Little Jeanne d'Arc Umubyeyi lived happily with her parents, brother and little sister. Her mother was a teacher and her father a Professor and they lived in a comfortable house with a beautiful tiled roof. She happily fought with her little sister and teased her brother. She visited her grandmother over school holidays and lived her life like any other little girl of eight, anywhere in the world... carefree and secure!
Then came that horrible day in April 1994, when her life was irrevocably changed forever. In a few short days, every thing, and every one who made up her world, were taken from her... simply because she was a Tutsi and the Hutus hated them.
Jeanne lost her whole family. She watched her mother being tortured to death, she saw her brother being hacked to death, she heard how her father was driven along for days while his capturers humiliated him and she never again heard from, or what happened to her little sister. She was left alone in a hostile world.
I have recently read the book "Over a Thousand Hills I Walk with You" by Hanna Jansen. It is Jeanne's story penned down by her adoptive mother. It is an excellent, but very disturbing book. However, I thing it should be read by as many people as possible because in essence it is a book about Africa... and about the people of Africa.
One thing that I do not understand is the fact that the Tutsis did nothing to defend themselves. I am not talking about the rebels that were already involved in the fighting, I am specifically speaking about the normal citizen who were staring death in the face and yet, did not lift a finger to defend himself. I am sure that some of the victims were killed by bullets, yet the description in the book mainly involves, hoes, machetes and beatings. Did the Tutsis not have these things? They gathered in large numbers on more than one occassion, yet at no time in the book is there any indication that they planned a defence. I do not understand this, as surely it is a basic human trait to defend yourself. Why did they not... or is it just not mentioned in this particular book?