The spirit behind the liberation war still exists, in different form

The liberation war is an epic tale that is studied in prestigious military academies, but what they cannot teach is the secret weapon behind its success.
The Liberation monument at Parliament gardens in Kigali. File.

The dust is just settling after yet another celebration of our national liberation from the jaws of a genocidal regime that had enjoyed impunity for three decades.

When the liberation war began on October 1, 1990, oppressed Rwandans from all over the world heeded calls to pick up arms to cleanse the country.

Three years later they were walking through the streets of Kigali and other cities; the enemy had been routed despite his superior fire power, logistical and diplomatic means.

The liberation war is an epic tale that is studied in some of the most prestigious military academies, but what they cannot teach is the secret weapon behind its success; the unfettered sacrifice of members of the Rwanda Patriotic Front.

The war was not won on the battlefield but beyond the lines; in the homes of many Rwandan refugees where they contributed all they had; soldiers, cows, bushels of sorgum, raised money to send to the front and raised awareness of the reasons behind the struggle. That is not something one can teach at West Point, Sandhurst or Saint-Cyr.

Today the guns have fallen silent but the war continues, this time on a completely different battle ground. Our men in uniform have exchanged their guns for spades, cement and medical equipment. As we speak now, they have just concluded a three-month exercise going around the country building schools and houses for the needy and extending free medical care.

Liberating people from poverty and disease and helping in developing the country is where the focus lies now, they are the new enemies. The same dedication that was behind the successful war is what is driving the new social enterprise and the results are already being seen.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw