Unusual circumstances won’t stop us from commemorating – Kagame

President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame pay respect to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi at the Kigali Genocide Memorial yesterday. Kagame said that COVID-19 would not stand in the way of Rwanda commemorating the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. / Photo: Village Urugwiro.

President Paul Kagame has said that unusual times, such as the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, would not stand in the way of Rwanda commemorating the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Kagame was addressing the nation through a televised message as Rwandans across the country and beyond started the 26th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

 

Every year, Rwandans come together to commemorate the more than a million innocent lives that were lost during the Genocide against the Tutsi.

 

However, this year due to COVID-19, the yearly Commemoration ceremonies were unable to take place due to the social distancing measures to stop the spread of the virus.

 

“This year’s commemoration for survivors and families and for the country is hard because we cannot be together physically to comfort one another,” he said, adding; “It is not an easy thing to do, Rwandans are used to coming together with solidarity and collective strength.”

“The current unusual circumstances will not prevent us from fulfilling our obligation to commemorate this solemn anniversary, honour those we lost and console survivors,” Kagame added.

Educate generations

The Head of State reminded Rwandans of the importance of educating future generations about the history of the country.

“We will continue to educate new generations of Rwandans about what happened to our country, and what we learned from it,” he noted.

“We are putting those lessons into practice for the benefit of those who will come after us. The lessons of our history have united us. They teach us the value of good leadership that cares for the well-being of all citizens,” he added.

The ‘Flame of Remembrance’ signifies the beginning of the mourning period in honour of victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Photo: Village Urugwiro.

The President highlighted that historical lessons have taught Rwandans the importance of working together to build a better future for all Rwandans.

“The resilience and collective compassion of Rwandans will continue to serve us well as a nation, as we navigate new challenges, including those we are experiencing today,” he said.

Kagame also pledged Rwanda’s commitment towards contributing to a better future, saying it was the only thing to do in a world that has become so interconnected.

“Everyone who lives on this globe is interconnected. So we will continue to make our world a better place by sharing our story and our ideas for innovation, whenever it can be helpful,” he said.

Doing so, he added, is an investment in hope and a reminder that no one person is self-sufficient.

The Head of State and First Lady laid a wreath at the memorial, in honour of the over 250,000 Genocide victims who were laid to rest at this memorial.

They were joined by the President of Ibuka, Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu and the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Ambassador Guy Nestor Itoua of the Republic of Congo.

The President of the Senate, the Speaker of Parliament, Chief Justice and the Prime Minister also later laid a wreath at the Kigali Genocide Memorial.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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