December 19, 2018
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
Mount Honors students hold performances that express their knowledge of, and reaction to, genocide. The students spent the semester studying genocide in literature and art in a course offered by Mount Professor of Education Jane Gangi.
Students of Mount Saint Mary College’s Honors Program recently presented “Genocide Awareness and Witness,” an event that informed the college community about this important global issue.
The students organized the event to share their knowledge and insights from their semester of study in Professor of Education Jane Gangi’s Honors Genocide in Literature and Art class.
The featured session of the event was an online Q&A with Yvette Rugasaguhunga, a survivor of genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda in the 1990s and 2nd Counselor at the Embassy of Rwanda in Senegal.
Rugasaguhunga shared her story of survival with the packed audience, including how her father and brother were tortured and killed and she was captured shortly after. She and her sister were saved by two military men who asked the angry crowds if these two young girls were the source of the problems the country faced. They were allowed to flee, and spent the rest of the genocide period being shuffled in hiding from house to house.
After her father’s death, Rugasaguhunga explained that she lost her will to live. Watching her brother fighting for his life despite being beaten made her realize how precious life was, however. “My life was no longer mine,” she noted. “I had to live for them. My life after genocide should be to honor those who died.”
She added that despite the hardship she suffered, it taught her that “humanity can prevail.”
Genocide doesn’t happen overnight, Rugasaguhunga explained to the students. The solution that she shares is a message of love: “We talk about never again, but that begins with shared responsibility, which is love.”
Other presentations at the event included a poster symposium, performances by students, and information sessions.