Mary Blewitt

"Mary Blewitt is one of the heroes of our time. For years she has worked, too often without help, with the survivors of the genocide in Rwanda. She has listened to their stories, brought them practical assistance, and help them rebuild their shattered lives. That takes courage of the highest order.

Too often, after humanly inflicted tragedies, we hear the words “Never again.” They were said after the Holocaust, yet the Rwandan massacre – 800,000 people brutally murdered in a mere hundred days – happened despite the warnings given before the event. Too often, we’ve had reason to recall the words of Martin Luther King, “In the end we will remember, not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”

It is all too easy, after events such as these, to think of the victims. It is much harder to think of the survivors and what they need in order to survive. They have lost their families. Their world has been destroyed. In the case of Rwanda, the crisis goes even deeper because so many of those who were not killed were deliberately infected with AIDS. They need our help – and help begins with the act of listening to, and empowering them to tell, their stories.

This too is deeply difficult. It took fifty years for many of the Holocaust survivors to be able to speak of what had happened, so painful was the memory of trauma and the trauma of memory. Yet the telling is essential, both for the survivors and for us. We need to be reminded of what happened. And they need to speak as part of the healing of memory and mind.

This is a book of tears, tragedies and wounds, of lives lost, injuries sustained, and of much work still to be done. I hope it speaks to you, for we are all bound by a covenant of global solidarity, and though we cannot change the past, only by remembering it do we have a chance of changing the future".