Encounters with conflict and peace

The difference between life and death

“We tried to run together in small teams, to inspire courage in one another. He who was surprised in an ambush, was killed; he who twisted his ankle, was killed; he who was caught by fever or diarrhoea, was killed. Every evening, the forest was strewn with dozens of the dead and dying."

Innocent Rwililiza, 38 year old teacher, Nyamata

Saved by beer

beer bottles
“Many foreign journalists say that beer and such things played a decisive role in the killings. This is correct, but in a way completely different to how they imagined it. In a certain way, many amongst us owe our survival to Primus and we should thank it.

The killers would turn up sober in the morning to start killing. But in the evening they would empty more Primuses than usual, to reward themselves, and that would soften them up for the next day.

The more they killed, the more they stole, the more they drank. Perhaps to relax, to forget, or to congratulate themselves. In any case, the more they drank in the evening, the more their schedule was delayed. Without a doubt it is such trifles that saved us.”    
Innocent Rwililiza From The survivors speak by Jean Hatzfeld

Don't eat the fish

corpses Lake Victoria
Edward saw bodies in the river on the way to Kigali. 'There is lots of them,' he says. When children try to sell us fish, Edward says not to eat them.

They come from Lake Victoria and the fish are said to be feeding on corpses. 'Not nice to eat, bad luck to eat,' he says, smiling.

from Season of Blood. A Rwandan Journey
by Fergal Keane

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