Visiting Americans laud reconciliation efforts

Rwanda’s pace of reconciliation, reintegration and social cohesion is commendable, a visiting group of Americans has said.
Some of the visiting Americans pay respects to Genocide victims at Kigali Memorial Centre yesterday. Timothy Kisambira.
Some of the visiting Americans pay respects to Genocide victims at Kigali Memorial Centre yesterday. Timothy Kisambira.

Rwanda’s pace of reconciliation, reintegration and social cohesion is commendable, a visiting group of Americans has said.

The group of 50, under the umbrella body Samaritan’s Purse, are in the country to join with Rwandans as the country marks 20 years after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

They are visiting memorial sites in the country and will also make donations to survivor initiatives that support children.

Speaking yesterday after visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi, the emotional visitors said the country’s reconciliation was among the greatest contributors to economic and social progress.

“The way the Rwandan community lives together, it is clear that they have resolved not to ignore the events of 1994, but you have chosen to learn from them, overcome and live together past the hurt and the pain.  It is an amazing thing to see. More has been achieved than most people would expect in 20 years,” Eric Lapointe, from Maryland, said.

He added that with the ongoing conflicts in various parts of the world, Rwanda’s reunification model can be used for other countries as it has been proven to be successful.

For the world to see

“We hope that people across the world can see Rwanda as model for how to reunify, reconcile after atrocities considering there is conflict in various parts of the world. The world cannot ignore this, it will happen again somewhere else and we cannot just turn a blind eye and pretend that this is not happening elsewhere,” Lapointe said.

Amy Lowery said among the lessons nations and international organisations can draw from Rwanda is never to turn their backs on countries during their time of need as most countries and organisations, the United Nations, did.

“The one lesson the world can draw from this would be to never turn your back when you see something that’s wrong. If there is something evil, you cannot afford to look away as it happened here in 1994, you have to stand against it,” Lowery said.

Mestin Abera said it is time word of Rwanda’s reconciliation and progress spread out to the rest of the world to serve as a lesson to others.

“We have an opportunity to go back and tell the rest of the world that Rwanda is not just a place where Genocide happened, but a place of newness and progress,” Abera said.

He added that it was time for the world to have an insight on how much Rwanda has achieved in recent years.

 

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