Forgiving the Unforgivable

I meant to show you all this New York Times article in class – but only 2nd period got to it in time! It’s a ray of hope in the midst of the difficult situations we have been studying.

The article is a series of portraits featuring Rwandans affected by the Rwandan genocide. Each portrait features one person who perpetrated the crimes (murder, kidnapping, destroying homes and villages) and one person who was the victim of that person’s crimes. Included at the bottom are their own words on how they were able to find some semblance of peace and forgiveness after the genocide.

It’s powerful stuff – give it a few minutes of your time if you have the chance. Here’s one of the portraits:


Jean Pierre Karenzi – Perpetrator (left); Viviane Nyiramana – Survivor

KARENZI: “My conscience was not quiet, and when I would see her I was very ashamed. After being trained about unity and reconciliation, I went to her house and asked for forgiveness. Then I shook her hand. So far, we are on good terms.”

NYIRAMANA: “He killed my father and three brothers. He did these killings with other people, but he came alone to me and asked for pardon. He and a group of other offenders who had been in prison helped me build a house with a covered roof. I was afraid of him — now I have granted him pardon, things have become normal, and in my mind I feel clear.”