AS the world joined Rwanda in remembrance of the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, yesterday, France did the unthinkable. It withdrew from anniversary events in Kigali just because it had been reminded of a hard truth.
They became uncomfortable that Rwanda and indeed many around the world have not forgotten their cowardly actions in support of a monstrous regime that killed a million of its people twenty years ago.
France’s role in the Genocide is well documented; it’s a historical reality, which cannot just be wished away. As President Paul Kagame said, yesterday, “historical clarity is a duty of memory that we cannot escape.”
Indeed, the passage of time should not “obscure the facts, lessen responsibility, or turn victims into villains.”
France’s decision was not only regrettable but also a reflection of the former François Mitterrand government’s attitude to Rwanda in 1994 and represents an attempt to cover-up the truth that surround the most brutal killings the world has ever known.
Twenty years after the Genocide, such arrogant and patronising behaviour by a foreign country that’s deeply involved in Rwanda’s tragic history is an insult to the survivors and all the Rwandans that have bore the brunt of the legacy of the Genocide.
Rather than burying its head in the sand, Paris should courageously build on the positive steps taken by its predecessor government and acknowledge its tragic responsibility in Rwanda two decades ago and move on.
Rwandans are not attempting to shift blame for what befell our country in 1994. We have taken full responsibility of our own actions and squarely faced up to the consequences of the Genocide.
But Rwandans, and indeed Africans, we will not accept to be treated as less human, as less worthy, neither will they submit to foreign actors who are attempting to rewrite our history and decide for us.
French philosopher François-Marie Arouet, aka, Voltaire, once said: “To the living, we owe RESPECT, to the dead, only the TRUTH. Sadly, the government of Francois Hollande is doing the exact opposite in both cases.