By Marc Lacey
MUGONERO, Rwanda, Sept. 14 -- The land of a thousand hills, as Rwanda is known, has become the land of a thousand memorials, a thousand trials, a thousand bad memories that linger.
Tributes to the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 dot the landscape, a testament to the sweeping nature of the violence against the minority Tutsi and moderate members of the Hutu majority by the Hutu-led government that left well over half a million people dead.
There are memorials in schools and stadiums that were the sites of killings, and along roadsides. Perhaps the most tragic of all are memorials in many churches where people were killed, from Nyamata and Ntarama south of the capital to this remote hilltop village overlooking Lake Kivu in the west.
There are still bloodstains on the walls of the Nyamata church, the scene of a vicious massacre, and the skeletal remains of the victims are displayed in a see-through chamber.
The sign outside the Ntarama memorial says 5,000 people died in that house of worship. The church has been left much as it was immediately after the killing, with the bodies gone but personal effects and scraps of clothing scattered in a poignant montage . . .
''Forgetting is not easy, even if you want to forget,'' Mr. Bayijahe said. ''If you lose your entire family and you see all these signs of damage and all these mass graves, how can you forget? We have orphanages full of children. We have survivors with big scars across their faces. We have full prisons and pastors on trial. You can't just forget.''
(277 of 1203 words)
From The New York Times,
September 17, 2001