Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Find Refuge in Rwanda

I have not watched T.V. for almost 3 months now, and I seldom have time, opportunity and inclination (all coinciding) to read internet news. But today I read a headline that “At Least 11 Persons Slain in Los Angeles Over Weekend”,… and I learn that these are 11 separate incidents, and not much more than the norm. Perhaps most disturbing is the frequency and the nonchalance with which we read and accept such reports. Acceptance. That’s just how it is. We want to assume that it is all “gang related”,… but that is not true, and even if it were, what do we really mean by such a thought? (No need to even develop that one, it is best left unspoken and quickly confessed.)

It is neither normal nor necessary to accept such violence in our communities. I presently reside in Kigali, Rwanda, which is much safer than any American city of even half its size. In Rwanda I often participate in discussions that we very seldom have in the United States, as they are considered tantamount to sacrilege: How shall we strike the optimal balance between personal rights and personal safety? And how do we strike the optimal balance between democracy and development? I shall not attempt to offer any answers at this time, as I am still struggling with the issues. But I must suggest that many Americans are neglectful as we fail to recognize the legitimacy of these questions and the necessity of working them through to resolution. Until we do, I invite you to live in the safety of Rwanda.