Rwanda Landscape and Memory

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The choir at St. Jean Catholic Church, is a mix of Hutu and Tutsi.  Assistant Choir leader Jean Marie Vianney is a genocide survivor. He lost hos  wife in the genocide and  reamrried two  years later. "In 1996 it was difficult to sing again. It took courage. I joined again when I was getting ready to marry again. I sang songs at my  own wedding to my second wife. Singing  gives me pleasure and joy. We don't think about anything else apart from God and the sound we are making, about making a lovely sound together." He said. "The first image that comes to mind of the church is when i was 8 years old. In this place iw as praying and praising God. I prayed for peace for the country and  for my family And for knowledge as well. Knowledge of God and of science. My next memory if of the perpetrators and what happened in this church. In th ebeginning the genocidaires were not touching people here. Not by pity but so that as many as possible would gather here, People ran to the church and days later they were killed. In September of 1994 I came back to this place. There were stains of blood on the walls. The roof damaged by grenades. The pews burnt near the opening and the mass graves were not yet opened. You can't cry, you can't say anything. It is a night. Everything is gone. Everything is dark." Jeanne Marie Vianney at St. Jean Catholic Church and Home Complex, Kibuye, Rwanda. Photo By Brendan Bannon March 1, 2014.