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Interfaith Forum presents movie

Posted on 04.24.2013

Members of the University of Indianapolis Interfaith Forum hosted a viewing on April 9 of “Kinyarwanda,” a movie directed by Alrick Brown. Members of the Interfaith Forum gave students the opportunity not only to view the film but also to discuss it afterwards with a Rwandan genocide survivor.

The movie followed the stories of several people who experienced firsthand the Rwandan genocide in 1994. It showed different perspectives of the divided Hutu and Tutsi tribes and brought awareness to just a few of the true-life happenings.

After the film ended, Rwandan genocide survivor Kizito Kalima spoke about his experiences. Kalima discussed how this horror evolved and what we can do to stop future genocide. He also answered questions from the audience.

Freshman chemistry and biology major Harleen Athwal, president of the Interfaith Forum, had been interested in showing this movie on campus for some time.

“When I heard about this movie, I thought it was the perfect way of showing people how to accept each other,” Athwal said. “We wanted to raise awareness about different things that are going on. This is to open our brains to what’s going on outside of Indianapolis and Facebook.”

Athwal said that the way people of different faiths came together in the midst of the Rwandan geonicide can help raise awareness of many things that many people are closed-minded about.

“It [the movie] changes the thought process—specifically about how Muslims treat each other and those of other faiths,” Athwal said. “Our awareness can make a difference.”

Kalima said that while the movie does make an impression on some, nothing could ever truly convey what happened.

“This [the violence in the film] is light. But as far as religion—Islam and other faiths coming together—that was accurate,” Kalima said. “But the killings would be too graphic to show.”

Attendees questioned the current state of Rwanda. Kalima said that while Rwanda is technically at peace, Rwandans are still dealing with aftershock.

“Rwanda is very peaceful, but it is a controlled peace,” Kalima said. “We don’t have Hutus and Tutsis anymore in Rwanda. We are all Rwandans. But everybody is watching everyone else, because it would take just one person to set everything off again.”

One attendee who was unfamiliar with the Rwandan genocide asked Kalima about the United States’ involvement. Kalima said that the United States did not assist the Rwandans, and the Rwandans are very aware of that.

“Yes, there is still resentment, even after it happened. We realized that no one cares about us,” Kalima said. “But we turned that into motivation, and now we believe in self-reliance.”

Senior religion and philosophy major Mark Wolfe helped organize the event, although he had not seen the movie prior to it.

“This was my first time seeing the movie, and I was really moved by the individual stories,” Wolfe said. “My favorite short story was the one with the child who brought murderers into his family’s home because he innocently wanted to show them that his house contained guns and cockroaches. Through the eyes of a child, genocide makes no sense. That sentiment really touched me.”

Wolfe, like Athwal, said that he hopes showing the movie and allowing students to hear from Kalima will raise awareness about violence around the world and promote interfaith conversations.

“I hope this also leads UIndy students to become more involved in genocide prevention and more aware of the importance of interfaith relationships,” Wolfe said. “Without the shelter that the Rwandan Muslim community provided, many more innocent Rwandans may have needlessly suffered.”


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