President Paul Kagame made some highly touching remarks as he delivered his message to Rwanda and the world on the occasion of remembering the 1994 Genocide and its victims for the fourteenth time.
Responding to insensitive assertions from certain circles in the West that his government was using Genocide to its politico-economic advantage, he said that they were free to organise and carry out genocide in their own countries, since the interpretation from what they are saying is that Rwanda’s Genocide experience was enviable.
What is disappointing is that the accusations about using the Genocide victims’ suffering as an exploitative tool have largely been made by people who either had a direct hand in the Genocide, or stood by watching as mass killings started and continued unabated.
Even more disappointing is that there was abundant information regarding the preparation for the Genocide. There was no shortage of means to prevent it. And lack of resources to stop it when it had started was not the issue.
What was in short supply was the goodwill. The United Nations deliberately got itself lost in debating semantics. Equipped with reports by the minute right from the onset of the numbers massacred and others under siege, the world body still managed to maintain its indifference.
Amidst the threat of an ethnic group being wiped away, UNAMIR, the international ‘peace keeping’ force in the country then was reduced to its bare minimum. The mandate of what remained of it could not be reviewed to enable it to save any lives. It retained the scarecrow status, while Interahamwe and government soldiers took full advantage to carry on with the Genocide mission unhindered.
The West failed Rwanda in a manner that looked like high level conspiracy. It took the Rwanda Patriotic Front/Army a whole three months to bring the killings to a complete halt. And you would think every human being in the world, particularly from the West, knows what their leaders did not do. The Government of Rwanda has since made productive friendship with some who betrayed it at the hour of need. As if in atonement, the West now forms the biggest part of a fruitful development partnership with Rwanda.
What the West needs to do to fully cleanse itself is look into their midst for the bad apples intent on derailing Rwanda’s development. Voices from there to the effect that Rwanda is after all happy that the Genocide ever happened, however few they may be, make the whole of that community look highly insensitive. If stopping the Genocide was too big a task for them, uniting to offer a placating gesture to a people grappling with rebuilding their nation should be within their means.