RWANDA and friends of Rwanda today begin the period of commemorating the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. There are several activities lined up to mark the week-long period, and poets, through their art, are joining the healing journey. Poets Sam Asiimwe Ruhindi and Joan Ndekezi (right). Net photos The New Times shares messages from different young poets and the inspiration behind the respective poems. Sam Asiimwe Ruhindi He wrote his poem ‘Ode to motherland’ to send a message to the current generation and the generations to come that what happened in 1994 will never happen again. ‘Ode to motherland’ Cloudburst of bullets Millions of innocent quenched machetes Streams of blood drained our land Acrid sent covered heavens Vultures and Reynard fed The world turned a blind eye The days were filled with ichor And nights short to the hunted They said love is the way and answer But look how they treated us Made us believers and we Slew each other furiously Brushing aside our brotherhood what was a family became a ruin Twenty five years down the road The light glistered again In the land of thousand hills We now remember to keep Alive memories of Genocide To teach our selves Our children and Children after them Not to judge each other by Their ethnicity, height Or shape of nose We remember not to revenge But to learn from our history x2 To unite and save our future A thousand candles are lit Every year as a sign of peace We want to pass on to Our children and generation after them We walk in same rhyme ND’UMUNYARWANDA X3 We bind together saying never again To genocide against humanity Never and never again Eric Ngangare (1key) A renowned poet in Rwanda, Ngangare believes such messages through poetry can restore hope not only to the survivors but also the millions of people and families who lost their loved ones. His poem ‘On memory and hope’ reflects on how hard it can be to survive such tragedies, nonetheless encouraging survivors to keep fighting because to him ‘survival above all is the struggle to stay sane.’ ‘On memory and hope’ Suicidal thoughts jam on memory lane Survival above all is a struggle to stay sane Yet somehow you maintained Bet no external consciousness would last a day in your brain The past is non-reversible, and present isn’t always a gift The future unpredictable especially when gazed from a cliff But since the only way is forward, familiarise with haze and mist Trust the process; believe in the magic of life Have faith in darkness when the stars and the moon don’t shine If you can make it through the night, well, the sun will rise like a prize I wish you find purpose and relief before you get to rest You survived the worst; I hope you live to see the best For what it’s worth, you’re worth it Ines Umurerwa Rutayisire She wrote her poem’ Why do I Remember?’ to help the young generation understand why Rwandans and friends of Rwanda remember the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. ‘Why Do I Remember?’ Why do I remember, Because they were robbed of their peace And it was replaced with eternal trauma because We were not given a chance to meet our families And now we only meet them in pictures We remember so that their memories live on forever I remember because... This month was supposed to fill happiness in my parent’s lives And now sadness and vulnerability is what they only feel I mourn the cousins, aunts and grandparents I was supposed to be creating memories with Ndibuka kubera... Ibikomere byasizwe inyuma Agahinda abanyarwanda basigaranye Imitima imenetse n’inkovu basigaranye Abana bato barikuba ari abantu bakomeye ubu Ababyeyi barikuba barikumwe nabana babo Ababyeyi barikuba barikumwe nababyeyi babo We remember to keep a country strong I remember, you remember and we remember to unite and renew. Joan Ndekezi Through her inspiring piece, Ndekezi highlights the need for Rwandans to stay united now that they found their true identity. ‘We have risen and still rise’ Blood Flooded my mother land, Amaso yanjye abona mountains, lakes and rivers of my country covered by blankets of pestilence. I couldn’t believe what I saw... The beauty and reality of nature disappeared in just a blink of an eye. Hearts turned to stones. Minds contaminated with fallacies. Hands with knives, pangas, Machetes ...death, aiming mercilessly to steal a soul. The image of God hidden, in the illusions of hatred.... Interahamwe was their new name. Mana Yanjye, Baranyishe screamed my soul. Pain deeply stabbing me, Fear drowning me completely, for I was their victim. Ntabara Mana, my heart cried. God indeed heard me. Yes, he saved me. Yes, you and I forgot our identity, But that was all in the past! Today our history no longer defines us; We are a people of Agaciro, We are men and women of dignity, We are one. Turabanyarwanda kandi, Turangwa: N’urukundo Ubumwe no kubabarira. Look! Like a proverbial griffin, we have risen from the ashes, Like eagles watch us, we are flying right from the scratches. Like fighters, we are reaching out to grab what was stolen from us.