OSLO: We must learn from Rwanda and its people for their ability to move forward and emerge from a period of shocking cruelty with a strong spirit of reconciliation.
This, according to Marianne Hagen, the Norwegian State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is a powerful example of how a nation can rise after its darkest moments.
She was addressing other mourners on Tuesday in the Norwegian capital Oslo, who had gathered for the 25th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
Twenty-five years after the genocide, Rwanda has achieved remarkable degree of stability she remarked, adding that the country has also experienced a significant strengthening of both its economy and the living standards of its people.
It is a success story, and a story that we must continue to tell, Hagen told attendees, who included diplomats, civil society and friends of Rwanda in the Norwegian capital Oslo.
She decried the “collective failure of the international community to act against the genocidaires in Rwanda” as an enduring “scar on humanity’.
Rwanda’s envoy to the Nordic countries, Christine Nkulikiyinka, commended the wide and diverse attendance at the commemoration in Oslo as a hopeful sign that while the international community had abandoned Rwanda during the genocide against the Tutsi, many had since come forth and stood with Rwanda both in its recovery and its campaign for Never Again.
Nkulikiyinka warned that even as many share the principle of never again as well as the norms of peaceful coexistence, a small but increasingly loud group are spewing genocide denial ideologies and or seeking to destabilize Rwanda.
“While many marvel at the miracle of rebirth seen in the country, some doubt it and others anticipate our demise. To these people we dare to say: Never again will the history of genocide be repeated in Rwanda,” said the envoy.
UK-based genocide survivor and founder of Urumuri—an association of survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi – Marie Chantal Uwamahoro testified at the ceremony organized by the Embassy of Rwanda to the Nordic Countries.
“The killers were neighbours and family friends that we knew so well”, she narrated as the audience quietly listened to her harrowing ordeal.
“All you heard were chants of militias gloating about their killings of the day. Their work—as they called it. By this point I had given up hope of living. I couldn’t tell day from night," Uwamahoro recounted.
She said that the resilience of genocide survivors and their courage to rebuild their lives was a powerful rebuke of the objectives of the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.