Whether one twists figures or plays around the word ‘Genocide’, the truth remains

Flame of remembrance at Gisozi Memorial Centre

The lid is finally off. After more than two decades of trying to set the record straight on the appellation of what happened in 1994 in Rwanda, the United Nations has finally conceded that it was “The Genocide against the Tutsi”, and nothing else.

Even for those who believed that a Genocide occurred, they twisted the event through a myriad of names such as; the “Tutsi Genocide” or “Rwandan genocide”. In both cases, it was not clear whether the Tutsi were victims or perpetrators, and it was deliberate.

Some even followed former French president Mitterrand’s version of “genocides” in order to plant seeds of confusion to give credence to the “double genocide” theory that perpetrators try to hide behind to justify their unspeakable brutality.

That it took 24 years to acknowledge that the Genocide was AGAINST the Tutsi is mind numbing, but better late than never. Now our sights should be trained elsewhere; the number of victims.

The international community, media and NGOs have acted strangely ever since the end of the Genocide; giving various “estimates” of the victims. They began with “about” 250,000 calibrated it to “over 500,000” and until lately, settled to “about” 800,000 that has become authoritative.

They carried out no census but gave figures they felt comfortable with. As far back as 2003, the Government gave out official figures after years of research, village by village. It came out with 1,074,017, a figure that seems to make the estimators squirm as if the magic figure of One Million will make them look worse than they are.

It is as if giving lesser figures is a consolation, but that is a sign of subtle denial. The least they can go by are official figures. If Kigali Genocide Memorial is home to close to 300,000 victims - and that is not where the worse killings took place ­– how bad would they look if they gave a “safe” estimate of “over a million”?

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