If you have ever met with a couple in conflict (either together or separate), you immediately realize how difficult it is to know the truth about what happened and who did what first. Come to think of it, that is true with sibling fights as well. Each party has their own opinion of what they did and did not do. They also have a very strong opinion as to how the conflict began and why their spouse is the bigger problem. It can drive you crazy if you try to sort out who did what.
This problem exists with conflicting people groups as well. Case in point: Rwanda. We’re all familiar that a genocide tgook place there in 1994. The minority Tutsis and the majority Hutus. We’d like to say one side was the victim and the other the offender. But it is not that clear, especially since both parties have a history of aggressing against the other.
Yesterday, I read a commentary by Paul Rusesabagina (the man portrayed in Hotel Rwanda) who charges the Tutsi led government, led by President Paul Kagame, with systematic destruction of the Hutu people by imprisoning them as genocide suspects–without care for the truth. On the other side, the government charges Rusesabagina with stirring up ethnic hatred.
Who do you believe?
When you are stymied (because you aren’t there to see for yourself) what happens to you? For me, the temptation is to turn my back and throw my hands up in the air–to give up and ignore the problem, laying blame at both feet.
How do we overcome being stymied? As a therapist I attempt to get both parties to look only at themselves. But that goes against our nature, whether we are 5 or 55 years old.