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Peacebuilders

Hiroshima

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Human Resource Development

People build peace. PB places its emphasis on nurturing the future peacebuilders.

- 2005 Activities-


Symposium oneHotel Rwandaf

The film "Hotel Rwanda" Symposium

PB organized a charity advanced screening and a symposium titled gWhat is happening in Africa ? A message of Hotel Rwandah inviting Mr. Paul Rusesabagina, who is the model character of the film Hotel Rwanda (Venue: Tokyo Yurakucho Hall, Dates: January 6th 2006, Participants: 580 people)


Mr. Paul Rusesabagina, main character of eHotel Rwandaf came to Japan

What is happening in Africa? A message of Hotel Rwanda
Charity Advanced Screening of the Movie and a Symposium
Dates: January 6th 2006
Venue: Tokyo Yurakucho Hall
(580 participants)

Outline of the Symposium

1.Comment from Ambassador of Rwanda

2.Lecture from Mr. Paul Rusesabagina

|[EZToMiIt was in April 1994.

@
@Initially, the Hutu and the Tutsi did not hate each other. If we were, it was probably because of the leadership of the country. I had six family members including my wife and sons, but on that day, 26 neighbors hid in my house. Three days later, several men were trying to climb over the gate of my house. They claimed that they came to rescue us, and I replied to them that I have 32 family members.

Using a mini-bus owned by hotel and neighborsf cars, we moved to the Hotel des Mille Collines, which was about 12 km away from my place. I saw many dead bodies. Some did not have heads. Some had lacerated stomach. Men handed me a gun and asked me to shoot my wife, children, and neighbors. I could not say a word for five minutes but was able to convince them not to do so by giving them some money. In those days, the whole nation was overcome with madness. Husbands killed their wives. Wives killed their husbands. Parents killed their children. Priests killed their believers. There were some people who had fiesta on piles of dead bodies.

We arrived to Hotel des Mille Collines on the April 16th. I was not the manager of that hotel but the manager of different hotel that was owned by the same airline company. Thus, the staff barely listened to me at first. By the time of our arrival, there were about 400 displaced people in the hotel. For the next 76 days, we were under the tough circumstance without enough food, water and electricity. One day, we were asked to exchange displaced people staying at the Hotel des Mille Collins with those staying at the stadium. This was included in the movie, but those who were supposed to be exchanged died or were hurt in an ambush on the way. My wife was among them. Unlike in the movie, she was bleeding in the back of the truck, and stayed in a bed for weeks.

We were isolated in the hotel without any hope. We thought that the only thing that we were waiting for was edeathf.

We finally escaped from the hotel.

On June 18, we were able to evacuate to the camp. Many young men were recruited to join the dissident guerillas and lost their lives as a result. Not only young men but also people of my age were also killed. Anti-government force, as well as civil defense force, killed people. On July 12, we fled to the south of Rwanda, where both my wife and I are originally from. On the way, what we saw was dead bodies. We heard stray dogs barking over dead bodies. When we finally arrived home, we found dead bodies of my little sister and my brotherfs wife. My wifefs mother was found with six dead bodies of grandchildren and their mother. We cried like a baby.

Later on, we luckily were able to escape to Belgium as refugees on September 1996. Thereabout, a new conflict occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many people lost their lives in Burundi and northern part of Uganda. Tragedies repeatedly take place on the globe as I saw the same thing happening as what I experienced in Rwanda in 1994 when I visited Darfur last year. On the way back, I watched news that world leaders gathering for the 60th commemoration ceremony of the Holocaust, saying gNever Again.h And yet, I was just on my way home fromgenocide. Please do make good use of todayfs opportunity to re-recognize the issues happening in the world. Please be a messenger who can tell what you hear and feel today to other people around you.

Panel Discussion
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Q: Question

M: Mr. Matsumoto

T: Mr. Takeuchi

R: Mr. Rusesabagina


Q: What is happening in Africa?

