Dear Rev. Daniel Hanlon
First of all I take this opportunity to thank you and acknowledge that work your organization and church is doing in Rwanda. Although I might not agree with everything you do and say about your work in Rwanda, I cannot fail to acknowledge some contributions that your work has done in Rwanda in the last decade. We Rwandans pray that may the Good Lord continue using you in a more positive way to benefit Rwandans both spiritually and physically.
As I was looking for some articles to read about the issue of spirituality and reconciliation in Rwanda after 20 years since the 1994 Rwandan Genocide I came across your article on PEAR USA. I was captured by the heading which says: “Why Is Our Relationship with Rwanda Significant? I started reading your article to make sure I understood you well, especially considering the overwhelming concerns that I have heard from Rwandans from different quarters expressing their views about what your organization does in Rwanda. After reading your reasons why you are involved in Rwanda I decided to sit down and use the same pain to reply to your article with some observations from someone like me who is a Rwanda and understands what is happening in Rwanda.
This is how you started your article. “I live and minister in Kigali, Rwanda within the Anglican Church (PEAR). So the Rwanda connection is absolutely significant, at least to my family. But I also believe our relationship with Rwanda is extremely important for our PEARUSA churches in the following ways:”
· First, it allows us the necessary proximity to hear Christian voices other than our own. There is much we can learn from those who are different from us. We grow from the challenge of seeing an issue from a different point of view. The church in Rwanda may be able to speak into our lives and situations if we are willing to listen. My own thinking about reconciliation has deepened as I’ve learned from our brothers and sisters who are walking the hard road of healing and forgiveness after the genocide. To see perpetrators and survivors living in community challenges my conceptions of what unity in Christ looks like in practice.
Dear Reverend, you are absolutely right. There is a lot you can learn from each other. As someone who studied Intercultural Communications and missiology, I agree with you that western Christians, especially those from US should take time once in a while and visit other parts of the world and experience another way of worshiping the Lord. It benefits them in two ways, first they come to learn how fortunate they are compared to other people, and two they learn that they are several ways to communion with God through diversity.
However, I would like to differ from your statement that says: “My own thinking about reconciliation has deepened as I’ve learned from our brothers and sisters who are walking the hard road of healing and forgiveness after the genocide. To see perpetrators and survivors living in community challenges my conceptions of what unity in Christ looks like in practice.” This sentence is a core to your existence and purpose of you as an individual or your organization as PEAR is in Rwanda. Majority of Rwandans who have been and still are under the oppressive leadership in this country disagrees with your statement. In facts they accuse you of being an instrument of division and favouritism that is judgemental, which is absolutely opposite to what you said you stand for, spreading the good news of the Lord. PEAR has promoted RPF domination in Rwanda through its projects and fundraising in US. As someone who hails from the Anglican church of Rwanda in Northern Rwanda I understand what I am talking about.
PEAR has been an instrument of humiliation for Hutus who live in this country. Like most Americans, especially those who call themselves Christians have worked so hard to portray all Hutus as genocidaires as you have put it so well in your own sentence that “perpetrators (Hutus) and survivors (Tutsi) living in community work together to promote reconciliation. When you call all Hutus perpetrators in a country where 80% of the youth are Hutus you are continuing to humiliate them so that they will always feel guilty of things they never did. You are telling Tutsis as you have always done in the past that they are innocent people who have nothing to fear therefore they should go to school and come back lead over the so called perpetrators which is an American made connotation to Hutu community in this country. Why am I speaking out now? Because I am tired of an American imperialism in this Rwanda and your hypocrisy.
When you call Hutus perpetrators you forget that some Tutsis lead by Kagame invaded a sovereign state supported by American church. You ignore that RPF lead by Tutsis came killing people in Byumba and Ruhengeri. You forget that RPF shot down a plane of a legitimate president of Rwanda Habyarimana Juvenal which allowed RPF to engage in a new campaign of an onslaught on Rwandan people in order to take power in Kigali. You forget that it used to be called Rwandan genocide because millions of people from all sides were massacred. You forget that Hutus lost more than 4 million people in the hands of RPF. You forget to watch the BBC Two documentary called Rwanda the untold story where it details what really happened in Rwanda. Most importantly you forget that your organization has been always unfair by sending Tutsi kids to go and study in USA whereas you send Hutu kids for vocational training in the nearby Kenya so that they are intellectually unable to lead and yet they make up more than 80% of the Rwandans. You as Americans would you allow someone to come from outside shoot your president, take over power, and rule over you regardless? If you cannot accept injustice in your own country why do you go supporting injustice in African countries? Start from your own Anglican church here in Rwanda, how many Hutus in leadership positions and yet 80% of your church members are Hutus? Does it mean that Hutus because they are perpetrators as you always refer to them are incapable of leading the church of which they had lead since 1960?
