Abanyarwanda: Are We Proud or Ashamed? – A note from Jean Michel

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I think I am proud…

I am proud of my name and my origins,
I am proud of my native culture and customs
Proud of my early days and my language
Proud of my beliefs and history
But am I? 

When I meet one we share this “Pride”
I put my guards up I get cautious and vigilant
I study the territory before I open upI decide whether I reveal myself
or not I calculate my approach and my behaviorI protect myself from my own people
So, how can I be proud and guarded at the same time? 
Sadly the human race battles its own kind
Evil seems to conquer over kindness and I know the evil of the culture
I know the insiders’ secrets I know the depth of history and how it has hurt
I know the insincerities of the society know there is no freedom of identity
And I know that kindness and honesty will not do.
We have learned to handle this
We are toughened and observant
We have been burned and we learned
We are cultured in playing the game 
We have stopped being naïve and unripe.
We have become one of “them” because after all, We are insiders. 
We pass it on, We will train our kids because we love them
We will coach them to protect themselves
We will teach them so they don’t get burned We will share the rules of the game
We are qualified and convinced. But we will also teach them to be proud
It is a contradiction and we understand it. Alarming, I know.
So what’s the deal? Are we proud or are we ashamed?
Have we learned anything from history?
Or are we extending it even more?
Are we better or just the same?
Have we given up for others to sort out?
Or just hoping it will get better with time?
There is no “us” and “them”, we are all to blame.
We must be proud, We have always stood tall and ready to defend ourselves
We are passing our culture and customs down to new generations
We keep our names and language alive
We teach history and brag about the thousand hills.
So we are proud. Right? 
Or are we ashamed? Ashamed of our history and disgrace
Ashamed of the division between the same people
Ashamed of the hate and dishonesty
Ashamed of being one of “them”
Ashamed because we have no freedom.
Ashamed? … 
… Or both?
Margo Rukashaza ——-

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