refusal to stay stagnant—but, if we can’t look past the shortcomings of a nation—no matter how grisly—we smother the country’s ability to grow in the world. This magazine will attempt to introduce a profoundly different view of Rwanda to its readers. Poems by Jacob Tyson will introduce emotionally to the audiences not just the pain of the genocide, but also the hope Rwandans experience as they move past their dark past. A documentary by Ethan Olney will educate the viewers about the remarkable turnaround the country has achieved. Finally, the painting by Sarah Kohr will portray the picturesque nature of Rwanda, the “Land of a Thousand Hills”.

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Here is a poem about forgiveness and renewal through a Tutsis perspective.

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Us

They look like us,

Walk and talk like us,

But they aren't us,

Though they walk and talk like us,

Because of what they've done to us.

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Our families have suffered,

Our friends have lost,

As the days got rougher,

We paid a great

And terrible cost.

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There were machetes swinging

When our singing

Turned to screaming,

And our children woke

From their peaceful dreaming.

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But that was back then,

And this is now.

We all must learn to

Accept them and

Forgive them. Somehow.

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There must be a new "Us"

One that truly means us.

And that means all of us.

No matter our ethnicity we are us.

We are the same now: you, me, .......Us.

The following documentary will educate you about the comeback Rwanda has experianced.

Here is another poem about forgiveness and repentance from a Hutu perspective.

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Our Sins

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We have done terrible things.

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Apologies mean nothing

To those who have lost everything.

We will never be the same.

We must never forget.

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We slaughtered them

Without thinking twice.

We followed orders blindly

Like three blind mice.

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Now they return to our home

Finally not having to roam

In the wilderness that was so harsh

After we chased them away.

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We ruined their homes and

Burnt their buildings.

We killed so many without any feelings.

How can we ever be forgiven.

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But they are so kind.

They pay no mind

To the things we have done

And instead invite us to play and drum.

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They go to church with us

And are even giving us classes

To learn by the masses

That we are forgiven and we can move on.

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We have been forgiven.

The following picture was crafted by Sarah Kohr to reflect the natural beauty of Rwanda.

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The artwork, “More than the Machetes” represents the beauty within Rwanda.

This piece has four main topics. The wildlife in Rwanda, the Rwandan Genocide Memorial, the Nyungwe National Park and the Gishwati-Mukura National Park. The pictures are arranged in the shape of hills to represent Rwanda’s nickname of “the land of a thousand hills.” The beauty of these pictures proves that there is much more to Rwanda than just the genocide.

Rwanda has an extensive amount of mammals and reptiles. The pictures included show just a few of the animals that can be seen. The most famous animals in Rwanda is the gorillas and monkeys. This national park includes chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, mountain monkeys, blue monkeys, and golden monkeys (5 Reasons Why Rubavu Is Rwanda’s New Hot Spot for Tourism). In addition to the gorillas, Rwanda has more than 1,100 plant species, 280 bird species, 86 mammal species, 43 reptile species, and 31 amphibian species (Torr). These species can be seen year round and visitors are very welcome.

As most people know, Rwanda had a genocide in 1994 that lasted 100 days. Now there is a genocide memorial in Kigali that recognizes those killed, unrecognized murderers, and the children who lost their lives(“Memorial-- Kigali Genocide Memorial”). It informs any visitors of what really happened and shows the magnitude of genocide. The memorial has a way of bringing beauty to the situation. At the memorial you can find the final resting places of those deceased decorated with flowers and statues.

Nyungwe National Park is considered an “undiscovered gem” (Torr). This park is connected with Kibira National Park and is home to one of the oldest forests. This single park is home to 100 orchid species and 200 tree species, some growing to be over 60 meters tall (Torr). Beauty can be seen in the red flowers of the Symphonia tree and in the biodiversity of the park (Torr). This park is great for tourists as it includes a welcome center in Uwinka where guides offer a warm welcome.

Another great place to visit in Rwanda is Gishwati-Mukura National Park. This park is also great for tourists. It includes 227 km worth of trails and tours throughout the park (5 Reasons why Rubavu Is Rwanda’s New Hot Spot for Tourism). Tours are also available on the Pfunda Tea Estate, where they grow and distribute tea raised without pesticides (5 Reasons why Rubavu Is Rwanda’s New Hot Spot for Tourism). Rwanda is renowned for all of the monkeys it is home to. Rwandan tourist leaders are trying to find a way to make it even easy for tourists to see these animals. In addition to this, people who are in the mood for a challenge can take the trek to the top of the Karisimbi Volcano, one of the tallest in the world (5 Reasons why Rubavu Is Rwanda’s New Hot Spot for Tourism). In addition, the crystal clear blue waters of Lake Kivu, the safest lake in Africa, can be easily observed through sea kayaking (5 Reasons why Rubavu Is Rwanda’s New Hot Spot for Tourism).

In the final analysis, there are many more notable things about Rwanda than just the genocide. Visitors can observe animals and plants, tour the genocide memorial, hike the trails of Nyungwe National Park, and explore the Gishwati-Mukura National Park. Beauty can be seen everywhere in Rwanda, you just have to look past what you know.

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Created with images by Free Grunge Textures - www.freestock.ca - "Rwanda Grunge Flag" • hjallig - "Rwandan flag"

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