Skype with Emmanuel Habimana in "Stories of Survivors"
In "Stories of Survivors" class, Ms. Liang has been using Skype to bring the contacts she made this summer in Rwanda to her students. Recently, students met Emmanuel Habimana, who was nine years old during the l994 Rwandan genocide. After his parents were killed, Emmanuel was saved by an orphan director, later taken to the Congo, and was finally reunited with his sisters a year after the war's end. Emmanuel spoke about the trauma of the survivors. "In those years following the genocide, survivors were scared, scared, scared." Emmanuel wrestled with thoughts of revenge, especially after his brother succumbed to drugs and alcohol as part of his PTSD. "When you kill someone, you die too. The tribe was the excuse, but there is no difference between Hutu and Tutsi. We are all human." Despite his painful story, Emmanuel left the students with hope."I am still learning to be compassionate to see the beauty in each person. Forgiveness is hard [but] it's good for the country."