I came home for Easter holiday in April 1994, and three days later the president was killed. The government blamed the Tutsi for the assassination, and they gave orders to murder every Tutsi in the country, from babies to elders. It was an excuse. The genocide had been planned for a very a long time, and the death of the president was just a pretext to start the killings.

The government had lists of people they wanted to kill, and the whole country descended into madness. My parents were worried about me and sent me to hide at a neighbor's house, who was a member of the other tribe in Rwanda, the Hutu. They hoped that we would see each other again when the violence had died down in three or four days. The man hid me and seven other women in a small bathroom. We ended up spending three months in this small 3-by-4-foot bathroom.

During those three months, the house was constantly searched by Hutus. They were looking for Tutsis so they could kill them. It was agonizing. We were waiting to die every single day. I prayed and prayed to God to save us. If they didn't find us, it would be by his grace. After three months, the genocide was over and a million people had been killed, including my parents, my two brothers, my grandparents and many other family members and neighbors. It felt like the end of the world to me. It was unreal, and not easy to accept. I still cry to this day, but I have accepted it.

I have forgiven all the people who killed my family after a long, personal battle of rage and thoughts of hate. The thing that shocked me then, and still does today, is how damaging hatred can be. I asked myself then, "What could we have done, or not done, to avoid what occurred?" I wanted an answer. I had to find an answer, otherwise I'd have a life without hope, a life not worth living. The answer was there, as simple as can be. I thought, "If only people could have loved each other and respected each other, this would not have happened." Love is all we needed for the genocide not to be, for a million people not to die, for my parents to still be alive.

The real price of injustice


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