By Geoffrey Mushaija
Twenty-two years ago, tens of thousands of Tutsi were killed inside churches and sometimes on the orders of the so called holy men and women of God (priests and nuns).
For all these years, the Catholic church just kept silent and had not officially apologized for its hand in planning, and executing a horrible 1994 Genocide against Tutsi which claimed over a million lives in Rwanda.
After 22 years, this last week the Catholic Church come out of the closet and apologised for her role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda is necessary but not sufficient. The generic nature of their apology makes it a mere populist statement. Needless to say, it is not ideal gesture in Rwanda culture and values to lack precision and honesty while expressing remorse.
The Catholic Church apology statement greatest weakness is the absence of original thinking – a real symbol of truth and sincerity. One who takes apology as a serious mission can never adopt such a position with detail deficiencies. The Catholic Church needs unequivocal and explicit courage to own up to their role in the genocide against the Tutsi by expressing remorse but not concealing it.
The Catholic Church has to discard such stance because the desire to apologise is a drive from inside for your own satisfaction with the prime intention to heal yourself and others. But what is more astonishing is the Catholic Church parish priest failure to read the apology statement to their congregations despite the startling role of the Catholic Church in the genocide against the Tutsi.
Ignoring a problem does not make it go away and therefore, the Catholic Church should sincerely and honestly apologise and pledge mechanisms for compensation and related justice.
I have a strong feeling that the Catholic Church can make a deep impact on many if it stands out firm to fully admit their role in the bitterness of genocide against the Tutsi than taking too long to accept their most grievous mistakes. Procrastination of sincere remorse cannot make the Catholic Church spotlessly clean in the minds of genocide victims and survivors.
In fact, insincere apology raises questions as to why it is so in form of apprehensions and doubts. However, the Catholic Church attempt to show remorse is a considerable step forward as their apology provides an impetus for continued discussions inspite of difficulties.
The genocide committed against Tutsi that decimated more than a million sons and daughters of Rwanda, and conscious of the tragic history of our country’. This is what Rwandans expected from the Catholic church, to unequivocally apologize for and commit full cooperation and pledge measures for compensation.
The question of the right way to apologise lies with the Catholic Church clarity of remorse towards the victims, survivors and confidently taking actions to deal with the perpetrators of the genocide against the Tutsi among themselves.