The country has made a miraculous recovery since the genocide 16 years ago. But is there a darker side to the success story?by Mary Fitzgerald / July 20, 2010 / Leave a comment
Published in August 2010 issue of Prospect Magazine
A nation rebuilding itself: children living in the foothills of Volcanoes National Park, where visitors flock to see wild gorillas. Tourism is now Rwanda’s leading foreign exchange earner
Half an hour’s drive south of Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, there is a church that houses the remains of 45,000 people, all of whom died in the 1994 genocide. The roof, walls and windows are dappled with bullet holes and bloodstains. On the floor lie heaps of dusty, torn garments; clothes worn by the 10,000 men, women and children who sought refuge here. Their bones—along with those of another 35,000 butchered in the surrounding Bugesera district—are piled in a vault underneath the church, in mass graves surrounding it, and in tarpaulin bags stacked up next to the chapel walls. When the Hutu militiamen finally broke into the church after a sustained barrage of bullets and grenades, they spared only one person, a pregnant woman. She was allowed to live because she was a Hutu; the Tutsi “cockroach” child she was carrying was cut out of her stomach and killed in front of her.