That is the question that I have been contemplating over today, do I go to the genocide memorials in Rwanda where the bodies were not buried. There are two large churches where thousands of Tutsi's were murdered and as a memorial their remains have not been moved. Instead the bones remain, in the rooms, between the pew, men, women and children. Some people compare the memorial to a modern day Pompeii. It is a horrific sight to see and I have been told it leaves a lasting impression...not a good one.
As terrible, disgusting, heart wrenching, traumatic it may be I feel as if I need to go see one of these churches. I don't want to go as a tourist (which in reality that is what I am going to be), instead I want to go because I feel as if I didn't I am kind of doing what everyone in the West did in 1994. By not going I am turning a blind eye and pretending as if it doesn't exist. How can I talk to, listen, and research the topic of genocide with survivors but dart around the genocide?
No matter how much I prepare myself, how many books I read, I won't be ready to see what took place. I can't fathom the fear those people must have felt or the anger and rage the killers must have had to carry out such atrocities. I know the pain I have felt recently with my Grandfather passing away but can't image what it must have been like if all of my relatives would have died...right before my eyes to make it that much worse. When older people die everyone says they lived a splendid life, made the best of their 80+ yrs but their body was just worn out. What do you say when it is a mother and her six children who are brutally murdered?
My mind is still not made up and I probably won't make the decision until right before we plan our day trip.
My name is Meg and I am currently a Geriatrics and Palliative Care Fellow at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. I started this blog several years ago as a way to remember and talk about what I experienced while studying abroad in Rwanda during the summer of 2009.