KIGALI, Rwanda—“Live deliberately, we are free.” The plane touched down after a series of bold storms. Des Moines was my destination, Rwanda my departure point. This month marks the anniversary of a time that will never fade to simple outline of a time, for the knowledge that we are free is forever solidified.
A land scarred by the loss of some of the most basic concepts of humanity marks the spot one of the most remarkable acts of forgiveness in human history. The world watched as Rwanda lapsed into the utterly terrifying detachment from all empathetic feeling: genocide.
Sixteen years of recovery from the absolute horror welcomed me one year ago. The younger generation of Rwanda is one of incredible courage. Losing mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, to the depravity of genocide cannot be grasped, but remarkably, recovered from.
I watched as a population that experienced the darkest depths of desecration embraced strength and understanding. Rwanda welcomed forgiveness.
Let us realize we are free, before we have to break through the chains of regret. We have some of the greatest resources in the world. Educate. Remind yourself that many us in America are privileged in that we wake up without the memories of mind-numbing genocide. Respect. Acknowledge those who walk with you, beside you. Judge less. Humanity is a kind of equal aptitude. If we were to face what Rwanda faced, I fully believe in our ability to reconcile. However, genocide must never have a chance for repeat.
Darfur is experiencing the terror of genocide. Darfur has been forgotten by our lives absorbed with work and redundancy. Raise your voice, and act on your abilities to make an effort, even a small one, to stop the desecration of the human race. No excuse exists for the betrayal of our acknowledgement of every single member of the human race.
We are capable of the petrifying. We are capable of forgiveness. Please, educate, respect. We are free.