Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Rwandan Resources & White Amnesia

I wanted to post a few movies and books worth checking out on Rwanda. Here was a sign that said, "Never again!" The best way to keep things like this from happening again is by educating ourselves, and learning from the past. I think about the divisions we have in the United States when it comes to race, and get frustrated when fellow white folks act as if they have amnesia when it comes to racism. In light of the genocide, Celestin talked a lot about tribalism. We may have several different cultures, and they should be celebrated. But the problem occurs when we isolate ourselves and think of ourselves as better than other people. Throughout history tribalism (ethnocentrism for you anthroplogists) has reared its ugly head in many forms. Celestin says we each have our own tribe, but when we begin following Jesus we belong to a higher tribe and that there is no room for the lower tribe (nationalism/ tribalism). He went on to say that there must be individual forgiveness in people. But it is not enough! Not only do individual people need to forgive one another, but the tribes do as well. He went on to talk about his work with ALARM>> this is what they are about, reconciling the two tribes into a higher tribe. He then asked us, if tribes are meant to forgive one another, who is responsible for doing this? Individuals need to step up to the challenge called forgiveness. as I think about my own context, white people have wronged people of color for a very, very long time. This trip has shown me that this is true even in other countries! White people need to ask forgiveness in this world, but I get the since mere verbiage is not enough! Somehow we need to begin thinking in terms of reparations and justice as well. We must also begin re-imagining what the 'higher tribe" should look like in our context. What does it mean that there is no longer Jew nor Gentile, man nor woman, white nor black? It is not enough to say, I was not involved in the injustices of our past, or even the injustices going on in other parts of our world! As I posted earlier the all important word, ubuntu. The African (same word in many African countries) word meaning, "I cannot be all that I need to be, until you are all that you need to be; and you cannot be all that you need to be until I am all that I need to be." Everyone needs everyone, our destinies are intimately interwoven. These very difficult memorials and this tough history needs to be a wake up call to live differently, to live ubuntu.

-chris lahr

Here are some movies about Rwanda...

Sometimes in April
A Sunday in Kigali
Hunting my husbands killers
Ghosts of Rwanda
Shake hands with the devil
As We Forgive
Beyond the Gates
Hotel Rwanda
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