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Aline Umegwaneza: Forgiving Genocide

Aline Umegwaneza survived the genocide in Rwanda, most of her family did not. This is her story of survival and forgiveness. Read Transcript


Reporter: APRIL 6,

1994, MARKED THE BEGINNING

OF ONE OF THE BLOODIEST

CHAPTERS IN RWANDAN

HISTORY.

AFTER THEY AS NATED RWANDA'S

PRESIDENT, THE GOVERNMENT

RESPONDED BRUTAL THE WITH

THE GENOCIDE OF AN ESTIMATED

800,000 PEOPLE, MOST OF THEM

CIVILIANS.

MY NAME LALIN.

I WAS 16 WHEN THE GENOCIDE

BEGAN IN RWANDA.

IT WAS VERY SCARY AND

VERY SAD.

WE DID NOT HAVE HOPE.

Reporter: ARMED WITH

MACHETES AND GUNS,

GOVERNMENT SOLDIERS WENT

FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE LOOKING

FOR TRADERS.

EVERY MINUTE THEY KILLED

PEOPLE.

DURING THAT TIME, THAT'S

WHEN OUR MOM TOLD US TO PICK

UP WHAT WE NEED, DIFFERENT

CLOTHES, BECAUSE SHE DIDN'T

WANT THE PEOPLE TO COME

DURING THE NIGHT TO KILL

US.

Reporter: EILEEN AND

HER FAMILY FLED THE

VILLAGE.

HER MOM STOPPED TO HELP A

NEIGHBOR, AND SAID SHE WOULD

CATCH UP WITH HER AND HER

YOUNGER SIBLINGS LATER.

THAT'S WHEN SHE WITNESSED

THE UNTHINKABLE.

THEY SHOOT AND THE PERSON

DIED.

AND THE PERSON DIED.

AND THEN THAT'S WHEN I SAW

WOMEN AND THEY LEAVE THEIR

LITTLE KIDS.

YOU HEAR KIDS CRYING ON THE

STREETS.

BABY, ONE YEAR, TWO MONTHS,

THREE MONTHS, BECAUSE THE

PEOPLE RUN IS SAVE THEIR

LIVES.

Reporter: HOURS LATER,

EILEEN STILL HADN'T SEEN HER

MOTHER.

THAT'S WHEN I STARTED TO

BE DISAPPOINTED.

I STARTED TO SEE AT 6 P.M.,

NO MOM.

ONLY SEE BODIES.

I STARTED TO THINK, I THINK

SHE DIED.

Reporter: EILEEN FOUND

OUT LATER THAT HER MOM HAD

BEEN MURDERED.

BUT TO STAY ALIVE, SHE AND

HER SIBLINGS HAD TO KEEP

MOVING.

THEY HID IN DIFFERENT HOUSES

UNTIL FINALLY THEY FOUND A

REFUGEE CAMP.

BUT EVEN THERE THEY WEREN'T

SAFE.

DURING THE CAMP LIFE, THE

CAMP LIFE WAS BAD.

THEY'RE KILLING EACH OTHER.

SO ANY TIME WE WAITED TO DIE

IN THE CAMP.

Reporter: AFTER ONLY

THREE MONTHS, THE CONFLICT

WAS OVER.

EILEEN RETURNED HOME WITH

HER SIBLINGS AND TOOK IN A

FAMILY WHO'S HOUSE HAD BEEN

DESTROYED.

BUT THE FAMILY WANTED

EILEEN'S PROPERTY FOR

THEMSELVES.

ONE DAY WHEN EILEEN WAS

AWAY, THE FAMILY KILLED HER

BROTHERS AND SISTERS.

THEY KILLED THEM.

Reporter: EILEEN KNEW

THAT IF SHE DIDN'T LEAVE,

SHE WOULD BE NEXT.

SO SHE WENT ON THE RUN AGAIN

WITH NO IDEA WHERE TO GO.

SHE RAN INTO AN OLD

CLASSMATE, WHO'S FAMILY TOOK

HER IN.

IT WAS A GOOD FAMILY.

THEY'RE WEALTHY.

THEY HAVE EVERYTHING.

THEY USED TO GO TO THE

LAKE.

THEY HAVE MONEY.

BUT WE LOST MEMBERS OF MY

FAMILY.

AND I WAS ANGRY FOR LOSING

MY PEOPLE.

AND I HAD THIS SPIRIT OF

BITTERNESS IN ME.

Reporter: EILEEN BONDED

WITH THE GIRL'S MOTHER,

SYLVIA, WHO TOLD HER ABOUT

JESUS.

SOON EILEEN BEGAN GOING TO

CHURCH AND ACCEPTED CHRIST

AS HER SAVIOR.

BUT SHE WAS STILL BITTER

TOWARDS THE PEOPLE WHO

MURDERED HER FAMILY.

SHE TRIED AGAIN AND AGAIN TO

FORGIVE, BUT COULDN'T.

EVERY TIME I GO TO THE

CHURCH AND THEY SPEAK ABOUT

THE FORGIVENESS.

AND I SAID WHAT ABOUT THE

PEOPLE WHO HAVE KILLED MY

FAMILY, MY SIBLINGS.

THE PEOPLE WHO BURIED MY MOM

ALIVE, WHO CRUSHED MY

SIBLINGS AND CRUSHED THEIR

HEAD LIKE A SNAKE.

Reporter: BUT EILEEN

SAYS SHE FINALLY FOUND A WAY

TO FORGIVE THEM WHEN SHE

READ A VERSE IN THE BIBLE.

I USED TO THINK I WAS

RIGHT AND THEY WERE WRONG.

UNTIL I READ MATTHEW 6:

14-16: "IF YOU DON'T FORGIVE

OTHERS, GOD WILL NOT FORGIVE

YOU, TOO."

Reporter: EILEEN SAYS

AFTERWARDS, GOD GAVE HER A

PIECE.

TODAY SHE IS A MISSIONARY

AND A PREACHER.

SHE BELIEVES NO MATTER WHAT

HAS BEEN DONE TO YOU, CHRIST

CAN FORGIVE YOU.

AFTER FORGIVING THOSE

PEOPLE, I STARTED TO HELP

OTHER PEOPLE.

IT IS A JOY AND A

COMPASSION.

BEFORE I DIDN'T HAVE

COMPASSION.

JESUS SET ME FREE.

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