The origins of the Tutsi and Hutu peoples is a major issue in the history of Burundi and Rwanda, as well as the greater Great Lakes region ofAfrica. While the Hutu are generally recognized as the ethnic majority of Rwanda, in racialist ideology the Tutsi were identified as a foreign race, as opposed to an indigenous minority. The relationship between the two is thus, in many ways, derived from the perceived origins and claim to "Rwandan-ness". The largest conflicts related to this question were the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, the 1972 Burundian Genocide, and the First and Second Congo Wars.
Emanuel was 9 years old when the the genocide began in Rwanda. He saw his father first bullied and then killed by the Hutus. He ran away after seeing his father dead on the floor and was found by Hutus. He had such presence of mind to lie and say he was from Northern Rwanda and he was a Hutu. I can't imagine many 9 year olds today who would be able to take care of themselves the way Emanuel did. He was eventually sent to a camp in the Congo which unlike Rwanda is in the savannah and there was no water available; because of the unsanitary conditions Emanuel then caught cholera at this camp and was very malnourished. We could have listened to his story all night; by the time he had come to Lakeside at 7:00 pm at night we were his 5th speaking engagement of the day. The Spungen Family Foundation sponsored Emanuel's visit to Lakeside and we hosted a dinner for our participants.
Emanuel was taken with our sanctuary and although he has spoken with Holocaust survivors, visited Holocaust museums and related his experiences to the Holocaust he had never been in a sanctuary. He is a Catholic and was taken with the Torah. I invited him into our sanctuary and out of respect he put on a Kipah and a tallit. When we walked into the sanctuary I saw that we had left out a Torah for our B'nai Mitzvah students to practice reading. I invited Emanuel to look at the Torah and unrolled the Torah for him to see what was inside.