How did Rwanda heal the collective mania?

  How to distinguish between “normal” and “crazy”? The most common criterion is often whether the human mind is “out of reality”, but it is not so simple to study.
  Large crowds can also fall into collective frenzy, or pursue elusive goals. Each of these individuals will feel that the people around them have the same understanding, so their own ideas cannot be more reasonable. They belong to the most mainstream and most supported judgments, and those who do not follow the trend are lacking a sense of reality.
  Madness is only recognizable in the context of an individual’s mental illness: worrying about getting cancer is a common thought, but if someone in an office building is unreasonably worried about a monster hiding in the toilet, it seems like an obvious “out of touch” “”unusual”.
  Collective mania is also a type of madness, and when the disaster caused by the collective mania subsides, what remains may be intractable trauma and mental illness.
  The Rwandan genocide in April 1994 is a fitting example. Today, 28 years after the disaster, many survivors are still suffering from post-traumatic syndrome, depression, and even schizophrenia, and it is difficult to find a stable rhythm of life.
  It is estimated that out of Rwanda’s population of 7 million, nearly 800,000 Tutsi and a small number of Hutu were massacred. There may be more than 1 million people involved in the massacre, and 500,000 women were raped and abused.
  When Tutsi forces took control of the situation, nearly 2 million Hutu people fled to neighboring countries. The catastrophe turned the lives of all survivors into twists and turns. WHO estimates that about 10% of Rwanda’s population continues to suffer from mental symptoms, but Rwanda’s spiritual healing system is very weak.
  According to the familiar paradigm of modern psychiatry, typical psychiatric treatment may be expensive one-on-one psychological counseling, or rely on chemical drugs to intervene in the psychological state. After the massacre, many foreign medical personnel also went to the local area to provide support. But it is clear that European and American recliner-style spiritual counseling is not suitable for local situations, and the Rwandan medical system must develop its own way.
  Among them, the most important is the community-based group rehabilitation therapy.
  The model developed in Rwanda can be called “healing with others”. This model groups 10-15 neighbors in the same community into small therapeutic groups, each led by two therapists to meet regularly. The amazing thing is that this group deliberately includes perpetrators and survivors, and by listening openly to each other in dialogue, rebuilding a sense of security, trust, and respect for each other, and re-establishing the basis for a common life.
  After the genocide in Rwanda, about 120,000 perpetrators were sent to prisons, but the number of prisoners overwhelmed the prisons, and most prisoners were eventually released. In the early days, many prisoners were re-arrested after being released from prison. Many of them even silenced the victims in order to annihilate the evidence of the crime, which made the survivors in the society panic; on the other hand, many perpetrators feared suffering The revenge of the victim’s family, longing for forgiveness and a new life.
  No matter what kind of crazy behavior, a set of reasonable inferences must have arisen in the mind of the person involved. Returning to normal social life means that new ways of thinking and behavior must be established before the old can be dissipated or forgotten. ; In general psychological counseling, this may be mainly an individual’s physical and mental journey, but in the context of Rwanda, this must require mutual understanding and confirmation among residents.
  Many victims of trauma and schizophrenia may never recover. But for many residents of civil communities, a process of resocialization such as “healing together” provides everyone with a realistic basis for living together again.

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