How I survived the genocide in Rwanda: Caritas Uwizera at the IAC 2019

Becoming a refugee yourself changes everything.

Becoming a refugee yourself changes everything.
Since the beginning of times people moved around in the world, for one reason or other. Survival certainly was the most urgent reason, then and today, the search for a place to live in peace. Although in the past there was more likelihood to find some “free” space in the world because we were less humans on this planet, clashes between resident people and newcomers happened frequently. Either wars decided who could stay where or the people found an agreement where the former residents often were left with the feeling of being invaded by foreigner with whom they don’t want to deal, really.

In present days we witness nations building walls against refugees and migrants in their often completely irrational fears which hinder them to understand the benefit of a renewal of their population and the workforce. Other nations declare the saving of human life as a crime against their nation, as happens in Italy where every rescue ship has to fight for anchoring in an harbour to get the people off board who they had saved from drowning.

We, who are safely living in our countries, hear the news, maybe we feel that something is not right there, that we should treat other human beings in a humane and respectful way. But we don’t feel responsable and not too much concerned with the destiny of those unfortunate beings – until we enter into a similar situation where we begin to feel their desperation because it has become ours.

This is the story of Caritas Uwizera from Rwanda. In her contribution at the Integral African Conference she tells us the whole story, from her carelessly passing the refugee areas in her country, not really inclined to do anything for them, to her becoming a courageous refugee from the genocide in her country. She was fortunate to have survived the horror, bur becoming a refugee, risking one’s life any moment and being at the mercy of others for survival has changed her life profoundly.

I listened to her story and my heart and my eyes cried. When will we humans become humain? When will we stop killing and seed terror? When will the endless chain of living and inflicting trauma stop? Although we have a 2000 year long Christian tradition which preaches love, even in the 21st century we encourage hate and separation, we allow terrifying aggressivity against “the other”, as long as we feel distant and in research for our own safety – which has never been as high in our Western countries as it is today. The ancient phantom of being overrun by the enemy is still in our unconscious mind and directs our decisions. When will we finally deal with our shadows? It seems so much easier to project our own fears on others instead of cleaning up our inner spaces. But we will continue to pay for that, like all generations before us did. The only difference is that with our modern technologies our wars can be fatal for the whole planet! Better learn to face the own inner refugee, the own “other” and the own killer in our hearts and heal the wounds than fall pray to unconscious drives of separation, hate and destruction. What we do to the other, ultimately we do to ourselves. And we seem to be suicidal in our present world! If you feel that you are in love of LIFE, listen to Caritas’ story, allow yourself to be moved and revisit your prejudices and inner demons and tame them in a life affirming way!

“Conversations That Matter” for August 24th, 2019

About Caritas Uwizera

Her life story can be watched in the video above. She presently is the Programme Manager at Henley Business School in Johannesburg, South Africa


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