BC: Review Questions 1. Imagine that you were Valentina. What would you do or say if you were confronted by Bagaruka in the village after the genocide? 2. Put yourself in the shoes of Denis Bagaruka. How could you kill all of these innocent people? What would you have to do to create a mindset that would make it possible for you to murder innocent women, men, and children? 3. What kind of punishment should Bagaruka be given? 4. Try to put yourself in Valentina's shoes. It is three years after the end of the genocide. In what ways does the genocide still impact your daily life?
FC: Valentina's Story
1: By: Sam Cho, Betsy Veselaj Katie Frazier, Corie Burke
2: Basic Start | After the Germans took over military control in the area in 1884, the Rwandans experienced their first taste of ethnic division. Using the width of their noses as a measure of relative likeness to European appearance, the Germans and later the Belgians separated the population of Rwanda into two distinct ethnic groups: HUTU and the TUTSI. As a result of the Europeans’ prejudices, the thinner noses of the Tutsi minority were used as a gauge of authority. With one of the two groups always occupying the mantle of authority, the other was subject to constant discrimination and persecution.
3: "I am traumatized by the memories of the day they cut off my arm and leg."
4: There was a history of armed conflict between the two groups- periodically over the course of the twentieth century, the groups attempted to massacre each other, resulting in steadily higher death tolls, especially in the aftermath of gaining independence from Belgium in 1959. In the years after this newfound independence, a genocide occurred in the neighboring nation of Burundi, of Hutus, by Tutsis which shaped political ideas of the Hutu in regards to the Tutsi. With the vast majority of Rwandan citizens being Hutu, the stage was not set for a genocide. Because the moderate Hutu president of Rwanda was not a factor anymore (assassinated) in the influence of Hutu ideas, there was no one in Rwanda to oppose Hutu politicians and their racist ideas about persecution of the Tutsi ethnic minority.
5: The foot soldiers of the Hutu persecution that would soon come into fruition were known as the Interahamwe militia, a paramilitary force dedicated to the systematic elimination of the once-dominant Tutsis The hatred was carried through propaganda and radio stations, until on April 7th, 1994.. A general in the Interahamwe militia gave the order. On this day, over 8000 Tutsis were killed under the 500, 000 raised machetes of the Interahamwe.
6: Valentina was only a young child when she witnessed her family being killed in front of her. The president's death triggered a call for a FINAL SOLUTION in which all Tutsis and Hutu moderates were to be killed. | The killing at Nyarubuye began with an attack at the marketplace. After the attack, young Valentina fled to the church with her family. The killers also made their way there, they carried knives and clubs and most of them were her neighbors. | Valentina's Story
7: (Among the killers was Denis Bagaruka. He was a 56-year-old grandfather whose children went to school with Valentina.) | What Valentina saw that day was something a young child should never witness. "I saw them take little children and smash their heads together until they were dead." These killings took place over a four day period. During the killing she had seen the militia murder her father and her 16-year-old brother. She also hid her body behind her mother's corpse. Today Valentina is alive but her hand is chopped in half and she has deep gashes on the back of her head to remind and torture her everyday that she witness the inhumane crimes of the Rwandan Genocide. She will never return to the village again and she now lives with her aunt and two other orphans.
8: Valentina Today
9: What happened to Bagaruka? | He spent three years in a refugee camp at Benaco where he and his family were cared for. This man helped commit crimes against humanity. When asked how he could kill a child, he responded, "Everyone was killed. We couldn't spare the children's lives. Our orders were to kill everyone."