Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I visited the gacaca recently. This is the local court system which is being used across Rwanda to investigate genocide crimes from 1994. When we got there we found instead a meeting about security, being addressed by a senior army officer. This was at great length, of course (nearly an hour). When he had finished, there was the formal opening of the court and the identification of witnesses before the trial began. By this time my back was quite sore with standing and waiting and I was feeling hot, tired and dehydrated in the glare of the direct sun.
Then I thought about the families of the murdered, who have waited 12 years for justice. They have also had to wait their turn in the gacaca process and finally today for the army officer to finish his speech.
I am an amateur at waiting.
There are echoes of the Psalms here, people waiting to see God’s justice come on the earth.
How long, O Lord?
How long will the wicked be allowed to gloat?
Hear their arrogance! How those evildoers boast!
They oppress your people, O Lord, hurting those you love.
They kill widows and foreigners and murder orphans.
“The Lord isn’t looking”, they say, “and besides, the God of Israel doesn’t care”.
Psalm 94, New Living Translation

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