“My name is Severa, my husband was a Hutu. He was murdered because he was married with me, a Tutsi. I got brutally raped by the militia while I heard the deadly screaming of my 4 children, they were begging me to save them, but I could not do anything-they got killed. They threw me into the river to drown me but I survived. Only a few later, I was caught by another group and then another- three times I got group raped and thrown into the river. But I survived.” It's a story of Severa (45), there are thousands of “Severa stories” in Rwanda.
The root of tensions between the Hutu and Tutsi of Rwanda lays in the late 19th century, when first Germany and then Belgium moved in utilizing the classic strategy of "divide and rule”. The colonizers decided that the Tutsi and the Hutu were two different races. Identity cards were introduced by the colonizer and provided crucial assistance to the architects of genocide as they sought to isolate their Tutsi victims.
The spark of the carnage was the death of Habyarimana on 6 April 1994 as his plane was shot down attempting to land in Kigali on his return from peace talks in Tanzania. Whoever was responsible for the murder, the event unleashed one of the 20th century's worst explosions of blood-letting. The massacres that followed were no spontaneous outburst of violence but a calculated “final solution” by extremist elements of Habyarimana's government to rid the country of all Tutsi and the Hutu reformists. This left 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu dead and sent as many into exile.
This genocide is the largest organised killing of human beings in the shortest period of time in modern history. People are afraid to be happy in this country. The trauma of the genocide is still palpable everywhere, even 15 years later.