27 July, 2013

Solidarity

During the war, some of the Interahamwe (members of the pro-Hutu youth militia) crossed the boarder to hide
Rwandan School
image credit
in Congo, but a few years after the genocide many came back into Rwanda to complete their “unfinished business” by conducting vigilante raids.

On the cold, rainy evening of March 18, 1997, shortly after dinner, but before returning to their dormitories, a number of high school students gathered together to study for their final exams.

Suddenly, a group of insurgents attacked the unassuming campus of St. Joseph’s Secondary School in Nyange. The night watchman, their campus security, was executed. And then 27 students were gathered in a classroom and ordered to separate—Tutsis on one side, Hutu on the other.

The 11th and 12th students refused.

Courageously these young people stood determined not to identify themselves, but in solidarity they resisted hatred.

Her name literally means “Maiden of Peace,” Mujawamahoro Chantal—a Hutu who could have spared her own life—stood up to the attackers and proclaimed, “We do not have Hutus or Tutsis here, we are all Rwandans.”

They shot her in the head. Killing her at her desk.

One by one 2 more students were assassinated in front of their classmates. Despite the slaughter, the group remained determined.

Rather than wasting more bullets, the infiltrators rounded up the surviving students in another classroom and threw grenades at the young people.

Following the explosions, the students were left for dead. However, most survived—each of them mutilated, losing limbs or other body part, even some blinded.

Their disfigured and wounded bodies stand today as an indictment to the fractured body of Christ.

These resolute students have become a mirror to the church, the mutilated body of Christ.

These heroes offer a compelling invitation to a new kind of unity.

Those young, tender souls who died stand as martyrs—refusing to betray one another, but clinging to community and redefining family.

These silent witnesses of hope remind us that “We are all Rwandans.”
Story taken from Christopher Heuertz

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© Amanda Lunday