Twenty years ago, destruction of families and communities erupted in Rwanda during the genocide of millions. Today, there is reconciliation. Victims and offenders are coming together to restore what, to many, may seem impossible. It’s the greatest act of forgiveness and it is being captured by photographer, Pieter Hugo.
The New York times is sharing the story of a non-profit organization, AMI, and their hand in making this reconciliation happen. The program brings together groups of Hutus and Tutsis to counsel them in hopes of leading them to ask for pardon from survivors and bring about peace.
The photos show the survivor and the perpetrator side by side. In some photos, the two are holding hands, like you would see in a photo of old friends. It’s a perfect display of beauty from ashes.
NSABIMANA: “I participated in destroying her house because we took the owner for dead. The houses that remained without owners — we thought it was better to destroy them in order to get firewood. Her forgiveness proved to me that she is a person with a pure heart.”
MUKARWAMBARI: “If I am not stubborn, life moves forward. When someone comes close to you without hatred, although horrible things happened, you welcome him and grant what he is looking for from you. Forgiveness equals mercy.”
See the rest of the photos and read the full story here.