Interview with Hermanas Šulcas: Africa has been left alone


Rwanda – a small country in the middle of Sub-Saharan Africa, could be a heaven on the earth – amazing nature, incredible wildlife, and especially people, so natural, honest, hospitable and joyful – this is a treasure of this little country, three times smaller than Lithuania, however, home for three times more people. On the other hand, Rwanda is one of the poorest countries in the world. Average age is only 40 years, the mortality is terribly high. It is a country with sadly shocking history, but willing to revive and develop. One of the persons, decided to help there, is Lithuanian priest Hermanas Šulcas, already more than 30 years living and working in Rwanda. It would be hard to believe, that so modest and calm person has established a youth village and is significantly contributing to the local society.

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In the following part it is the interview about living and interacting with people in Rwanda from H. Šulcas point of view.

What do you think, is it true that Western cultures still behave unfair with the African countries? How can you say so?

Actually, that is true. Claiming contrarily would be equal to a lie. What do you think, how is it still possible to live like that in 21st century? You can see everything by yourselves, I don’t need to show the exmaples. All the food, water, deseases problems, wars and conflicts.. Colonialism has done a lot of damage. For example, the border between Kenya and Tanzania – the straight line separates the same nation – Masai. Have somebody asked the nation what it wanted? I don’t want to get deeper, however, I can claim that colonialism hasn’t gone anywhere – it continues, maybe in different form now. For example, analysing the documents after the Rwanda’s genocide, it’s very visible the influence of France. The situation in which Africa is now is a consequence of cruel global colonialism. African people are totally the same as us and everyone else. They also want to have a radio, computer, cell phone, they wish to travel and know the world. They are not sluggards nor criminal, the global attitude to them has made them like this.

In 1994 the land of Rwanda was painted in the colour of blood – the war between two nations, Tutsi and Hutu, had taken more than 500000 lifes of Rwandian people. More than half of the children in your Youth village had been killed as well. It is said, that the reason of that was the France interest in very expensive mineral resources needed to produce cell phones and computers…

Well, that’s true that it wasn’t Tutsi and Hutu fight. It had much more colours from the Western cultures. Just one of the facts, almost not known in the wider horizons – two years before the war, France sent a good psychologist to Rwanda, who started working in a special radio station to stir up the Tutsi and Hutu nations… It is still hard to talk about.

Please explain – how is it possible to survive all the time seeing so sad circumstances around?

It is nor easy, never was. When I started working in Lithuania [exp. – H. Šulcas has established a youth house in Lithuania too], I was afraid people will start laughing at me – is it possible to work in two continents at the same time? I can not stay in Rwanda for more than half a year. Sometimes it becomes impossibly hard, then I go to Lithuania, to check the life here and rest a bit.

Officially, Rwanda is a country with democracy. However, do you feel safe living there?

I’ll be honest – really no. There flourishes the self-will, people do whatever they want to, they look for the justice in their own ways. White-skinned people are even more unwanted. However, it’s only the small things, I don’t want to talk more. But the thing that you can not feel safe there is totally true. Unfortunately, thanks to us.

Then, who are we today, the Europeans, the shameless killers or Africa’s savers?.

That’s hard to frame people in these words. Those, who contributed directly to the crimes caused thousands of murders during the genocide, like the French psychologist, they are responsible for it, obviously. However, I’m trying not to separate and frame people. Luckily, where always are people prepared to help.

What is the future of this black continent?

I’m always saying this – if there happened a miracle and there wasn’t any part of government, any white – skinned person and the locals could peacefully live their lifes, I am sure, that there wouldn’t be any starving person, any thirsty child. You don’t need any theoretical consideration about the power and government in that country and all Africa, all you need is simply sincerity. It’s together funny and sad to know, that millions of dollars are paid for the guns instead of the welfare of the people. So, I believe that African future will be bright only then, when it won’t be shovelled, but Western cultures will be trying to help it. The mineral I have mentioned is twice more expensive than the gold, and of course, from it’s extraction benefit not Africa, but capitalistic countries. If the justice was established in this industry, Africa would definitely rise from the hole.

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Africa has been left alone in the world, says H. Šulcas. Even the Prime Minister of Great Britain once called Africa the „Black Hole on the world’s conscience“. Rwanda is the clearest example how the richest countries in the world used the resources and people of the small African country, this way disturbing the natural economical, social and political development of local societies. Finally, it led the global world to the chaos, which is not so easy to get out from.

By Evelina Simaskaite

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