Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Rwanda Express"

After a short 2 hour flight up and over Lake Victoria, I have safely arrived in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. It is very strange and not remotely what I expected but a nice change of pace. It is a huge switch from Tanzania which is hectic, dusty, gritty, chaotic. In contrast Rwanda is almost a bit too Stepford Wives. It is all so civil and organized. It is hard to believe that is was only 15 years ago that hacked up bodies were literlly stacked up on the streets here during the 1994 genocide. In 100 days over 1 million people were shot, machetied, hacked up, men women and children, killed by men women in children. This equals 10,000 people a day and Rwanda is a very small country. If anyone has seen the movie Hotel Rwanda I am actually in the town where that hotel is. If you have seen the movie you remember the brutality. It really does not seem possible that it occured right here. I feel like I could be in any European city.
I met a girl last night in Arusha who works at the Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal which is situated in Arusha. This is where they are still doing trials for all of the major players in the genocide. She had recently been to Rwanda and she said basically the same thing. That it was almost creepy how civilized it is now. Like they just wallpapered over what happened. It is a highly policed state. Guys with guns even walking around the mall.
What is strange to me is that a very large number of civlians were perpetrating the killings. In such chaos certainly you would never really know who was doing what. Surely many of those people still walk the streets of Kigali. It is weird to think I may be walking past people who hacked up men, women, and children. Morbid I know but you can not help but think about it when you first arrive here.

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