Just A Girl in a Dress

Because the Rwandan genocide was less than twenty years ago and because many of the conditions that allowed it to flourish unchecked still abound in our world, it is vital to look at it.  To see what we can learn.  Shake Hands with the Devil is full of descriptions of atrocities and negligence and suffering but there is something about the following – something about the symbolism and simplicity of what happens in this incident that particularly resonates with me.

“At the roadblocks throughout Kigali, there were more youths with machetes and spears.  Ten days into the genocide (a word I had yet to start using to describe what was going on around me, for reasons that still elude me: maybe simple denial that anything like the Holocaust could be happening again), most streets were vacant except for the patrols of prisoners from Kigali jails who were loading corpses into dump trucks for disposal in mass graves outside the city.

The memory of these trucks is indelible.  Blood, dark, half-coagulated, oozed like thick paint from the back of them.  One day I saw a young Hutu girl in a light dress, wearing sandals, lose her balance as she slipped on the blood beside the truck.  She landed hard, and though she got up immediately it was as if someone had painted her body and her dress with a dark red oil.  She became hysterical looking at it, and the more she screamed the more attention she drew.  Soon we were surrounded by hundreds of people, many carrying weapons…” (1)  


(1) Roméo Dallaire, Shake Hands With the Devil, pp 305-06


  1. Those Dark Days are never to be forgotten, and yet still Dark Days like that are happening all around the world still today…
    I often wonder how one human being can get caught up within the frenzie of murdering en-mass.
    What turns a Huamn being who one day maybe never even think of such a thing to commit those acts..
    This World has much horrors of its pasts.. And holds within it still much more ..
    I wonder if the Creator ever dispairs of his Human creation? and wonders whether it is now time to call an end to the experiment of the Human Race? For we are destroying everything in our path.. Including ourselves…
    As sad as this post is, I would like to think that there is HOPE for mankind.. We have such along way to go in learning that what we do to another we do to our own progression..
    Let us hope CR we have not left that learning Too Late within the Mass Consciousness of ManKinds Progression..
    Let us hope behing all the horror stories we hear around our world which gets put out into the Media… Which sinks us lower in Spirit.. Let us HOPE there are 10 folds of people who do care,
    Now however is the TIME that those people stood up and made their voices heard to sway the Mass Conciousness to Heal this Planet of ours and the People on it..
    Blessings ~ Sue

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Sue. I think there is plenty of hope for humanity but I suppose I also think it is essential for us to be aware – however difficult it is for us – of exactly how bad things can become if we’re not mindful. I also agree that most people are good and can certainly heal the planet – as long as they believe they can do it, and try.

  3. Thanks for being someone who does not turn away and encourages others to do the same. Each time we push back our own fear and self-doubt we become stronger. One person can make a profound difference. The example of one person can effect millions.

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