purple days, kigali

A survivor of the Rwandan genocide, on her taped testimony, said that she doesn’t understand the appeals for forgiveness (why forgive? for what?) but that she is learning to live regardless – to coexist with perpetrators and their families, with people who still think in the colonially imposed ethnic paradigms. She says life takes patience, and that that’s what love is – patience.


Love resembles patience in its shape as a preference rather than a selection or decision – it is a disposition towards, that will not be turned aside, or stopped even by its own satisfaction. Patience waits to receive, and then is patient still in having, and then continues to wait, because the waiting is the reward of the waiting, the loving in the reward of loving. That which can be satisfied is not patient or loving.


Today marks the beginning of the annual period of mourning in Rwanda – the anniversary of the start of the 100 days of killing. We wait. We love. Unsatisfied. Maybe forgiveness is how we hope for forgiveness, or how we remain available to it, and the insistence that it not only enter our hearts but live as a declaration is – commercial? Promotes an idea of moral sanitation – as if in forgiving ourselves we step away from history and form the ongoing nature of genocide? Forgiveness is super-human? (Which is not to say it is impossible, only impossible in some cases for humans to give.)


Drama of witness is patient and unforgiving?

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