Children who perished during the Rwandan genocide. Photo: UK Department for International Development/flickr

Children who perished during the Rwandan genocide.
Photo: UK Department for International Development/flickr

Young students continue to confront the world’s dark history of genocide in their classes today.

One of these students is Isabella Storey, a freshman at River Forest Jr./Sr. High School in Hobart, Indiana.

Inspired by Valentina, a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Isabella decided to write a poem about her when given a creative writing assignment based on the Rwandan genocide. Valentina’s story is that of a 13 year old caught in the cross hairs of the genocide that came raging into her village. Losing her family, Valentina was spared, but not without emotional and physical scars.

Isabella’s powerful poem is a reminder of how we must actively work to prevent genocide for future generations. She asserts, “This is my call of action: make the public aware of what has happened, what is happening, and what could happen.”

For Valentina-

By Isabella Storey

Eyes of brown,
searching around,
for the next to die.

Eyes of brown,
peering the ground,
for a Tutsi asking “Why?”

Eyes of brown,
clinking a sound,
machetes raised high.

Eyes of brown
finally unwound,
madness no longer shy.

Eyes of brown,
old revenge, now newfound,
adding to the extremist supply.

Eyes of brown,
brutally pound.
Bodies lifeless, mangled and wry.

Eyes of brown
stalk out of the church, without frown.
keeping watch under the April sky.

Eyes of brown
move on to fatally hound,
the Rwandans who try to defy.

Eyes of brown
try to astound
the world with their cry:

Eyes of brown
making the Hutu name renowned;
saying Tutsis turned a blind eye.

For eyes of brown
killing was crowned,
a million lives, now denied.

Eyes of brown
now surround,
the lives they had denied.

 

Valentina’s story was told in a PBS Frontline Report. Learn more about Valentina’s story here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/rwanda/

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