Workshopping peace: Patrick Mureithi’s ““ICYIZERE: hope”

By Molly Grosskreutz

A&E Assistant Editor

Mama Aline, a genocide widow in present-day Rwanda, said, “Be­fore saying you’re healed, you must first acknowledge your wound.” This was the theme of the presen­tation made on Sept. 21 by Patrick Mureithi, a documentary filmmak­er, as part of the D.B. Reinhart Insti­tute for Ethics in Leadership series.

A few hundred Viterbo University Mission Seminar students attended the event, as well as other students, faculty, and La Crosse community members.

The featured film, “ICYIZERE: hope,” documents the process of reconciliation Rwandians are cur­rently undergoing, following the genocide that occurred between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes in 1994. Dur­ing the film, viewers learned that Tutsis were being massacred by the Hutu at a rate of 10,000 deaths every day, resulting in over 1 million ca­sualties. The aftereffects of the trag­edy are crippling, and Rwanda still struggles to recover today.

Mureithi finds hope, however, in the workshops currently be­ing offered to those affected by the genocide. In each privately-funded workshop, 10 survivors and 10 per­petrators or relatives of perpetrators come together for a three-day pe­riod to work through their remorse and suffering. This is achieved through open, emotional dialogue and trust-building exercises. What results is an acknowledgement of personal pain on both sides, which, according to one of the workshop participants, is the first step to heal­ing together.

These workshops have brought peace to many affected by the geno­cide in Rwanda, and this same idea of cooperative reconciliation can be applied to many other conflicting groups. Mureithi concluded the evening by inviting participants to apply these tenets of forgiveness to their own lives.

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