Combatting hatred and cowardice

Yet, Sula could also see the rising hate against Tutsi. She says that she has heard malicious remarks towards them for a while, and had seen the Tutsi robbed of their belongings and killed during the events of 1959-1963. Sula thinks that the origin of this hate is based in poverty. “They were all like brothers and sisters but when a Tutsi earned more, his Hutu neighbours started being jealous of him and said that that Tutsi shouldn’t live”.

Since the genocide, Sula remained opposed to the perpetrators. She even helped bring some of them to justice. Sula believes in the necessity to punish severely those who killed during the genocide, so that such events do not happen again because she says: “The things that happened in Rwanda are beyond your imagination”. Sula also believes in the rehabilitation of the perpetrators who, once their sentence finished, could farm the land or rebuild what they’ve destroyed. Today, Sula seems to yearn for some well-deserved rest. When asked which message she would like to transmit to the young Rwandans so that the country never again knows these events, Sula answers “just pray to the Lord”. Her simplicity and modesty have to serve as an example.

Sula confesses that she doesn’t really understand why others from her community didn’t do more to fight against the genocide. For her, it’s bad faith: “If people had wanted, nobody would have died. It was possible to save human lives in many different ways”. Sula even goes further saying that this kind of inaction is just another kind of genocide of another kind. For her, the causes of the genocide are selfishness and greed. Sula claims to have saved these people “for God”, that her aim was “to not see any bodies”. But she acted that way because her heart was telling her.

All these people she hid survived the genocide, and are still alive today. They’ve all tried to find out if Sula was still alive. Some have important administration jobs, others work in the private sector. All of them recognize her exceptional courage and consider her as an extraordinary woman: “Her courage during the genocide was beyond compare. Few could have done what she did”. Those she saved also praise her bravery and the risks she took for them. Even now, despite her advanced age, Sula is always very welcoming towards visitors, and even strangers.

Through her life and her actions, the message Sula transmits is full of wisdom and kindness. It talks to all of us, whatever our origin, and touches our humanity. Sula is telling us: “If you want to love, start with your neighbours”.