Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rwandan Genocide and Reconciliation: Samputu dismisses IBUKA ‘Negationist’ accusations

By Linda Mbabazi
The Kigali New Times

Rwandan singer, Jean Paul Samputu, on Tuesday, scoffed at allegations that he’s a negationist. The accusations were made by Theodore Simburudari, while addressing thousands of mourners during the 15th anniversary of the 994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

“He must have misinterpreted the message. I have never forced anyone to forgive, or repent whatsoever. The message was totally out of my own experience,” Samputu said Tuesday afternoon at The New Times offices during the interview.

Simburudari who is the President of IBUKA, the umbrella association of the Genocide survivors made the attack on the artiste during a night vigil held at Nyanza Memorial Site last week, where he said that the singer’s efforts to sensitise survivors to forgive were tantamount to revisionism.

Samputu is an internationally acclaimed musician also best known for forgiving the man who killed his family members during the Genocide.

“I need to remind Simburudari that my career is in line with the country’s policy of unity and reconciliation.”

A Genocide survivor himself, Samputu was accompanied in the interview by his personal secretary and the man who killed his parents during the Genocide, Vincent Ntakirutimana. He said that he was shocked to hear such accusations from the President of IBUKA.

He however accepted his message might have hurt some Genocide survivors, who are still suffering the consequences of the Genocide.

“Forgiveness and repentance is done voluntarily. I’m under no obligation to force anyone to repent or forgive.”

In an interview, Simburudari said that Samputu has no right to impose on survivors to forgive the people who killed their loved ones during the bloodbath.

“He goes to Gacaca courts testifying that he forgave the man who killed his parents. But apparently, the killer doesn’t genuinely confess for the unlawful act but instead insists that he was forced to kill,” chided Simburudari.

The seemingly bitter Simburudari said that if Samputu wants to forgive the killers, he should keep it to himself, but not force anyone to do the same.

In February, Samputu co-hosted a four-day international conference in Kigali where as a Genocide survivor; he genuinely forgave the Genocide perpetrators.

The 47 year old singer and songwriter claimed that, much as Rwandans consider rebuilding themselves, the country cannot develop when there are people who are still enslaved with anger and yearning for revenge.

“I’m really praying for our country, and for all Rwandans, especially those who still think like Simburudari,” Samputu says, “I believe my message of forgiveness will help people to heal.”

He described the term ‘forgiveness’, as “to liberate the body and to be released from the confines of hatred, and getting relieved from anger and bitterness.”

“I suppose Simburudari should be preaching such a message to the people.”

Meanwhile, Samputu is expected to travel to Canada and America,on Saturday, for the 15th anniversary of the Genocide commemoration in his ‘Never Again’ campaign, in those countries.

Related Materials:
Mizero Children of Rwanda

Jean Paul Samputu: "I forgive friend who killed my family"


At April 26, 2009 at 11:08 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about those millions Hutu who were killed by Tutsi. Not to forget that Tutsi started the war.


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