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USF Libraries Exhibits

Growing Up in Rwanda Before the 1994 Genocide

Binyenzi Schadrac, Rwandan Survivor

When I was growing up in Rwanda, I was -- I remember back in the '60s when I was going in -- in my elementary school, I was labeled by the teachers and other little kids as a Tutsi, a bad person, that Tutsis are bad people. But as I grew up, I didn't see any difference between Tutsis and Hutus. And my own parents, my father and my mother, I never saw them emphasizing any kind of hatred towards Hutus. I didn't see a lot of difference even -- in any way, no.

But after the genocide, it has been very hard for me to think that people I knew very well -- some of the people in the government were my schoolmate, either in high school or in university: I knew them well; we've been together in the business. So, sometimes I have been wondering, what is this that people can do such things?

I try very hard not to hate them, 'cause I know that I would be losing myself. I don't want to nourish hatred in my heart 'cause I need to -- I know that I would be the loser by having lost what I have lost and keeping this hatred in my heart. So, I try as much as I can to live on, live a normal life and leave the rest of unexplainable things to God. That's how I try to overcome the overwhelming feeling of what those extremist Hutus has done to my country, to my family, to my friends.