Passover

29 Mar 2010

Tonight marks the Jewish festival of Passover, the remembrance of the emancipation of the Jewish people from slavery and persecution in Egypt.

This festival continues to have relevance today. In relation to Rwanda, there are a couple of parallels that can be drawn.

The case of Charlotte Umutesi has been in the news currently in Canada, a survivor that fled from Rwanda due to threats against her life. Her application for residency rejected on the basis that she would not be subject to the risk of persecution if returned to Rwanda.

It is impossible to give informed comment on every individual case, however her situation is similar to a number of survivors in the UK, whose application for asylum is still under consideration and whose claims continue to be questioned. It is without question though that some survivors are still under threat, as reported by IBUKA, which documented the killing of 26 survivors in 2009.

As we approach the anniversary of the genocide, we remember not only the victims but also the survivors of the genocide. A remarkable exhibition of photos of survivors by Myriam Abdelaziz, draws our attention to the challenges that survivors continue to face in Rwanda today.

Ange Sandrine who features in the photo above, is also featured in a new exhibition – Survivors&Memory – at Southwark Cathedral in London, from 31st March to 27th April. The exhibition of photographs from Rwanda between 2001 – 2008 is by Drew Sutton. There is a private view at 7pm on March 31st to which all SURF supporters are invited.

In a Message from Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks on the forthcoming publication of You Alone May Live, by SURF Founder Mary Kayitesi Blewitt, he writes:

“It is all too easy, after events such as these, to think of the victims. It is much harder to think of the survivors and what they need in order to survive.”

To that end Mary and SURF continue to work.