10 Dramatic Acts of Human Kindness


Iphigenia Mukantabana Forgave Jean-Bosco Bizimana

A May 11, 1994 photo of refugee camp in Tanzania where more than 300,000 mostly Rwandan Hutus lived after fleeing the Tutsi-led rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front. The RPF entered Rwanda to stop the genocide of Tutsis by the ruling Hutus.  © Paula Bronstein/Liaison/Getty Images
A May 11, 1994 photo of refugee camp in Tanzania where more than 300,000 mostly Rwandan Hutus lived after fleeing the Tutsi-led rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front. The RPF entered Rwanda to stop the genocide of Tutsis by the ruling Hutus. © Paula Bronstein/Liaison/Getty Images

In 1994, ethnic fighting between the Hutus and Tutsis people of central Africa was raging, and it was that year Iphigenia Mukantabana's husband and five children were slaughtered by Hutu militia. In fact, it was her neighbor, Jean-Bosco Bizimana, who helped commit the horrors against her family.

Ten years later, Iphigenia is in the basket-making business -- part of the Rwanda Path to Peace project with Macy's department stores in the U.S. -- with master weaver Epiphania Mukanyndwi, who happens to be the wife of Jean-Bosco Bizimana.

Jean-Bosco served a seven-year prison sentence for the atrocities he committed during the genocide, but it was his public request for forgiveness at a Rwandan gacaca court that helped Iphigenia move on with life and forgive Bizimana for his wrongs.

Author's Note: 10 Dramatic Acts of Human Kindness

The day I began writing this article, bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, and immediately I was relieved to be researching stories of goodness instead of reading stories of hatred. It's refreshing to take a break from the chaos of the world and visit some stories of compassion instead, and maybe pick up a little inspiration along the way.