M: For next 100 years, issues related to ethnic groups and tribes will probably be the biggest problem in Africa. Different ethnic groups such as Hutu and Tutsi are trapped inside the man-made borders known as a state, and their differences are utilized by the leaders. These leader blame civilians for being suffered and avoid responsibility whenever policy mistakes or corruptions happens. What we can do is to let them recognize that there are values above the tribe-level. In Africa, forming nationalism never took place, thus a confrontation between gweh and gother.h

Q: How is Rwanda after 12 years after the genocide?

T: Whenever I say hI went to Rwandah to people, they say ewere you alright?f These days, Rwanda has been a safe place, especially for foreigners. In 2003, Mr. Kagame won the election by receiving more that 95% of the votes casted, but it is said that his government is becoming autocratic. The system, which is under the control of RPF ruled by Tutsi, has not changed since 1994. We can say that having a Hutu president is a symbol of the reconciliation. But mentioning about crimes by RPF is still a taboo Although members of RPF also committed war crimes during the genocide. It is such a huge obstacle for the national reconciliation.

R: There are many serious problems among ethnic groups. For example, Tutsi can bury their relativesf dead bodies properly from mass graves while Hutu cannot. In Rwanda, there are about 100,000 prisoners and 200 courts, but only 6000 of them were judged after 11 years. Unfortunately, criminal justice system in Rwanda is not functioning properly. So much money was spent for the International Court of Justice, but only 25 prisoners were judged, according to the prosecutors. And, if I comment on this point, I can be easily criticized as a person with genocide ideology. As for Gacaca, it is not a system of justice. People who gjudgeh the crimes during the genocide are people who even cannot read or write. I donft believe that this system is appropriate. I personally believe it is a system that cannot deliver justice to the victims. What we need in Rwanda is dialogue between two ethnic groups. Under colonial administration, it was Tutsi who ruled, but this changed with the revolution, and now we are back to Tutsi rule once again. Only hope, I believe, for Rwanda and Africa is to abide by the Arusha Peace Agreement.

Q: What can we do in Japan?

M: ODA is certainly one channel, however. Rwandan government cannot probably keep the country under the control. There are many Japanese NGOs in Rwanda working with people suffering. When the country is not together, it is better to support civilians directly through UNHCR, UNICEF, and UNDP.

T: It is normal for a person to think what he/she can do after watching a movie like this. The most important thing, I believe, is to know more about Africa. We, Japanese, have too many negative images about Africa. We should try to know more about people who are living there.

R: Japanese government is offering gracious financial support to Rwanda, however, the dictators spend these money money on weapons to protect themselves. In that sense, supporting Rwandan though NGOs, I believe, is much efficient. Africa needs assistance toward civilian and also to fight against dictators. In the past, people fought against Apartheid, and it got abolished. A message from the movie which I would like to emphasize is this point. If you desire, each one of us can make a difference.

Development of the Contents of the Peacebuilding Seminar
Supported by JICA, PB developed contents of the peacebuilding seminar targeting trainees from Post Conflict societies.
(300 pages in both Japanese and English each with an audiovisual material lasting 20 mins)
Outline of the Contents

Module 1: Introduction to Peacebuilding
Module 2: Education in War-torn Societies
Module 3: Reconciliation in War-torn Societies and Trauma caring
Module 4: Reconstruction History of Japan and Hiroshima


Additional Material: Audio-visual material titled gPostwar Reconstruction and Peacebuilding in Hiroshimah

Module 3 was developed by Ms. Chieko Matsunaga, while Module II and IV were developed by Ms. Fumi Okawa and Ms. Chie Fuji. Mr. Keita Nakayama was in charge of overall editorial work as well as collecting information. Audio-visual material was produced by Mr. Hideyuki Yasuhara of the Hiroshima City University, and Ms. Masami Oda assisted in narration of audio-visual material and translation of the contents.

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