When I was twelve years old, they undressed a Tutsi girl in front of my entire school. They wanted to see if her private parts were the same as other people. Motorhead Stainless Steel Tumbler. She kept trying to cover herself with her hands while they pulled out her hairs one by one. I can still hear the laughter. Even with all the violence that came later, that was the most traumatic moment of my life. It’s still the image I see when I’m trying to fall asleep. The genocide didn’t begin until many years later, when I was twenty-five years old. I was a soldier in the army. I could tell the atmosphere was growing more and more tense. Our commanders were openly using ethnic slurs.
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There was talk of ‘wiping our enemies from this country.’ One night I was assigned to guard four Tutsi prisoners. They’d been accused of making explosives but were clearly innocent civilians. Motorhead Stainless Steel Tumbler. They’d been tortured. Their wounds were rotten and stinking. A major came to the cell at 1AM and ordered me to step aside. ‘These people need to be killed immediately,’ he said. But I refused. I told him those were not my instructions. He pushed and screamed, but eventually he stormed off. The prisoners were released a few days later, but someone followed them out and killed them. It was a sign of things to come.