Today we are commemorating, for the 23rd time, the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. It will also be the beginning of 100 days of mourning and remembering our loved ones.
It took many world leaders very long to come to terms with the fact that the crime of the century had been carried out under their watch. Many were even reluctant to call it what it was: Genocide.
After years of calling it the “Rwandan Genocide” that sometimes confused (intentionally or not) the victims with perpetrators, it took the UN 20 years to officially recognise it as “Genocide against the Tutsi”.
It did not go down well with revisionists. In fact, those who were being gnawed by guilt shifted into the top gear of denial. At first, it was the number of victims; from “thousands”, it was slowly revised upwards to “about 500,000” to the current “800,000”.
The people who came up with those estimates did not carry out any census, it was pure guesswork. But the official figure released by the government in 2003 (1,074,017 identified victims) has done nothing to change their perceptions.
That is a figure that should in normal circumstances shake up the world’s conscience to see justice being done. But no, most countries bury their heads in the sand. Impunity still reigns.
As former UN secretary General Ban Ki-moon pointed out last year during the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda; “Genocide is not a single event. It is a process that takes time and preparation”.
The people behind the Genocide had time to prepare their getaway and rewrite history and continue propagating their genocidal ideology.
But as Rwandans have shown, they are busy rebuilding the social fabric of their nation. Nothing will distract them, not even the “professional” deniers. They shall overcome.