Colombo Telegraph

Post-Conflict Societies: To Hell And Back

How nations torn apart by atrocity or civil war can stitch themselves together again

Few pages of history are as hard to read as those describing Rwanda between April and July in 1994. Working by hand rather than with the industrial methods that the Nazis used to kill Jews, and at more than three times the speed of the Holocaust, militias known asInterahamwe from the ethnic Hutu majority, and others, slaughtered at least 800,000 Tutsis (and Hutu moderates) to remove them from shared land. They raped, tortured and dismembered in hospitals, schools and churches. “The Interahamwe made a habit of killing young Tutsi children, in front of their parents, by first cutting off one arm, then the other,” a UN official in the country recounted afterwards. “They would then gash the neck with a machete to bleed the child slowly to death but, while they were still alive, they would cut off the private parts and throw them at the faces of the terrified parents who would then be murdered with slightly greater dispatch.”

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