Karen: When you brought the militiamen into your bedroom, were you crying? Were you shaking?
Dr. Phodidas: I was praying and I was confident that God could save me. After they took all of my belongings from my bedroom, they brought me out to the living room. Then, the commander vehemently said, "We’re not going to kill you but we’ll lock you inside the house. The police will come and kill you.” They left and we resumed to praying to God and studying the Bible.
Karen: What happened after that?
Dr. Phodidas: The commander changed his mind. He gave the key to our house to a woman outside. He told the woman to unlock our door. We thought we were still in danger, so we planned our escape. All of us started running. And, as soon as I jumped the fence, I realized we were ambushed by another group of militiamen. But, out of this group, I saw a familiar face, one that was with the group at the house. “I’m going to cut your throat”, he shouted, as he ran towards me. Again, I had my bible in my hand. I lifted my bible and said, “Don’t shed innocent blood!” He got scared and backed off.
“Why did you run away? Why don’t you go back to your house?”, he asked.
I responded, “Okay, I won’t run. I’ll just walk back to my house.”
After that that, the chief of the militiamen would, from time to time, check on me. He called me “Murokore”, which means “the holy one”. He’d say, “Murokore, are you still in the house? Keep praying!” But, that was just the beginning of the 100 days of the Rwanda Genocide. At one point, I lived inside a bush for 34 days.
(To be continued.)
BY Dr. Phodidas, Karen Gardner, Katie C.M. Li
Dr. Phodidas is a professor at Weimar Institute. He authored Preaching From The Grave.