Legal scholar narrates miraculous survival in “The Colour of Genocide”

Dr Bideri is the principal legal adviser at the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG). / Michel Nkurunziza

“I dedicate this book to my father Faustin Mwumvaneza, who taught me to live life whatever it is; to my mother Hélène Gasusuruko, whose love I will always miss; to my sisters Christine, Gloriose, Médiatrice, and Olive, whose deaths have not erased my affection; and to my younger brothers Innocent, Leonard, Jean Claude who will always remain dear to me after their cruel death.

“….To all the victims of the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi, your memory shines like an eternal light.”

The new book on genocide, “Rwanda 1994, La Couleur d’un Génocide loosely translated as Rwanda 1994, the Colour of Genocide,” by Dr Bideri Diogène is a an autobiography recounting the ordeal of Tutsi persecution from 1959 up to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The 220 page book also includes other testimonies and memories of the Genocide and took him three years to write. It was published by the Paris based ‘Edition Harmattan’ last month.

The 220 page book also includes testimonies of Dr Bideri and his family plus those of other genocide survivors. / Michel Nkurunziza

The writer who is the principal legal adviser at the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) said that his book was written in the style of a novel despite talking about real tragic life caused by discrimination and Genocide.

Dr Bideri was born in Ruhengeri District in a family of 8 with him as the firstborn. He also narrated how his father told him how the persecution that the Tutsi since 1959.

His father was detained in Ruhengeri Prison in 1963 after he was accused of being supporting a group of people who were referred to as Inyenzi by the then government to attack Bugesera. His father further shared testimonies about Tutsi persecution and other areas where there were a series of massacres of the Tutsi, especially between 1962 and 1973.

The book also includes Rwanda’s chronology with an overview of the culture that characterised Rwandans, the history of the pre-colonial Rwanda, how Rwandans socialised and how the country ended up being devastated by the Genocide ideology.

“By saying the colour of Genocide, what I wanted to mean is that the Genocide itself is something strange. The word ‘colour’ in Kinyarwanda is Ibara, but Ibara also means a big calamity. It’s something that claimed lives for simply being born a certain ethnicity and it should never be forgotten in the history of humanity”, he said.

He further elaborated how some of his extended family survived the Genocide and how their hope has been restored today giving an example of the way his sister narrowly escaped death.

‘She was shot by soldiers but luckily the bullet passed above the heart’.

The killers threw her in pit thinking that she was dead. She, later on, realised that dogs were eating the dead bodies and fled to the International Committee of the Red Cross (CICR), from where she survived

He added: “I know the death of my parents and siblings, I know everything because there are even some perpetrators of these killings who told me everything. My parents were massacred in Gisenyi, in the city centre. They killed them with a grenade”, he recounted.

In post-genocide period, Dr Bideri explains that some of the survivors have regained life despite having been confronted with serious consequences of trauma.

Leaving a legacy to youth

He said that writing about the history of the Genocide against the Tutsi is a powerful tool to preserve it so it can serve as a lesson to the youth on how its ideology and discrimination should be combated to ensure that genocide never happens again.

Dr Bideri also plans to write another book about different trials of Genocide perpetrators.

In 2008, he wrote a book titled; “Rwanda, 1990-1993 The Bagogwe massacre. A prelude to the Genocide of the Tutsi”.