Early this week, it was revealed that a new ground-breaking movie on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, particularly focussing on the massacres that took place in Bisesero, Western Province, is in the works. The feature film, dubbed “Bisesero: A Daughter’s Story”, will recount the little-known true story of the Bisesero Resistance, in which tens of thousands of Tutsis, came together to fight off the Interahamwe, who were on a killing spree. ALSO READ: Genocide: Bisesero heroics to be documented in new movie Bisesero is one of the places where the most horrific of massacres happened as the marauding genocidaires fled west, fleeing the advancing Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) fighters who were on their heels. Armed to the teeth with guns, machetes, grenades and clubs, the Interahamwe, together with fleeing ex-FAR soldiers, worked with Hutu to hunt down and identify the Tutsi in the western part of the country which at the time was known as ‘Zone Turquoise.’ The massacres here, which happened under the watch of French soldiers who controlled the zone were horrific, even the genocide memorials in places such as Bisesero, located in the current Karongi District, and the one in Murambi, Nyamagabe District, do not tell even half the story. With the shield of the French military, majority of the massacres in these places went undocumented mainly because in some places there was total extinction of households. Amidst the bloodshed, however, emerged stories of sheer courage and resistance, at the centre of it an elder called Aminadabu Birara, whose story will be among those that will be documented in the forthcoming film. Undeterred by the fact that they were outnumbered and out-armed, Birara led a group of Tutsi vigilantes who refused to be killed as they looked on helplessly, choosing to put up a fight, even though all odds were against them. Birara organised the group and they put up a spirited fight against the Interahamwe militia and the former government soldiers when they attacked the Tutsi who had sought refuge on Bisesero hill in what used to be known as Kibuye Prefecture. For him, it was another fight for his life, having fought and survived different attacks that targeted the Tutsi in 1959, 1962, 1963 and 1973, as well as the persecution that followed the RPF - Inkotanyi launching the liberation struggle. So outstanding were his heroics that in November 2019, the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo named one of the neighbourhoods in the city after Aminadabu Birara, a victim of the Genocide against the Tutsi. The naming of the street in the ‘18th Arondissement’ after Birara was in honour of Birara, who was killed by grenade, June 25, 1994 at age of 68, in the massacres which claimed more than 50,000 Tutsi lives. In an interview with The New Times in 2021, Egide Nkuranga, president of Ibuka, the umbrella body of associations that support genocide survivors – said that having a public place in Paris in honour of a man behind the strategic resistance against Interahamwe militias, will spread awareness of history of the Genocide. “This is most important tool to tell the truth and prove wrong genocide deniers many of them living in France...it’s like a strike in the back for them,” Nkuranga said. ALSO READ: Survivors welcome naming of Paris street after Genocide victim Birara Today, Genocide survivours in Bisesero attribute much of the success of the resistance to Birara’s bravely and fighting strategy. According to Eric Nzabihimana, a resident in Bisesero, Karongi District, who was also among the ‘Bisesero resistors’, the resistance lasted for over a month, as resistors fought using stones, and sometimes we would roll down the hill as many as possible to confuse the killers who ended up killing one another. The genocide, which took more than one million lives, began on April 7, 1994, a date that is now observed as a day of remembrance for the survivors and victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.