This weekend the New York Times ran a piece, Portraits of Reconciliation, showing photos of perpetrators and victims of the Rwandan genocide together.
These words stopped me cold:
MUKAMUSONI: “He killed my child, then he came to ask me pardon. I immediately granted it to him because he did not do it by himself — he was haunted by the devil. I was pleased by the way he testified to the crime instead of keeping it in hiding, because it hurts if someone keeps hiding a crime he committed against you. Before, when I had not yet granted him pardon, he could not come close to me. I treated him like my enemy. But now, I would rather treat him like my own child.”
The painful peace and hard earned forgiveness of the perpetrators and those that have granted pardon are evident. If Rwandans are brave enough to forgive the genocide…can’t we all forgive?
It’s also evident that in talking to their victims and owning up to their “evil deeds” the perpetrators are able to begin to forgive themselves as well. Arresting images.