Finding Strength in Testimony – An Interview with Edith Umugiraneza

This is the dress that I wore for three months during the genocide.  My mother gave me this scarf and said, "If anything happens  to us, you will have this."

This is the dress that I wore for three months during the genocide. My mother gave me this African wrap because it was the rainy season at the time.  She also gave me a necklace and said, “If they kill me, have this in remembrance of me.” – Edith Umugiraneza

April 2014 Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month:
Remembering the Past toward Healing our Future

A six event commemorative film series featuring the stories of survivors and their children

Living Ubuntu, in collaboration with Amnesty International – Irvine and six local academic institutions, presents a six-event commemorative film series featuring the stories of survivors and their children. April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, and each film commemorates a genocide that started during April. Living Ubuntu provides education about global traumas as part of its mission to heal trauma in order to promote peace. All films are free and open to the public.

Below is an interview with Edith Umugiraneza, a Rwandan genocide survivor who will be a featured speaker at the Rwanda genocide event.

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An Interview with Edith Umugiraneza

Birth Place:  Kigali, Nyarugenge, Rwanda
Occupation: Indexer for USC Shoah Foundation
Degree: B.A. in Social Work from Laval University, Quebec, Canada


Q:  What was your life like before the genocide?

A:  I was 17 years old when the genocide started.  Before that, life was good.  I was a high school student with six siblings.  My mother was a widow.  We had a normal life.  I was the youngest.

Q:  Prior to the genocide did you have many Hutu friends?  Did you notice divisions between the two populations?

A:  No.  And yes, when we were in elementary school they used to ask us which group we belonged to.  Each year they would ask this to find out who people were.  They were practicing segregation to choose who would go to public and private schools.  The Hutus were chosen to go to public schools. The Tutsis would be sent to private schools, and many of them didn’t have money to afford the tuition so they didn’t go to school at all.  Before the genocide, in the political parties, we could see people being jailed because of who they were.

Q:  What is the first thing you remember about the start of the genocide? Read more of this post

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OC for Darfur planning meeting is this Tuesday, Oct 13th

Hi everyone,

We had a busy and exciting weekend.  On Friday, we screened Shake Hands With The Devil. Over 35 people attended and we had a lively discussion afterwards.

And then on Saturday, we hosted Carl Wilkens at IUCC.  Over 150 people attended (some from as far as San Francisco) and we raised close to $1000.  All of us at OC for Darfur are extremely grateful to everyone for their presence and generosity.  Here are the pictures from the evening.

Our next planning meeting is this Tuesday, Oct 13th at 6:30p. We will meet at Patty’s office in Newport Beach.  Here is the address.

Patty’s office @ 6:30p
2424 SE Bristol Street, Suite 300
Newport Beach, CA  92660

We will discuss:

  • Wrap up from An Evening With Carl Wilkens.
  • Planning for upcoming talks in Newport Beach and Fullerton.
  • Documentary screening for Congo?

If you’d like to get involved and help with the planning of any of these activities, we would love to have you come and attend :)

See you on Tuesday.

Anshul Mittal
Orange County for Darfur
ocfordarfur.org | calendar | photos | shop | blog | facebook | twitter

PS:  We found a camera in the reception hall on Saturday.  If you left your camera on Saturday, please get in touch with me.


See all pictures from An Evening With Carl Wilkens

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An Evening With Carl Wilkens & a documentary on Roméo Dallaire

Hi everyone,

We have a couple of very exciting events coming up next week.  On Friday Oct 9th, we are screening Shake Hands With The Devil, a documentary that follows General Roméo Dallaire during his first return trip to Rwanda, on the 10th anniversary of the genocide, revisiting the killing fields that still haunt him today.  It is a gut-wrenching extraordinary account by a primary witness.

Then on Saturday Oct 10th, we are hosting An Evening With Carl Wilkens.  Carl was the only American who chose to remain in Rwanda when the genocide began in 1994.  He is a warm, heartfelt speaker and we are honored to have him come visit us in Orange County.

We hope you will join us for both events.  All information is below.  We promise you will have a moving and inspiring experience.

