卢旺达最初的居民,乃是特瓦族矮人。后来以农耕为生的胡图族迁徙到此,矮人们退入山区。大约几百年前,以游牧为主的图西族来到卢旺达。图西族人身材高大,能征善战,在卢旺达建立君主国;尽管其人口只占10%~15%,却统治了人口占绝对优势的胡图族。

二战后,胡图族人觉醒,要求改变不公平的社会体系。而此时的图西族已经失去了祖先的战力优势;因此在50年代末、60年代初,胡图族的反抗运动获得成功,他们推翻了图西族君主,掌握了卢旺达的政权。大量图西族人流亡至邻国。

1990年的秋天,在乌干达的图西族流亡者组成军队,攻入卢旺达。经过谈判,两族组成了联合政府;但两族之间的矛盾却进一步激化。1994年,胡图族总统的座机被击落(据说是图西人所为),胡图族人愤怒了,随即处死了图西族的总理,并开始对图西族的大屠杀。据估计大约100万人死于这次屠杀(而卢旺达的总人口才为800多万)。

rosamond『Land of a Thousand Hills』的最后部分,就是Rosamond对这场人类大悲剧的见证。屠杀开始时,她的一些图西族邻居躲入她的种植园;随后她的胡图族邻居的少年们闯进来,将几十个避难的图西族人牵出,用木棍打死,其中包括妇女和婴孩。Rosamond在书中痛苦的说,“这些都是我从小看着长大的孩子,我一度是那么的爱他们;一夜之间,他们就都变成了魔鬼。”她始终不明白,这样的残暴是从何而来。

当局势变得不可控制时,Rosamond终于离开几十年的家园,避难到美国。但她意识到,自己在美国已经成了一个访客。硝烟未灭,她又回到卢旺达。

Rosamond所面对的,是人间地狱。半生的辛苦建设和积累,被毁得一干二净。在绝望中,她萌生离意,而此时她养的两只狗和一只猫来到她的面前。这一段文字里的那种柔软,深深打动了我:

My moment of grief was interrupted by the faint sound of a familiar bark. My emotions turned to wild elation as I stumbled outside to embrace my two beloved dogs, Freddie and Tiffany, so weak they could barely walk — but still alive. They had not been fed in more than four weeks. Just moments later, a pitiful yowl announced the return of Kim, my fourteen-year-old Siamese cat, scolding me for leaving him and letting me know how much he had suffered. I am certain that it was Kim who had kept the dogs alive by killing small animals for them to eat. Discovering my pets alive and in desperate need of love and care was truly my salvation. That was perhaps the defining moment, when my thoughts turned from leaving in defeat to believing that I had a reason to stay.

于是Rosamond留了下来,把自己的家园改建成孤儿院,收养和抚育动乱造成的大量孤儿。

看完最后一页,合上书,我想到的又是『The Lord of the Rings』里的那段对白:

– I wish none of these happened.
– So do all who live to see such times, but it is not for them to decide; all we need to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

Rosamond的一生,就是对这段话的最好注解。

我想无论游记也好、回忆录也好,既要有个人的情感投入,也要保持一定客观,这样才能让读者产生信任和兴趣,从而能够津津有味的读完。这本书的叙述,像是经历了沧海桑田的老人,带着洞察世事的眼睛,但又有包容慈爱的胸怀。因此,它可以穿透层层防护,打动人的内心。

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