I don’t care who you are. You could be white or black, English or Irish, Hutu or Tutsi, Jew or Arab, Ibo or Hausa, believer or non-believer or you could even be colourless, I don’t care. Whoever you are, I well know that you have not experienced what I have gone through. Your world is most probably a world of laws and order. Mine has been different. It is a world where the impossible, the unexpected happen and take centre stage. I have stopped caring for a world that does not care. I have surrendered to fate and it seems fate has surrendered to me.
I have stopped worrying about conforming to societal norms because they are not (more) important than deviant behaviour. I see little difference between life and death, angels and demons, sanity and insanity, right and wrong, true belief and paganism.
I have killed, raped, maimed, and castrated. I have been broken by my experience. If I had not been granted asylum, I could have taken my life. I thought I was safe by coming over here but my woes that I thought I had left behind have haunted me. I was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. I know I got it from the numerous women I raped back home. The imminent death though doesn’t bother me since death or any death-threatening disease doesn’t scare me.
I used to be afraid of dying when I was young but not any more. I was brought up in the Roman Catholic Church which had more rituals than our ancestors used to follow. I was christened Peter by some red-faced white Priest who poured water on my head and told me I was a new being. I only stopped going to church when I later realised the same Catholic White Fathers who deafened our ears with the talk of God of love and equality promoted the myth that Tustis were superior to us. Well, the Priest who baptised me could have been gay or even a paedophile. Well, I won’t go in detail to talk of the past that I no longer believe in because like the present it is illusive and the future is also highly unpredictable and meaningless.
I have taken too many lives to fear death. Death means nothing to me. I like what the Bible calls death ‘sleep’ for that’s what it is. I sometimes like reading the Bible for fun especially Ecclesiastes which talks of the meaninglessness of life, likening it to chasing the wind. Well I have been chasing the wind for a long time. Many people are still chasing the wind and they don’t know it. My wife Gentille says I talk in my sleep. When I ask her what I say she tells me I shout to my tormentors to kill me since I have stopped caring. At first such things used to scare me but with my HIV status and my experience, I see a thin line between life and death, reality and fantasy. I live both worlds.
Some of my friends who confessed in taking part in the genocide to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission apologised for the part they played in the killings. I pitied them because later, after enrolling for a part-time sociology course at the University of London, I learnt who largely contributed to the genocide. It was hypocrites like the ones who had convened the Commission. They were not directly involved in starting the genocide but they laid the foundation to the carnage that happened.
Unfortunately, these Masters Of War as one singer calls them are the ones who have taken a judgemental stance to bring peace between the two warring sides. They pride themselves by helping the refugees and offering asylum to former ‘butchers’ like me.
The other day I saw my name with several others from my tribe in the English tabloid. We were called Monster, Angels of death, Machete wielders, extremists, tribalists and other names these western journalists could invent for our cursed lot.
They said we were abusing taxpayer’s money. My surname was misspelled as Nteyahananga instead of Ntuyahaga. This was a minor omission compared to the inaccuracies of the report about me. They said I work in Manchester as a cleaner and that I am a former Interahamwe. I work as a mental ‘carer’ and I never joined the Interahamwe though I took part in the genocide.
It is funny how these western journalists want to judge and classify us. Anyway, it is their world and we are just people they discovered and conquered the way Tutsis who found us in Rwanda lorded over us, castrating our chiefs to show their superiority.
It is normal in history though for the conquerors to impose their values and attitudes on the conquered. The British did the same with their colonies wherever they mounted the Union Jack. The Pioneers did the same in America and so did the whites in Australia who classified the Aborigines among fauna and flora!
I am blaming the anthropologists, missionaries, historians and both Belgian and French colonial masters who all said Tutsis were superior because they were lighter and taller than us Hutus and Twas. Those are the people I am condemning. Some anthropologists argued that Arabs, Ethopians, Somalians and Tutsis were Hamites and far superior to us who like our sub-Saharan counterparts are Africans proper.
I had been experiencing the same judgemental attitude from my white workmates who only started siring me when they saw a story with my picture in the Papers. They now look at me with fear mixed with some strange respect. It is not the respect that is earned though. It is the respect one gives to the person he fears and even hates. Before that, I had been treated shabbily like one who had run away from hunger and diseases from one of the most insulted Continents.
As I said, dear reader, I no longer care. Part of me has died. I am just surprised that after reading so many books about my tribe and Continent, I have discovered that the people I thought were intervening to bring peace to my country are squarely quilt to what they have called a tribal genocide.
While quoting the 10 Hutu commandments that called on my tribesmen to kill Tutsis, these perpetrators of half truths and lies are not saying nothing about the ten centimetres difference that was used to justify our inferiority to Tutsis.
They are not quoting real monsters like Arthur de Gobineau, that colonial scholar who concluded that the physical differences between Hutus and Tutsis meant that we originated from different areas.
I have now realised the power that people who write have over those who do not. My history, even my future, has been defined by foreigners. I am writing a book to tell my own side of the story. It will be called The Hate That Hate Produced. I am really tired of definitions and classifications that invent names like gentiles, Kaffirs, Osus, Niggers, Paddies, Pakis and machete wielders like me.