Thank you for including Luleka Mangquku's eloquent portrayal of the helplessness and guilt-feelings of onlookers to the Rwandan genocide (Pambazuka News 150: Special edition on Rwanda). The end of the commentary raises the question of forgiveness and the difficulty of forgiving the untrustworthy on "seventy times seven" occasions.
I must protest the misuse of the Christian gospels by both Rwandan gacaca and the church in erecting this obstacle across the path of justice.
The Gospel According to Matthew (18:15-22) provides a process for forgiveness that includes confrontation, first by the injured individual, then by his/her community, then by the church itself, for the requisite repentance of the perpetrator. The Gospel According to Luke (17:3-4) requires forgiveness after the perpetrator requests it.
If the Christian gospels must be invoked for healing the monstrous wounds of Rwanda, let the process begin with truth-telling and forgiveness-seeking by the perpetrators, not the victims. Diffusing responsibility to include the victims promotes further injustice.
Ten years further down the road, as the wounds continue to fester, blaming victims for not divulging enough of their humiliation nor pardoning sufficient numbers of the murderers of their families would be the ultimate sacrilege.