UNT hosts debate with Rwanda

UNT hosts debate with Rwanda

December 02
22:21 2014

Kaleigh Gremaud / Staff Writer

The UNT debate team and iDebate team from Rwanda discussed whether justice or forgiveness was more important after the 1994 Rwandan genocide during a debate Tuesday.

No winner was declared in the debate. UNT debate director Brian Lain said his team argued in favor of forgiveness.

“In today’s debate, UNT affirmed in the topic in the aftermath of genocide forgiveness is more important than justice,” he said.

IDebate argued for justice after the Rwandan genocide, which saw between 500,000 and 1 million people slaughtered during the last phase of a civil war that had been raging since 1990. Rwanda established a special court to handle the trials  after several hundred judges and lawyers either fled or were killed during the genocide, leaving only 50 lawyers to prosecute 130,000 suspects, but that court was closed under heavy criticism in 2012.

Peace studies and history freshman Abron Hester, political science senior Darrian Carroll and political science freshman Brett Kramber represented UNT in the debate.

This was UNT’s first time hosting a debate with the iDebate team from Rwanda. iDeabate consisted of high school graduate Yvan Magwene and two high school students from Green Hills Academy, Kassy Irebe and Bryan Manzi.

Each debater gave a seven-minute debate to support his or her side of the argument.  After the first four debaters, Lain opened the floor to questions from the audience for 10 minutes. After the questions, each side gave closing remarks.

Hester started off the debate by discussing how forgiveness must come before justice. Hester stressed the act of forgiveness does not make someone forget, but allows that person to be able to move forward.

“Forgiveness cannot be polluted, and it can only be progress,” Hester said. “Without forgiveness, there can be no progress.”

Manzi started for the iDebate team, calling Hester’s statements about forgiveness “cute and adorable.” He said there needs to be retribution on those who committed the genocide.

“Forgiveness doesn’t help on a national level,” Manzi said. “It helps individuals but not the nation.”Kramber supported Hester’s view that forgiveness stops people from dwelling on the past. He said forgiveness needs to exist for people to feel as though justice has taken place for them to go on with their life.

“At some point in the process of justice, forgiveness is required to believe that justice has been served,” Kramber said.

Magwene took a passionate stand for justice, explaining that justice has more value after genocide. Magwene said justice is the way to show people that there are consequences to their actions and is the best answer to ending violence.

“In the aftermath of genocide, you need to deal with the problem from the roots,” Magwene said. “The only way to deal with the roots is by understanding the problem. The problem is not just going to drop way to forgiveness or to justice. That’s not how things are done.”

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