“Yes, it is April again. Every year in April, the raining season starts. And every year, every day in April… the haunting emptiness descends over our hearts. Every year in April, I remember how quickly life ends. Every year, I remember how lucky I should feel to be alive. Every year in April… I remember…”
excerpt from the television film, “Sometimes in April”
Cabrini’s CRS Ambassadors screened the film “Sometimes in April” on Wednesday, Jan. 29. The movie night was one of several events during Cabrini’s Genocide Awareness Week last week. It set the stage for Dr. Tim Horner’s “On Killing” genocide speech the following night.
Genocide, by Merriam Webster’s definition, is the deliberate killing of people, especially those who belong to a particular racial, political or cultural group.
In 1994, a genocide took place in Rwanda between Apr. 6 and Jul. 16. In those 100 days, between 800,000 and 1 million Hutus and “modern” Tutsis were slaughtered by radical and extremist Hutus. That is more than six men, women and children killed every minute; 360 people every hour, 8,640 every day.
The movie follows the modern Hutu character, Augustin Muganza. He married a Tutsi woman. When the president’s plane is shot down and the genocide begins, he finds himself opposing his brother in the mass murder of people simply because of their tribe affiliation. Not only are Augustin’s wife and sons’ lives in danger, but his as well for sympathizing with the “cockroaches” as he evades death while his friends and loved ones die.
“We chose [Sometimes in April] over Hotel Rwanda because it is believed to more accurately depict just how awful [the genocide] was all over the country,” Katlyn Cashman said about the movie choice for the night. Cashman is a Cabrini Mission Corps volunteer.
The CRS Ambassadors chose to do Genocide Awareness Week in order to bring to light just how much destruction and devastation mass killings cause throughout the affected regions. In Rwanda, Tutsi people were killed on the spot. Modern Hutus, or Hutus who married or even just accepted Tutsis, were put on a kill list and read over the radio every day until they were found and killed. It wasn’t easy to escape the country due to road blocks set up and radicals roaming the roads and countryside with machetes and guns.
The term “genocide” was coined in 1944 by lawyer Raphael Lemkin to put a name to the particularly horrific crime of violence under Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany during World War II.
Genocide isn’t a freak accident or rampage of random killings. It is a deliberate plan to mass murder a group of people in an effort to eradicate them from the Earth.
“We (the CRS Ambassadors) wanted to raise awareness for how serious genocide is and that it still happens in today’s world,” Mackenzie Harris, Vice President of CRS Ambassadors, said. “The killings in Syria today aren’t being officially classified as a genocide but it took until the genocides in Rwanda were over for it to be considered a genocide. Do we have to, again, wait until it’s too late react to something like this?”
Although genocide awareness is on the rise and people are more aware of just how severe this effects populations of people, society is still blissfully ignorant to acts of genocide occurring around the world.
In April, people around the world are worrying about things they find painful to think about; the Titanic sinking, tax season, finals, etc. In Rwanda, April brings the painful memory of the people they lost 10 years ago and how they should feel lucky to be considered survivors.
“Every year in April, the rainy season starts…”