Genocide deniers are fighting a losing battle, the world will continue to mourn with us

Youths light candles during the commemoration night dubbed, Our Past, at Kigali Genocide Memorial last year. / Sam Ngendahimana.

On December 23, 2003, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution designating 7 April as the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda.  

The UN General Assembly on January 26, 2018 drafted a resolution where April 7, was marked as the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

 

The targeted group was named and honoured. After the Genocide against Tutsi was stopped by RPA soldiers, there was genocide denial which started by killing the survivors during the insurgency war by the perpetrators   of the Genocide and spread to a global level through media and politics.

 

The execution of Genocide against Tutsi was so fast, after the genocide planners used the pretext of shooting of President Habyarimana’s plane as a basis for revenge and on April 6, 1994, families in Kabuga centre were decimated that very night.

 

It didn’t take long after the shooting down of Habyarimana’s plane for genocide-Radio RTLM to read a communique which claimed that the people behind the attack were Tutsi; this was a signal to kill all Tutsi; in some places, genocide lasted 7 days but it was a horror like at Kiziguro parish and surrounding areas that were liberated by RPA in the first week of the Genocide.

In the former Ruhengeli and Gisenyi prefecture, the week was long enough to finish the “work”, a terminology that genocidaires used to mean killing of Tutsi. The men in those former prefectures were mobilized to give support especially in the former Kibuye and Gitarama prefectures.

The systematic mass killings from house to house, hill to hill followed a campaign of Hutu Power ideology which originates from genocide ideologues since 1959, the political events which occurred during the First and Second Republics cemented this ideology.

The pre-genocide phases such us discrimination, polarisation and dehumanisation were a daily practice and had their peak between 1990-1994, the genocide ideologues and planers were just waiting for any excuse to implement their plan.

During the Holocaust, the Nazi perpetrators had time to burn corpses to deny that the concentration camps were not the scene of genocide like at Auschwitz; this was unlike for the perpetrators of the Genocide against Tutsi who were committing Genocide while fleeing the RPA advance.

The corps were laid on streets, dumped in latrines and waters and in other mass graves. 

Before the denial of the genocide against Tutsi, there was a denial of the plan of elimination of Tutsi. For the first time, last year, Jean Valet, French General (Four stars) who was heading military cooperation between France and Rwanda  (1990-1993) told  a journalist called Michael Sztanke who was doing a documentary with France 24 on the role of France during the Genocide that he was told by Rwandan chief of Gendarmerie in 1993 that he needed more fire weapons because all Tutsi have to be eliminated. Gen Valet reported this to Paris and rather than preventing the planned genocide, they recalled him. This documentary was published in April 2019 and can be found online

The genocidal government tried to cover and deny the acts of genocide the time the genocide was being committed; they sent a delegation made by extremist Jerome Bicamumpaka, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza Senior diplomat in the same ministry to Paris, they were received at the French Office of the President and Ministry of Foreign Affairs but visas to Belgium and US were denied.

As we continue to remember, the acts to deny the genocide against Tutsi continue, and recently, a conference was organised inside the French Senate premises aiming at distorting the memory of the genocide against Tutsi as it happens every year during the pre-Kwibuka period.

The former French leaders and officers were behind it to happen inside the Senate premises. Some of the former French soldiers who made a safe corridor during Operation Turquoise are now openly on social media genocide deniers and allies to the so-called politicians who support the Genocide Ideology.

If the denier is considered to be right, who has to be wrong? Certainly, the survivors. Perpetrators say I didn’t do it, I was only following orders, they have different excuses; senior leaders blame the population by saying they were ungovernable and the population accuse their leaders.

Most of the deniers of Genocide against Tutsi want to wash away the stain of genocide ideology in an effort to make Hutu Power an acceptable political alternative in many ways, be political parties, civil societies, and justified armed groups.

They have present and past ties with the genocide perpetrators but they cover-up themselves as seekers of historical truth rather than promoters of distorted history; I can’t name them because today we are honouring the victims of Genocide against Tutsi not the deniers.

To one extent, genocide deniers say that the Genocide against Tutsi is an exaggeration if not a business fund, and praise the leaders who led Rwanda during the period which escalated to the Genocide.

They deny the plan and the campaign to exterminate the Tutsi, they attribute the mass graves to the forces which stopped the Genocide and actually accuses the same RPA forces to participate in the Genocide.

They also say that RPA soldiers prevented the International Community to stop the Genocide, yet the same International Community removed the foot before it got dirty and left defenseless Tutsi men, women, and children in the hands of Interamwe militias.  The RPA young soldiers equipped with heart and little means sacrificed themselves and prevented the plan of Tutsi Final Solution. This is why they are disheartened by genocide perpetrators and their apologists. 

The claims of Genocide deniers are based on flawed research, biased statements and in many cases deliberately falsified evidence. They also deny the authenticity of documents, eyewitness testimonies, films and photos that are authentic. They also recite the work done by genocide fugitives in run as if they were facts.

They attribute themselves titles such as journalist or author; one of them made a compilation of the narrative of genocide fugitives who organised massacres in former Kiziguro, Bicumbi, Rusumo communes when they arrived in Benaco Camp/Tanzania at the end of April 1994 when RPA forces out chased them.

The Genocide against Tutsi is one of well documented crime in the world; Everything has been said, reported or published. The genocide-Radio RTLM announced the dates of the Genocide in March 1994, 53 edition of Kangura published when the former President will be killed;

A special magazine of Kangura 26 edition, published in 1991 had on the front-cover page a photo of MDR_PARMEHUTU leader Kayibanda and a Machete: the message was clear that Kayibanda allowed some Tutsi to flee the country in 1959 but this time the machette will not allow.

On the back cover page, the same edition has a big picture of French President Francois Mitterand with the caption “A true friend of Rwanda”. RPF-Inkotanyi through Muhabura Radio invited the UN Mission to disarm Interahamwe militias and Presidential Guards even before April 1994.

The real footages of the genocide against Tutsi exist by today; RPA soldiers were sickened by what they saw at the mass killings in the area they had liberated, and the journey of horror started at Kiziguro Parish, -If I may give an example-where Tutsi were thrown in the long pit; some soldiers stayed to rescue them and others continued as killers were killing people around Rukara and Mukarange in few distance from Kiziguro.

What the genocide deniers should know is that distorting the history will not help them; genocide denial has many shapes where the deniers call themselves the victims, the use genocide ideology as a political tool etc.

The French Senior soldiers are getting old, they want to leave a legacy of  distorted history in order that their coward actions of protecting and evacuating the genocide perpetrators be a story of glory and shift the blame to RPF Soldiers who stopped the Genocide. Denial is part and parcel of genocide.

Available documented records show how the genocide against Tutsi is particularly questioned by unusually special individuals and/or groups of people in high circles of power in global world administrations, academia and international institutions. None of the deniers is easily sidelined showing how well supported they continue to be. However, les faits sont têtus: genocide victims have been silenced for ever and genocide ideology  against Tutsi lingers on but our duty to remember will continue to expose deniers.

The views expressed in this article are of the author.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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