‘Rwanda 94’, a documentary that puts Belgium, France at the scene of Genocide

AS part of the commemoration activities, a documentary film about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda 94 was recently premiered at Rwanda Revenue Authority auditorium in Kigali.
A cross section of people who attended the premiering of Rwanda 94. (Courtesy)
A cross section of people who attended the premiering of Rwanda 94. (Courtesy)

AS part of the commemoration activities, a documentary film about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda 94 was recently premiered at Rwanda Revenue Authority auditorium in Kigali.

The drama documentary produced by Groupov, a non-government organisation based in Belgium, shows how Belgium, the Catholic Church missionaries and France fuelled the Genocide.

Rwanda 94 consists of two episodes and a drama skit, with the original version in French and English, and subtitles in Kinyarwanda. The documentary was later translated into a Kinyarwanda book titled: Rwanda 94: Kugerageza Gusubiza Agaciro Abapfuye, Byungura Abakiriho.

“Will they remember that Belgians had nicknamed Rwanda, a country of A thousand white men instead of A thousand Hills or will they remember that the church had confiscated over 13 per cent of the land, while most citizens owned nothing?” Such are some of the questions in an excerpt the writer preferred to call the “litany of questions”.

The documentary reminds Rwandans how their death was occasioned by France, Belgium and the church interference in Rwandan affairs, with an intention of dividing the people along ethnic lines.

And to the survivors of the Genocide it reminds them that they still need to obtain justice for the atrocities committed against them.

In a relatively horrific approach, the documentary gives the actors space, to justify their behavior. For example, in one of the episodes, a Catholic Church bishop justifies that the Tutsi suffering would not seem a strange thing, since Jesus himself suffered.

The bishop compared the Genocide to the Jewish holocaust and said that “to every death, there is a reason.”  

The audience suggested the documentary and book should be integrated in the Rwandan, Belgian and French education curriculum, since “it brings out crucial facts that should be passed on for posterity.”

Protais Mitali, the Culture and Sports Minister, said that for Rwanda’s case, it was a good idea, because the country has managed to write the real history for education purposes but it always needs an update.

 

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