Genocide Survivors shouldn't live in fear

The gruesome murder this week, of a middle aged female Genocide survivor in Niboye, happened three streets from my address, following an earlier attack on the cow of yet another survivor, in Kicukiro District; naturally, these violent incidents have left survivors living in fright.

In the minds of their sponsors, such cowardly violent attacks are aimed at renewing fear in the hearts of their victims who survived the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

This year’s commemorative theme rallied the nation to fight Genocide ideology while building on the progress made over the last twenty three years.

Among the progress made, one can say, is the near triumph over fear by survivors and their ability to live freely and with confidence that they are forever safe from their persecutors.

So it is true what they say about time, that it heals. Like a sedative drug, time has gradually helped lessen the pain of survivors and forget the scars on their bodies from wounds incurred during the Genocide.

Time and words of courage by our leaders, such as President Kagame’s remarks at the opening of the commemoration week, have contributed hugely to the restoration of hope and dignity.

But while we agree that time heals, there is no defined time frame during which the healing should be complete. How long, for instance, shall it take to heal the hearts that are still infected with genocide ideology, as clearly portrayed by these the attacks in the last few days?

The fact that such incidents still happen is a reminder that as a nation nothing can be taken for granted; more time and acts of courage are needed to counter the remnant forces of Genocide ideology whose agents are determined to redirect the current course of national progress.

As a nation, there is a need to stand with survivors and encourage them to defy the fear being cultivated by the savage acts of remnant agents of Genocide.

The national security agencies must stand taller than these criminal elements and spot them from afar, and stop them before harming the lives of peace loving citizens.

To paraphrase the words Dante Alighieri: Genocide survivors must not live in fright because their destiny cannot be taken from them, it is a right. 

The criminals behind the murder of my neighbour and the killing of a survivor’s cow in Kicukiro must be apprehended and paraded before the nation to be seen as an example of evil that must be weeded out of Rwanda.

Security in the post Genocide Rwanda is one of the many shared items of progress that even those in opposition of the current administration have no counter argument to; it should therefore be the shared responsibility of all citizens to protect this shared resource.

Political scientists argue that to defeat a revolutionary, an opponent must attack and defeat their revolutionary achievements to progressively undermine them.

An attack on the peace and security currently enjoyed in Rwanda, is therefore, one may argue, a direct attack on the current administration which is credited for having liberated the country and constructed a foundation on which today’s shared progress is anchored.

My neighbour is a 64 year old widow who survived the Genocide. As a strategy to stay fit and healthy, she wakes up every morning at 5am to jog with her friends.

Following the murder of her neighbour, she has been cautioned by friends to stay away from going out early to jog, but she is determined not to allow her mind to be psychologically captured and held in fear. Now that is the spirit!

Genocide survivors must not live in fear. They must defy the fear and live freely.

In 1994, the killers were proud of their work. They killed and some ‘walked away.’ Today, they kill and run away. They know that no one will cheer their work as was the case in the past. This can be seen as victory over the Genocide ideology.

Fortunately, even when they run, they can’t hide. They will be found and paraded as evil.