18 December, 2011

Kinyarwanda: Forgiveness is Freedom

Early last year, I wrote on this site: Magical Rwanda: a country of mountains and many lakes. And a country whose many people are now turning to Islam and mosques for peace and guidance. Now there is a powerful, moving, horrific and eye-opening award winning movie, Kinyarwanda: Forgiveness is Freedom, about those horrific one-hundred-or-so days of the Rwandan genocide - which resulted in almost one million people being mercilessly hunted and butchered; and the very peaceful, caring role Muslims played during that period.
At the time of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the Mufti of Rwanda, the most respected Muslim leader in the country, issued a fatwa forbidding Muslims from participating in the killing of the Tutsi. As the country became a slaughterhouse, mosques became places of refuge where Muslims and Christians, Hutus and Tutsis came together to protect each other. KINYARWANDA is based on true accounts from survivors who took refuge at the Grand Mosque of Kigali and the madrassa of Nyanza. It recounts how the Imams opened the doors of the mosques to give refuge to the Tutsi and those Hutu who refused to participate in the killing. 
Many, if not most people who now know of Rwanda - associate it with that horrific period in 1994. Or associate it with the earlier heart-wrenching movie on the genocide: Hotel Rwanda. Of all Eastern African countries, I have this very high esteem for Rwanda. Especially now. In the last sixteen years, since the genocide - Rwanda has dramatically very much changed. Thanks to its gifted leaders and its very resilient people. Not only are mountain gorillas being very well protected and their numbers steadily increasing through the years. Not only is Kigali, its very scenic capital city, the cleanest, safest and most orderly urban center in the region - but, the whole country is being cleaned up. One reporter, John Rash, who recently visited the country couldn't help stating: Rwanda is the cleanest country I've ever seen. Rwanda, today, is also the least corrupt and the fastest growing country in Eastern Africa. In the region, Rwanda, too, is the country where, today, Islam is growing fastest.