Requiem For Butare

Lorne Clarke & Tom Flannery
Language: English

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© 2004 Tom Flannery and Lorne Clarke
a production
Clarke & Flannery love to hear your thoughts on the song cycle. Email them to

This is not a history lesson. We're not historians. We're songwriters. And anyway... how the hell is anybody going to explain the systematic state sponsored slaughter of close to a million people with a handful of songs? We're not.

Truth is, there is no explanation for the Rwandan genocide. What there is in abundance, however, is ignorance. If these songs make just one person dig a little deeper, then we've made our money back, so to speak. We've touched upon specific pieces of the horror, but don't even pretend to be able to understand it from the Rwandan point of view. We're observers from afar. Interested, heartbroken observers....but merely observers nonetheless. Please keep that in mind.

All of these songs are solo acoustic performances...recorded live with a digital 8 track studio in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The full lyrics are available, as are the complete recordings in both mp3 and quicktime formats. Notes for each song are provided, giving some insight into the creative process....and explaining where explanations are necessary. The entire project is only available via the internet. There is no "official" CD of this music. This is strictly an "online" project.
This is partly due to economics, but also because once a CD is released, it can't be changed. We're likely to add new songs here at any time.

Individual essays are also posted, because some ideas that we have probably can't be conveyed using the song form alone. These too will probably grow in time. Also, a brand new play by playwright Tom Flannery called Rwandan Eyes is available exclusively here.

Everything here is free. Listen, distribute freely, discuss.

Do everything but steal.

Tom Flannery & Lorne Clarke.


This song is for the victims, but especially the few survivors of the massacre at the Convent at Butare in 1994. More than 5,000 people had fled to the supposed sanctuary of the Catholic Church -- with the expectation that God and His servants would protect them from the killers.

Sadly, God did not intervene when two of His nuns decided to take part in one of the most horrific mass killings in all of history.

These murders were not accomplished by means of explosives - or flying jet airliners into large office towers - or by military assault - or machine guns - or poison gas. These murders, of more than 5,000 people killed in cold blood, were accomplished with machettes. Chopping and chopping and chopping - beyond the point of exhaustion - in the "Holy" House of God -
with the "Brides of Christ" providing succor, nourishment, and support to the members of the slaughtering machine.

In July of 1994 two Benedictine Nuns, Consolata Mukangango and Julienne Mukabutera, were removed from Rwanda by the Catholic Church and placed in a Convent in the town of Maredret, Belgium. However, since that time a new law has been passed in Belgium which allows individuals, including non-Belgians, to be tried in Belgium for war crimes committed elsewhere.

They are now standing trial for the murder of 5,000 people - under the Geneva Convention. If convicted they will likely serve life in prison.

It is not insignificant that the Vatican acted in this and other notable cases, like that of the infamous Bishop Wenceslas, to extract its people -- who were known to be nstumental in the genocide -- and remove them to safety in other countries.

Requiem For Butare is intended to underline the tragedy which results from clinging to - and seeking out - a supernatural solution - in the face of the unrelenting evil of mankind. I will never be convinced that all those who were murdered lacked sufficient faith or were so filled with sin that they were not worthy of saving.

As indicated in the final verse of the song, however, it is vital that we remember that there are indeed good, kind, brave people on this planet. We must never lose sight of the good in the world. We must look after the children.

May we never again turn our backs when the cries for help fill the heavens.
First among the tell-tale signs of madness
Is an unreasoning compulsion to believe
In miracles and faith
That love will find a way
That in the end the truth will set you free

So each night while the stars hang in the blackness
A billion frightened voices beg for peace
Kneeling 'mongst the graves
Of Paupers, Kings and Slaves
The definition of eternity

And when no answers fall from heaven's vastness
We convince ourselves that we lack purity
That we're unworthy and unclean
That's why God remains unseen
Why we stand alone in our time of need

Yet if we look, there's a glimmer midst the ashes
A whisper of the way that things might be
The laughter of a child
A young bride's happy smile
The golden glow of sunrise o'er the sea

Contributed by CCG/AWS Staff - 2007/9/17 - 22:32

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