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • Allemeier, Kurt. "Patriot Guard Reacts to Westboro court win." Quad-City Times. March 2, 2011. (April 19, 2013) http://qctimes.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/patriot-guard-reacts-to-westboro-court-win/article_a89b0b18-454e-11e0-84f0-001cc4c002e0.html
  • Amanpour, Christiane. "Woman Opens Heart to Man Who Slaughtered Her Family." CNN. May 15, 2008. (April 19, 2013) http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/05/15/amanpour.rwanda/index.html?_s=PM:WORLD
  • Arribas, Carlos. "Honesty of the Long-distance Runner." El Pais. Dec. 19, 2012. (April 19, 2013) http://elpais.com/elpais/2012/12/19/inenglish/1355928581_856388.html
  • Bikers Against Child Abuse International. (April 19, 2013) http://bacaworld.org/
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (April 19, 2013) http://www.gatesfoundation.org/
  • Bland, Karina. "Bikers Against Child Abuse Make Abuse Victims Feel Safe." Arizona Republic News. July 13, 2012. (April 19, 2013) http://www.azcentral.com/news/azliving/articles/2012/07/13/20120713bikers-against-child-abuse-make-abuse-victims-feel-safe.html
  • Chumley, Cheryl K. "French Study Claims Mother Teresa Wasn't So Saintly." The Washington Times. March 6, 2013. (April 19, 2013) http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/6/french-study-claims-mother-teresa-wasnt-so-saintly/
  • Cigna. "The Effects of Human Kindness." (April 19, 2013) http://www.cignabehavioral.com/web/basicsite/bulletinBoard/effectsOfHumanKindness.jsp
  • Crezo, Adrienne. "10 Nonviolent Ways to Thwart a West Baptist Church Protest." Dec. 16, 2012. (April 19, 2013) http://mentalfloss.com/article/31924/10-nonviolent-ways-thwart-westboro-baptist-church-protest
  • Fox News. "Pope John Paul II Forgave His Shooter on Way to Hospital." Jan. 26, 2010. (April 19, 2013) http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,583930,00.html
  • Frayer, Lauren. "Mandela Dines With Jailer for Anniversary of Release." AOL News. Feb. 6, 2010. (April 13, 2013) http://www.aolnews.com/2010/02/06/mandela-dines-with-jailer-for-anniversary-of-his-release/
  • History. "Christmas Truce of 1914." (April 19, 2013) http://www.history.com/topics/christmas-truce-of-1914
  • Huffington Post. "Ivan Fernandez Anaya, Spanish Runner, Intentionally Loses Race So Opponent Can Win." March 1, 2013. (April 19, 2013) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/18/ivan-fernandez-anaya-hone_n_2505360.html
  • Katz, Michael. "Heartwarming Proof That Sportsmanship is Not Dead." USA Today. Jan. 19, 2013. (April 19, 2013) http://www.usatoday.com/story/gameon/2013/01/19/ivan-fernandez-anaya-runner-loses-on, -purpose/1847999/
  • Macy's. "Rwanda Baskets -- The Story." (April 19, 2013) http://www1.macys.com/campaign/rwanda/story.jsp
  • Martin, Lorna. "Last Survivor of 'Christmas Truce' Tells of His Sorrow." The Observer. Dec. 18, 2004. (April 19, 2013) http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2004/dec/19/christmas.lornamartin
  • Meissen, Randall J. "A Mother's Hand Guided the Bullets: John Paul II Forgiving a Would-Be-Assassin." Catholic Online. April 27, 2011. (April 19, 2013) http://www.catholic.org/saints/story.php?id=41174
  • Meldrum, Andrew. "The Guard Who Really Was Mandela's Friend." The Observer. May 19, 2007. (April 19, 2013) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/may/20/nelsonmandela
  • Newport, Frank. "Mother Teresa Voted by American People as Most Admired Person of the Century." Gallup News Service. Dec. 31, 1999. (April 19, 2013) http://www.gallup.com/poll/3367/Mother-Teresa-Voted-American-People-Most-Admired-Person-Century.aspx
  • Nicol, Mike. "Nelson Mandela's Warders." Nelson Mandela Foundation. (April 19, 2013) http://www.nelsonmandela.org/images/uploads/Nelson_Mandelas_Warders.pdf
  • Nichols, Michelle. "Bill Gates's Philanthropy Costs Him Richest-man Title." Reuters. March 8, 2011. (April 19, 2013) http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/08/us-wealth-gates-philanthropy-idUSTRE72668V20110308
  • Nobelprize.org. "Mother Teresa - Biography." (April 19, 2013) http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1979/teresa-bio.html
  • Project Linus. (April 19, 2013) http://www.projectlinus.org/
  • Staino, Rocco. "Vassar Students Rally in Protest Against Westboro Baptist Church." Huffington Post. March 1, 2013. (April 19, 2013) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rocco-staino/vassar-students-rally-in-protest-against-westboro-baptist-church_b_2784118.html
  • Szalavitz, Maia. "Human Kindness Genes Withstand Threats and Fear." Time. April 16, 2012. (April 19, 2013) http://healthland.time.com/2012/04/16/human-kindness-genes-withstand-threats-and-fear/
  • Tenety, Elizabeth. "Westboro Baptist Church to Picket Sandy Hook Funerals: 4 Ways to Respond." The Washington Post. Dec. 17, 2013. (April 19, 2013) http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/under-god/post/westboro-baptist-church-to-picket-sandy-hook-funerals-4-ways-to-respond/2012/12/17/520a6ba0-488e-11e2-b6f0-e851e741d196_blog.html
  • The Citizen. "'Project Linus' Creates Blankets for Local Kids' Charities." March 20, 2013. (April 19, 2013) http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/03-20-2013/%E2%80%98project-linus%E2%80%99-creates-blankets-local-kids-charities
  • UPI. "Old Enemies Reconcile in Rwanda." May 17, 2008. (April 19, 2013) http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/05/17/Old-enemies-reconcile-in-Rwanda/UPI-48821211003723/
  • Vinciguerra, Thomas. "The Truce of Christmas, 1914." The New York Times. Dec. 25, 2005. (April 19, 2013) http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/weekinreview/25word.ready.html


There's More Than One Way to Be Monogamous

There's More Than One Way to Be Monogamous

HowStuffWorks looks at the many definitions of monogamy and the way those definitions seem to constantly evolve.