Free Newsletter:

RSS
Grooves of Houston - Houston's Premier Upscale Nightspot

Review: Documentary Shows Reconciliation After Rwandan Genocide

Forgiveness is the Final Form of Love

By Todd A. Smith

          Imagine if you witnessed someone you knew murder your entire family.  The tragedy of witnessing something this horrific was beginning to subside, until the murderer is released early and sent back to the same community in which you lived.  Would you be able to forgive someone who completely destroyed your life permanently?

            That is a question that many survivors of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 had to answer when Rwandan President Paul Kagame released 50,000 Hutu inmates, convicted of killing one million Tutsi civilians in less than 100 days from early April to mid July 1994.  The inmates’ re-assimilation into a new Rwanda is captured beautifully in the documentary "As We Forgive," produced and directed by Laura Waters Hinson.

            Although minorities in Rwanda, the Tutsis were initially the landowners and the Hutus worked the land, which caused a socioeconomic divide, not ethnic.  However, the Belgians would use the Tutsi minority to oppress the Hutu majority, which caused them to seek revenge when they gained power.

            The documentary is a terrific portrayal of the power of forgiveness, as survivors of the Rwandan genocide are encouraged to participate in a program, which allows the perpetrators to seek the mercy from their victims in an attempt to build a more unified Rwanda.

            The film focuses on five people, with very different perspectives of the Rwandan genocide.

            Rosaria is one of the Tutsi survivors who, pregnant at the time, was sliced with a machete and beaten in the chest with a gun.  Of all of the members of her family, she and her unborn daughter were the only ones to survive the Rwandan genocide, witnessing the death of her sister and her children.

            Saveri, a 40-year-old Hutu, who killed seven Tutsi civilians during the Rwandan genocide, is the confessed killer of Rosaria’s family members.  Saveri, who said he was forced to kill or face retribution from his fellow Hutus, is still haunted by the nightmare he caused for Rosaria’s family.  He does not believe that God will ever forgive him for his atrocities.

            However, by participating in reconciliation workshops, hosted by the local Anglican Church, Saveri builds houses for Tutsi survivors including Rosaria in an attempt to gain their forgiveness.

            Chantale is 36-years-old and was married with a child before the Rwandan genocide.  She watched the murder of her husband by John, a close friend of her husband.  Chantale and her brother are the only survivors in their family of 30 people.

            Of all of the Tutsi survivors, Chantale finds it most difficult to forgive, because before the uprising John was a close family friend, who regularly drank beer with her husband.  She is initially hesitant to show any mercy for the Hutu killers and is unable to attend church because the congregation is almost completely Hutu, after the murders of all the Tutsi members.

            Despite the reluctance of the adults to reconcile their difference, the film also features a student named Joy who was a child during the Rwandan genocide.  The Tutsi teenager is class president at Son Rise School and represents the new Rwanda, with less ethnic tension and more unified pride.

            Despite the savagery of the Rwandan genocide, "As We Forgive" is a beautiful reminder of how strong the human spirit is, and how powerful forgiveness can be in healing a family, community or country.

            Reinhold Nlebuhr once stated, “Forgiveness is the final form of love.”  And with the love that is now being shown between groups who were initially enemies, Rwanda may finally be able to move on from the most horrific chapter in the country’s history.

Smith is publisher of Regal Black Men's Magazine.

This article was published on Thursday 05 November, 2009.
Current Comments: 0
Write Review



Back to main topic: Documentaries
Magazine Topics:
New Articles
All Topics
 About Us ->
 Archives ->
 Business ->
 Community ->
 Entertainment ->
   Black Hollywood
   Celebrity Interviews
   Celebrity News
   Film ->
     Academy Awards
     Action
     Action Comedy
     Action Films
     Adventure
     Animation
     Biopics
     Blaxploitation
     Book Adaptations
     Buddy Comedies
     Comedy
     Comedy/Romantic Comedy
     Comic Book Movies
     Coming of Age Films
     Crime Movies
     Dark Comedy
     DC Comic Films
     Documentaries
     Drama
     Dramedy
     DVD Reviews
     Feel Good Movies
     Gangster Flicks
     Heist Films
     Historical Dramas
     Holiday Films
     Horror
     Horror/Suspense
     Inspirational Films
     Live Action
     Martial Arts Films
     Marvel Films
     Music Biopics
     Musicals
     Mystery
     Noir
     Period Pieces
     Prequels
     Psychological Thrillers
     Regal Movie Awards
     Religious Films
     Romance
     RomCom
     Satire
     Sci-Fi
     Science Fiction
     Sequels
     Shorts
     Spoofs
     Sports Films
     Spy Films
     Superhero Movies
     Suspense
     Thrillers
     True Stories
     War Films
     Westerns
     Zombie Movies
   Live Productions
   Most Beautiful Women of the Year
   Music ->
   Pop Culture
   Regal Roundtable
   Stand Up Comedy
   Television ->
 Lifestyle ->
 Opinion ->
 Regal Queens
 Sports ->
Articles RSS Feed