See video of Hutu refugees being killed in Tingi-Tingi DRC
See video of Hutu refugees being killed in Tingi-Tingi DRC
Reconciliation in Rwanda
I hope you are not serious otherwise if the Good Lord exists you will definitely account for your time in Rwanda. You walk in the streets of Kigali, go to offices, come back attend church leadership meetings, go to scholarships meetings, and walk down the streets and look at the armies, then you see all official jobs and business in Rwanda then you stand before God and talk about re-conciliation, with whom?
Would you allow Spanish people in US to take over the same way the Kagame government has taken over everything leaving Hutus nothing but to beg on the streets? Allow me to use my intellectual ability and help you understand what reconciliation would look like in Rwanda:
1. If Rwandans were reconciled we would see people who have been held in various prisons across the country being able to access justice so that the guilty are sentenced and the innocent are sent home to be with their families. Did you know that majority of the people in jail in Rwanda are Hutu intellectuals and the ones you call perpetrators are free in their villages because they were illiterates therefore they won’t compete for any job or contest any RPF decisions thus they are free people?
2. If there was any reconciliation in Rwanda we would see justice for all. This means that we would know who killed close to 4 million Hutus and allow Hutus who lost their loved ones to mourn for their as Tutsis have been doing so for their relatives. We would have been told who shot Habyarimanas plane and who killed Karegeya and others.
3. If there was reconciliation in Rwanda more than 400000 Hutu refugees stuck in DRC for over 20 years would have come back home and have access to healthcare, water, liberty, and education for their children.
4. If Rwanda knew anything called reconciliation all RPF army would be a Rwandan army where all Rwandan tribes are represented and people would be allowed to identify themselves as God created them that is being a Hutu would not be a crime as you always refer to them as perpetrators.
· Our sending church hosts a bocce ball tournament to raise money and awareness for Sunrise School in Shyira Diocese. Prayers are offered on Sundays for pastors and parishes by name. Regular trips keep the connection vital. There are many other ways churches and individuals have already participated in the work of the church in Rwanda, yet there is still so much room for involvement. I am glad you mentioned Shyira where I was born and lived until 2010. Were you bothered to ask the people of Shyira what RPF did to them in 1998? Where is my family which was in Vunga? What happened to them? My entire family was killed one by one and I survived because I climbed avocado tree. Who killed our people in Shyira? Did your organization ever bother to ask where the people who used to lead the church of Shyira are now? I am sure many of them are in jail being accused of killing people but if you knew the history of that region there were no Tutsis in the region so we don’t understand how a pastor in Shyira killed a tribe which never existed in the area in the first place. Were you told that Kagame, Nyamwasa, and some American companies had started thinking of planting a tobacco farm the entire of Ruhengeri and Gisenyi because RPF had killed more than a third of the residents of this region and were determined to exterminate all of them? Now you can talk about reconciliation.
· You talked about Hawaii to the islands of Lake Kivu but you failed to mention one important thing that characterizes the Island of Idjwi or Iwawa. According to the New York Times a newspaper I am sure you appreciate since it is an American one went there and it discovered that 100% of the young boys detained there were Hutus. Please see the documentary here: World: Rwanda's Island Prison:...SEE THE VIDEO BELOW. You as people of Christ interested in peace and reconciliation have you ever questioned your good friends of RPF and a man of the Cross Rucahana why only Hutu kids were taken to IWAWA? Or as you put it RPF took them there as a preparation for heaven?
As you and your family continue to participate in this significant relationship in unique ways, and see more individuals and churches catch this vision and enter more deeply into relationship with the church in Rwanda, please remember the following things:1) Rwanda is an occupied land and when people are occupied they always look for ways to liberate themselves and when they do they make sure they crush all the walls of oppression when this happens whether during your own and my own time or not know that we will all account for what God gave us to do and didn’t do it. 2) As you continue being passionate about helping churches and individuals connect with what God is doing in Rwanda, remember that Hutus are not perpetrators and were forced into actions by those who invaded Rwanda, killed two Hutu residents, and killed millions of Hutu in Kibeho and Tingitingi. Remember that all money PEAR fundraises for Rucahana is used to buying weapons to exclude millions of Rwandans from achieving their freedom and self-determination of which America is not happy about and most of American church because you work for your own end not God’s. 3) Remember that reconciliation in Rwanda is a mirage as long as whoever shot the plane is not brought to justice and those who killed millions of Hutus are not bought to books. Remember, God always speak to people in different ways this might be one of them so that you stop siding with people because they have power but speak the Truth because that what Jesus would have done if he was assigned to Rwanda to promote truth and reconciliation. Peace!!!!To feel free to contact me: Dan.J.Hanlon@gmail.com.
REV. AMINADAB NKURIKIYINKA BISERUKA
Speaking Truth to Empower