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The power of forgiveness


(L) Monica Kambbi with her brother (R) Paul Twahirwa, who killed her husband and six children during the genocide in Rwanda. Monica has had to move on with her life and has forgiven him for his crimes.

The true healing power of forgiveness resides within, dormant until we consciously awaken its potential. Forgiveness brings many things, but above all it releases others from our ropes, releasing us from having to drag around the weight of every attack.

Sister forgives her brother who killed her husband and six  children in Rwandas genocide

Monica Kambbi can never forget the slaughter of her family, but she can forgive. 25 years on still sees it vividly

The image of her six small children, some of the youngest victims of Rwanda’s genocide, whimpering in the red dirt for hours before they were finally able to die.

Their suffering haunts her more than the attack itself, carried out with wooden clubs spiked with nails.

And the fact all she could do was helplessly creep between each small body, holding their hands.

But there is another image, too, almost as hard to recall a quarter-century on: that of the familiar faces of two of their murderers.

Because in Rwanda, the mass killing of mainly Tutsis by Hutus was not reserved for strangers.

It was not even uncommon for it to happen within families, where marriage had once happily blended the two ethnic groups.

Those two men were Monica’s own brothers, like her, Hutu – and unlike her Tutsi husband who they also killed, and her children deemed Tutsi simply because he was, they are still alive today.