From You Hide That You Hate Me And I Hide That I Know:
Calixte said it was still too soon for him to trust even the friendliest, most innocent of his childhood neighbors — the people, he said, “who did nothing against us and, when there were killings, used to come and help us bury bodies.” He said, “They act like they love us, but I can’t tell.”
He believed that coexistence would take several generations. While his generation was too young to be guilty of genocide, those whose families had killed while his family was killed also still carried a heavy burden of memory. “They have that heart of shame,” Calixte said. “They don’t feel free when we are together.”
That was “the danger,” he said: “Those who really manage to talk to us say, No, don’t lie to us, don’t say that you don’t hate us, because we know better. They say, Why do you hide it? They don’t believe us. But really we hide nothing. We really don’t hate them.”
At first it pained Calixte to have his good will met with such alienation and disbelief. But he recognized the sentiment – “They can't trust us as we can't trust them,” he said – and, in time, he had been surprised to find that accepting the limits of reconciliation could be a measure of respect.
One of his classmates at university had been one of his boyhood neighbors, a son of one of the families that had wiped out his family. At school, they got along socially. They could drink together, and talk, and share food. But if Calixte ever brought up the past, he couldn’t get anywhere.
“He would tell me, You are not honest, because you can’t say that you hate me. My family, to which I belong, killed yours. Our blood – even mine – killed yours. So how can you hide that you hate me?
“Then what he told me was very interesting,” Calixte said. “He said, We’re at school. We have the same life, we have so many things that we share, and you need me here on campus as I need you. So let’s just share those interests, but don’t go beyond. Don’t ask me about my family. Don’t ask me about my home. No, let’s just talk here about here. Let’s talk about the syllabus, let’s talk about research, let’s talk about football. But let’s don’t get involved in those issues. Because I know that you’re not telling me honestly the truth that you have in your heart.”
Calixte laughed. He sounded excited, as if in shutting him out, his boyhood neighbor was really letting him in on something.