Several outstanding individuals are featured in Part IV of the Oslo Journal, appearing today. One is Gilbert Tuhabonye. Have you ever come across him? He wrote a book called This Voice in My Heart: A Runner’s Memoir of Genocide, Faith, and Forgiveness. He was caught up in the atrocities of Burundi — less well-known than those of neighboring Rwanda.
One day, Hutus came to Gilbert’s school to kill Tutsis like him. They killed many people with machetes, and they burned the rest of them alive — but not Gilbert. He spent about nine hours hidden beneath the burning corpses of his classmates. Then he escaped: by — get this — taking a femur off one of the corpses and breaking a window. Then he ran into the night: and ran and ran.
Eventually, he came to the United States, where he became a track star. Today he is a running coach and kind of a life coach. He says, “You cannot live a full life if your heart is heavy with hate and anger. Though it was very hard, I chose to forgive. Forgiveness allowed me to move forward, to open my heart to countless blessings and opportunities.”
Then there is Kang Chol-hwan, one of the few escapees from the North Korean gulag. He too wrote a book: The Aquariums of Pyongyang. He says that people have trouble comprehending the North Korean gulag, because they see no pictures. They see pictures of earthquakes and their victims — but not of Koreans who live in circumstances that barely qualify as human.
Would you like to see a picture of Kang and George W. Bush, as the president greets him in the Oval Office? Go here. I think the looks are characteristic of both men.