The Inevitable Fall of a Nation
Many Rwandans, after the genocide ended, returned to their homes, after fleeing their borders to preserve their lives. Just 20 years since, both victims and perpetrators live beside each other in the same communities, trying to carry on their lives in a peaceful way that is beneficial to both parties.
After such a tragic event, tensions were heightened, people were frustrated, that laws were imagined to remove conflict and the ideals that created conflict and allowed hate to persist in the minds of their people. These laws were envisioned to mitigate conflict amongst the perpetrator and the victim. To the current day, tensions have not pacified, yet violence has been abated through peace ideologies such as reconciliation and oneness campaigns.
“Turi abanyarwanda,” “Nous sommes Rwandais,” “We are Rwandans,” the nation emanates to the world. The perpetrators admitted their guilt, the victims abated their pain, forgave, for the progress of their statehood, for the progress of their country. “Unity” was essential.
Many Rwandans learned how to forgive. What can we learn, here in America, from them?
Before the genocide happened, Rwandans had a great obsession: the difference between their ethnic identities. Some were defined as Hutu, others as Tutsi, or Twa. What effect does definitions have on the psyche? It’s another difficult question to answer because characteristics and personalities differ based on the place and the people who circumstantially live in such a place are hard to figure out. The United States of America also has a great obsession with definitions and differences. It has been the bane of our existence since the inception of the United States as a nation. It has caused social, economic, racial and civil wars throughout its 240 years. White supremacy. Black Power. White privilege. White Preservation.
It’s a more complex system than that of Rwanda, but the underlying ideology that makes both systems parallel to each other is the way how definitions, whether by race or ethnicity, perpetuates hate. The hate of differences drove a country to genocide and hate of differences still drives the U.S. to systematically execute Black people — who are the ones who built the foundations that drives this country to this day — label all Muslims as terrorists, and carry out atrocities against people of color.
It’s a rather interesting notion, but as different as the two countries are, there are similar variables.
Differences have brought immeasurable suffering for the peoples that are defined as “minorities,” a word, when semantically broken down, literally means lesser than. They have experienced tremendous trauma on their psyche, which has been brought upon them by their governing systems.
But what would happen, if on some rare occasion, the U.S.A eliminated definitions that are harmful? The “we are American movement?” It’s inevitable that the more differences that exist, the one group or another will want the power and control.
It has been seen throughout history that human beings in general yearn for power and control. One has seen this carried out through religion and other systematic functions in society. One can talk about the historical trauma and atrocities carried out against the people who are considered minorities. I am not calling for the removal of identities — it’s just a different approach to the way one identifies.
Americans who just look different, sharing all the cultures? Rwanda did it with their turi abanyarwanda movement. Granted, it will take decades for the trauma, hate and differences to purge from our minds. Rwandan children are growing up identifying as Rwandan, not Hutu or Tutsi. The people who experienced the genocide and lived through that experience acknowledge that atrocities were carried out against them, but they were given the space to mourn and never forget those atrocities that were carried out against them and their families. Laws were created to prevent hate from leading to genocide of peoples again; laws which are backed by their leader Paul Kagame.
These laws have drastically shifted the social and economic paradigm, turning a country that was mourning and surviving on low morale, into a nation that is passionate about growth and oneness amongst its peoples, regardless of the differences or its history from the yesteryears. Differences both lead to fear and hatred.
Our country is broken and needs to be fixed and united with the right leadership, someone who is able to be ruthless in bringing everyone together not by emphasizing the differences amongst its population, but by looking deeply for the commonality amongst people, and then proceeding to making it illegal to go against that unity, which is the scenario that took place in Rwanda. Are we going to wait until another genocide happens before we act?
The internal differences in America have separated us to the point where those differences will lead to the downfall of our nation. States who want unity will start to legally request leaving the sovereign nation. Our country is no longer a success story. As history has proven time and time again, nations fall. It has been 240 years since the founding of our nation, but it is evident that the United States might not make it to 400 years, because the people refuse to unite to make progress.