Barbara & Anshul
Orange County for Darfur, a project of Living Ubuntu
http://ocfordarfur.org

An Evening With Carl Wilkens

An Evening With Carl Wilkens

Carl Wilkens, former head of Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (ADRA) in Rwanda, was the only American to remain in Rwanda when the genocide began in 1994.

Saturday, October 10 2009
7:00p

Irvine United Congregational Church
4915 Alton Parkway
Irvine, California 92604

Cost:
Free

Click here to watch the trailer

Join us to hear Carl’s personal and chilling first-hand account of life for the people of Rwanda as their country collapsed. The evening will highlight what we as global citizens have in common, how our commonalities are so much greater than our differences and what that means for our response to violence – from bullying to genocide.

Please visit http://livingubuntu.org/events for more information.  RSVPs immensely appreciated.

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Shake Hands With The Devil
The Journey of Roméo Dallaire

Shake Hands With The Devil

Winner of 2007 Emmy Award, Best Documentary

Friday, October 9 2009
7:00p

Irvine United Congregational Church
4915 Alton Parkway
Irvine, California 92604

Cost:
Free

In 1993, General Dallaire was thrown into a country with only minimal briefing, leading a force that included ill equipped, poorly trained soldiers, some of whom did not want to be there.  Unsupported by UN headquarters, Dallaire and his remaining handful of soldiers were incapable of stopping the killing. This documentary follows Dallaire during his first return trip to Rwanda, early in April 2004 on the 10th anniversary of the genocide, revisiting the killing fields that still haunt him today.

Please visit http://livingubuntu.org/events for more information.  Please RSVP.


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OC For Darfur planning meeting on Tuesday, September 1st at 6:30p

Hi everyone,

The last couple of weeks have been unusually busy planning for various events.  I’m happy to report that

  • We will be screening The Reckoning on Saturday, Sept 19th.
  • And hosting a talk with Carl Wilkens on Saturday, Oct 10th.

Stay tuned for more details regarding these events.

Our next planning meeting is next Tuesday, Sept 1st. We will meet at Patty’s office in Newport Beach.  Here is the address.

Patty’s office @ 6:30p
2424 SE Bristol Street, Suite 300
Newport Beach, CA  92660


We will discuss:

  • Carl Wilken’s event in the fall.
  • The Reckoning screening.
  • The Greatest Silence screening.
  • Barbara’s upcoming GI-Net Retreat in Washington in September.

If you’d like to get involved and help with the planning of any of these activities, we would love to have you come and attend :)

See you soon.

Anshul Mittal
Orange County for Darfur
ocfordarfur.org | blog | calendar | latest updates | photos

OC for Darfur planning meeting | Tuesday, June 23rd

Hi everyone,

We had close to 60 people attend the Discussion with Mark Hanis [link] this past Wednesday.  Mark shared his personal story, why he started GI-Net and the various challenges they are facing in building a permanent anti-genocide movement in the US.  See pictures from the event here.

Our next planning meeting is this Tuesday, June 23rd. We’re meeting at Patty’s office in Newport Beach.  Here is the address.

Patty’s office @ 6:30p
2424 SE Bristol Street, Suite 300
Newport Beach, CA  92660


We’ll be discussing:
–  Update on our production of In Darfur [link].
–  Planning for our upcoming talks about Darfur in Orange County.
–  Update on our political advocacy efforts with local OC Congressional Reps.
–  Planning for Carl Wilken’s event in the fall.

If you’d like to get involved and help with the planning of any of these activities, we would love to have you come and attend :)

See you then.

Anshul Mittal
Orange County for Darfur
ocfordarfur.org | blog | calendar | latest updates | photos

“Us” Versus “Them”

During a recent speaking engagement at Penn State, Carl Wilkens, the only American to stay in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, shed light on the Darfur crisis by drawing upon his personal experiences.

According to Wilkens, exclusionary thinking is behind genocide –

Genocide stems from thinking that says “My world would be better without you in it”…Don’t fall into the easy trap of “us” and “them”…it blinds us of the beauty and joy that is always there to be found.

Wilkens urged his audience to realize that the existence of exclusionary thinking is not limited to Darfur or Rwanda. One can find it anywhere – even in the US.