Hundreds march against genocide deniers

  EASTERN PROVINCE: RWAMAHGANA — Hundreds of thousands of residents of Rwamagana district on Saturday staged a demonstration to raise their voices against Genocide deniers.

EASTERN PROVINCE:

RWAMAHGANA — Hundreds of thousands of residents of Rwamagana district on Saturday staged a demonstration to raise their voices against Genocide deniers.

People of all age groups filled the streets with banners telling Genocide deniers to ‘swallow their Genocide ideology.’ The marchers made a stopover at Rwamagana genocide memorial site where about 700 remains of the Genocide victims, who were massacred around the nearby school and church, are buried.

The demonstration organized by the newly-formed Eastern Province Never Again Club was sparked by reports that genocide deniers were holding a conference in Montreal Canada on March 29. French author-cum journalist Pierre Pean, Spanish lawyer Jordi Palou-Loverdos, Belgian journalist Peter Verlinden, and Canadian author Robin Philpot, were among the invited guests to speak at the conference.

"Let them swallow their genocide ideology, die with it, be buried with it so that it does not get out of them," an angry young marcher shouted.

The same words were emphasized by Martin Rutoki, president of Never Again Club in his speech at Rwamagana Genocide memorial site.

"Look! We are standing here where 700 remains of innocent civilians were buried; people who were killed for no crime, but just because of their ethnic background. Now people who still harbour the same ideology are busy meeting [in Canada]," Rutoki said, stressing that genocide planners should die with their ideology.

He likened genocide ideology to a bean weevil which enters a bean and eats it slowly. He explained that a bean seed which has been eaten by a bean weevil eventually becomes useless and dies. Similarly, Rutoki argued that some people have been eaten up by the genocide ideology and would never be free of it.

Alphonsine Murekatete, the district Vice Mayor in charge of social affairs blamed genocide ideology on selfish politics that characterized the nation for long before the genocide. She wondered why some countries allow individuals to convene in broad day light- to deny a genocide that happened during broad day light claiming about a million people. She said there are 11 genocide memorial sites in Rwamagana alone, and challenged deniers to visit the area and see for themselves before calling such conferences.

Charles Gasana, the acting Gov. of the Eastern Province, said he was not surprised since it had become common practice for some individuals to try and cause chaos whenever the country is approaching commemoration period slated for April 7. He noted that despite their activities, such people can never in any way sabotage the commemoration.

He warned of severe consequences for residents still harbouring the genocide ideology. He observed that 14 years after the Genocide, the country is still nursing the wounds inflicted by perpetrators of the genocide. Gasana appealed to residents to be strong and to remain united during genocide commemoration period. He also appealed to residents to help genocide survivors who sometimes get traumatized during the commemoration period. He advised Rwandans to know their values and start working for development of their nation.

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