Kwibohora (Liberation Day in Rwanda) | Tutsi Survivor/Activist Jason Nshimye | USC Shoah Foundation
Author: USC Shoah Foundation via YouTube
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"It was a miracle. I couldn’t believe that I could survive. Because every second [was] a death to me, because someone was dying every second. And I didn’t see my survival anyhow, because there was no hope."
July 4 is Kwibohora, Liberation Day in Rwanda.
On July 4, 1994, after approximately 100 days of massacre by the Hutus, the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda ended as the Rwandan Patriotic Army overtook the country and liberated Tutsi survivors.
Jason Nshimye was born in Gishyita, Rwanda. When he was 15 years old, Jason survived the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
Jason and his family sought refuge in a church when the massacres began. The church’s pastor, who was Hutu, refused to protect them. The next morning, Hutus surrounded the church and killed hundreds of Tutsi asylum seekers. Jason escaped, and spent three months running and hiding.
"During that genocide, if they caught someone, they were going to torture that person. We had to pay to be killed with a bullet, to be killed quick. We couldn’t do it. First, we didn’t have the money to pay to be killed quicker. Second, why are we going to make it easier for them? […] There was nothing else, other than just to run away."
In his USC Shoah Foundation testimony, recorded in 2018, Jason describes the terror and helplessness, his story of survival alongside his future wife, and the miracle of his liberation by the Rwandan Patriotic Army.
Today, Jason is a human rights activist working for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
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