Living Ubuntu volunteer, Alicia Buly, has been meeting with survivors of genocide and interviewing them for our blog. These pieces are absolutely essential reading. Many of these survivors will be speakers at the April film series events. Three of the interviews are below.
When we heard that the international soldiers were leaving the country, it was a disappointment. We were discouraged then. It was like a betrayal. They were betraying us. – Edith Umugiraneza
Finding Strength in Testimony – An Interview with Edith Umugiraneza (April 1 – Rwanda)
My grandmother asked: “Are there any Armenians left?” What she and her companion had witnessed during the deportation made them think they were the only Armenians left in the world. – Levon Marashlian
Activism Through Education – An Interview with Levon Marashlian (April 2 – Armenian)
My grandmother talked about how peaceful life was before the genocide… …after the Khmer Rouge, everything changed. – Zaklin Phat
Cambodia’s Past Shapes America’s Future – An Interview with Zaklin Phat (April 3 – Cambodia)
This morning I read an email from a dear friend I have known for years, yet never met in person. He was born and raised in Darfur, now thankfully studying abroad in safety. His email was about his extreme concern for his family and friends that remain in his homeland, the violence having once again recently escalated. This year alone has displaced hundreds of thousands.
My friend knows all too well what can happen, having lost myriad friends and family members to this seemingly endless genocide already. He knows when a family member comes to visit, it may be their last. He knows that a long walk for the family’s water may result in death upon return. He knows firsthand that those who protest in peace risk detention and torture. He knows full well that sometimes they are released after a few days, and sometimes they are not. Continue reading
We can’t do it alone. We’ve already done the best we can alone.
– Robert Hilton
Here’s a scenario familiar to many psychotherapists. A client seeks help after having been abused by someone in their history. Either the abuse has never been discussed, or the perpetrator denies it. The client feels powerless as if healing can only progress by getting the perpetrator to acknowledge and own up to their destructive actions. Therapists deal with this all the time and support clients through the many agonizing stages of rage, grief, and heartbreak toward taking back a healthy sense of self-empowerment. Ultimately, for most, much healing is possible without any involvement from the perpetrator. The therapist becomes the much-needed emotionally present witness and validator of the pain and damage done.
How is it similar or different when generations of genocide survivors and their children have never received acknowledgement from the perpetrators of genocide? Continue reading