Students at Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) Kigali have been challenged to fight form of genocide ideology and instead promote national unity.
The call was made, last week, at a commemoration vigil at Kicukiro ground where the students, staff and nearby residents gathered for the 22nd commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The event also served specifically to honour employees and students at the former École Technique Officielle (ETO Kicukiro), which occupied the premises currently used by IPRC Kigali.
The night was preceded with a walk to remember from IPRC Kigali to Nyanza Genocide Site, where they paid tribute to the victims of the 1994 Genocide.
Messages from different speakers who graced the event reflected on this year’s commemoration theme, which focuses on fighting genocide ideology, and they reminded students and youth in general to fight Genocide denial.
Yvonne Uwayisenga, a Member of Parliament, told the students that they are lucky to live in a country that loves all Rwandans equally and that does not discriminate against any person, a reason that should make them work hard for a bright future.
“The Genocide against the Tutsi was prepared in schools by discriminating students ethnically. They used to favour one part of the population and left the other on the sidelines; you must, therefore, realise how fortunate you are to be in the environment where all Rwandans are treated equally,” she said.
MP Uwayisenga reminded the students to read and understand the Rwandan history as it is their task to pass it on to upcoming generations, saying that it is a good weapon to fight Genocide denial.
Tom Ndahiro, a researcher and activist against Genocide denial, who gave a lecture on the importance of remembrance of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, equated remembering to a vaccine against any genocide in the future.
“People remember Jesus who died alone and resurrected but why shouldn’t we remember more than a million people killed, and honour them?” Ndahiro asked, adding that commemoration also helps set the record straight on the events in 1994 and fend off distortion.
The coordinator of the association for student survivors of the Genocide at IPRC Kigali, Egide Nsengumukiza, said although the Genocide took their beloved ones, their memory can never be erased.
“Genocide ideology must be a taboo to all Rwandans because it destroyed our country,” Nsengumukiza said.
More than 3,000 Tutsi had fled to ETO Kicukiro where UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) had a base but the peacekeepers, who were part of a Belgian contingent, chose to leave them even with the militia lurking.
According to witnesses, even before the last peacekeeper left, the militiamen stormed the premises and the killing started.
Victims were forced to walk to Nyanza Hill where they would be killed, but several of them were killed on the way and every year, a walk from ETO-Kikukiro is held, to signify the abandonment of Rwandans by the International Community at the hour of need.