July 4th is a holiday in Rwanda, too.
As is July 1st.
The 1st is their Independence Day, from Belgian colonial rule.
It’s a day of celebration.
The 4th is their Liberation Day, from the mass murder they experienced during the Rwandan Genocide, 18 years ago.
It’s a day of silence.
On 2 July 2012, our group of eight primatology students, two professors, and one professors’ son, visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial. It was more than educational, more than moving. It stilled me. It frustrated me.
These things – these thoughts, these feelings instigated by our visit to the Memorial, this information… they go to a place in me that’s already dead. I shut down emotionally, and cannot feel anything but bone-weary and blank.