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|Journey to Rwanda - Page 4|
A teammate and I later meet with a group of three—two brothers and their friend. All three have confessed to their crimes, but after 13 years in prison, only one of them has been sentenced. Prisoners who've been sentenced wear orange uniforms. We see few of these, despite the time that's elapsed since the genocide. The three men, like my own children, are in their mid-thirties.
One of the men, exactly my son's age, is a Tutsi who killed his entire family in exchange for his own life. The brothers say he's never been the same, and as we talk with him, his eyes fill with tears. We show the men how to do a simple grounding exercise in which they sense their feet on the floor and their backs supported by the wall. Then we ask them to describe something that gives each of them pleasure and sense where they feel it in their bodies. I'm relieved to see that the sensory tracking seems to help the prisoners feel more balanced, especially the one in distress. I see the tension leave his face, his hands relax, and a ghost of a smile appears on his lips. This brief demonstration of TRM gives me hope that we may have something to offer here.
I know that some of the genocidaires in this prison may be beyond rehabilitation or may not want to change, but I'm startled by how warmly I feel toward these young men. I try to keep imagining being at the other end of their machetes during the killings to keep myself alert to what they've done and guard against being manipulated, but all I feel is their humanity. This confuses me. How can good people turn into mass murderers?