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Owen gets tough in essay about Rwanda

The Children of Men star recently took his 13-year-old daughter Hannah on a visit to the African country and met the survivors of the war that has ripped the nation apart, and he has used the experience as the basis for a newspaper article about the innocents still suffering from the 1994 killings.

In the piece, published in U.K. newspaper The Times, the movie star writes, “Sixteen years can feel like a lifetime. But when you’re facing the fallout of a genocide, as I discovered in Rwanda, it can feel like no time at all.

“It’s very hard for an individual to take on the concept of a million people dying in 100 days. But, as soon as you listen to one person’s story, you start to relate on a human level, and you begin to realise just how devastating it was.”

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Owen goes on to recall a meeting with a survivor named Winifred, who was raped and beaten while pregnant during the genocide and now struggles to provide for her son, who has psychological problems after witnessing the assault.

He continues, “Today she has Aids from the rape, and is unable to support herself without charity… The emptiness in her eyes tells you that no amount of material progress will solve what’s eating this woman.

“In Rwanda, where psychological support is an unaffordable luxury, the need is overwhelming. It’s ridiculously naive to think that a victim of the genocide can just bury what happened to them and move on.

“Its consequences are clearly spilling from one generation to the next. We can’t restore what was destroyed, but we can – and we should – acknowledge that suffering and help survivors to pick up the pieces.”

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