EVERY YEAR, Rwandans spare 100 days to remember the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The commemoration period leaves us with complex and pressing questions to ponder and difficult answers as to why such events occurred: How could the genocide really happen in our country? Why did the international community fail to intervene? How can Rwanda continue to re-build and avoid similar debacles in the future? How can the ideology of hate be totally uprooted from both within and outside of Rwanda?
These questions and many others have lingered in the minds of many Rwandans over the last two decades.
Lately, there is a growing global interest in Rwanda, as many discover the horrors that took place here and seek to understand how and why violence of this character and magnitude could have happened in our time.
As we seek to answer the very complex question as to what led to the 1994 Genocide, there is need for a paradigm shift from prejudice and bigotry to justice and tolerance – shifting from ideology of hate to that of love and nurturing a generation that values humanity – for more than one million innocent Rwandans who died is not a matter of abstract statistics.
The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi has cruelly and deeply wounded the hearts of many Rwandans and brought about immeasurable consequences onto Rwandan society.
The commemoration period is to this effect a therapy to those suffering from trauma and an opportunity to publicly honour the memory of the victims of Genocide.
Genocide is a tragedy that will remain for a longtime in memory. For a long time, we will have to talk about and face its consequences.
Remembrance is an action of defiance and to renewal. For it is very important to educate the young generation, especially the youth to be rational, and to always be objective so as to acquire free conduct and a critical way of thinking.
Remembrance must play a therapeutic role to individuals and psychological role to Rwandan society and the international community. When we remember, we communicate and disseminate factual information about the barbaric actions that were openly carried out against the Rwandan society.
Rwandans need to remember the past to correct the present and secure their future. We spare the present and the future generations a repetition of the evil committed in the past.
Rwandans need to remember the past and give meaning to the present.
Let us not shy away from our past. It is better to remember than to forget, for if we remember, we get the whole truth. To remember is to face the enemy.
David Nkusi, Rwanda