Carl Wilkens, the only lone American to stay in Rwanda following the pre-planned genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994 is a good and decent man.
During those dark and bloody 100 days in April, 1994, Wilkens gave of himself and refused to join the fleeing foreigners who shamelessly left people that had worked and lived beside them for years to die on the streets of Kigali.
As this year’s keynote speaker at the recent 18th. commemoration ceremony of the genocide against Tutsi in Washington, D.C. at Georgetown University, Wilkens shamed the international community for abandoning Rwanda.
Tears freely flowing on his cheeks, Wilkens lamented about the role of the international community during the genocide, and in particular America’s cavalier attitude under the Clinton administration. It was a moral failure, above all else Wilkens said, a brutal sign of man’s inhumanity to man.
Narrating how he fearlessly sought medicines and food for the victims and survivors of this century’s worst genocide, Wilkens almost flooded the hall with tears of the 700-strong audience who attentively listened as he told of horrific acts he witnessed that have left him a broken man, but for his faith.
There is a lesson to learn from this soft-spoken and humble man who refuses to let the world forget the genocide against Tutsi. There is no greater sin for good men to see evil and do nothing.
And Carl Wilkens can sleep better than most. He did his best, and unlike many, Rwandans included, he has not commercialised the genocide for personal gain.
I looked in his eyes and saw decency and amazing faith.