Sunday, August 15, 2004

Burundi Massacre

Was reading an article in the BBC about the massacre of refugees at a camp in Burundi. Those killed were Tutsis (mainly woman & children) and Burundi Hutus have claimed responsibility. I find myself crying out, "Why?" All these people wanted was to find a place of refuge from the suffering they'd found in their own country (Congo DR). I can't understand the mentality of persons who go to a place such as this to murder persons, especially when those persons are the most vulnerable. Perhaps it's because there is poor security in these camps so it is easier to go there to kill one's perceived enemy, yet how does one even tolerate the thought that this is appropriate behavior?

I find myself crying out to God, asking Him to protect these people. I also pray that all parties look back & learn from the torment & distress of the massacres occurring just ten years ago in Rwanda; massacres of which thousands of people are still suffering the consequences. It’s hard not to be moved to tears when I read of man’s inhumanity to man. How is it we’re unable to learn from history? Sometimes I wonder if this is because we refuse to allow ourselves to read about or learn about these terrible acts because we don’t want to “focus on the negative”.

I believe with my whole heart, as Christians, we are required to feel this pain not avoid it. If we avoid it we are protecting ourselves, yes, but we’re also avoiding the anguish that works on our hearts & forces us to act. Have been reading a book called, “After the Darkness”, a sort of photo-journal with pictures & stories from those who survived the Holocaust. (In reading the book I found out the meaning of the work Holocaust, which means “burnt offering”. How poignant!) The book also has passages written by the great historian, Elie Wiesel, who lived through this time period as a teenager, surviving to give testimony to what was done to himself, his family & his people. In some ways, his sole desire was to forget all he’d been through, but he found the courage to stand up & speak the truth. He chose to daily live through the pain of his memories so others would never forget! This is why I feel it’s important not to “focus on the negative” but to be willing to suffer the pain of the knowledge of evil being done in this world. As scripture speaks of, we need to “pray intelligently” & we can only do this when we have the knowledge of what to pray about.

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