More than a million people lost their lives during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the fastest genocide in recorded history.
Twenty-six years later, the slaughter remains an indelible mark of our collective memory – and will forever be the case.
The majority of Rwandans – some 70 per cent of us – have learnt about the Genocide against the Tutsi only through others, with some still too young to understand what befell their country a generation ago.
Now, there is always a tendency to reduce victims of a tragedy to numbers.
When it comes to the Genocide against the Tutsi some have tried to rewrite history by questioning the actual number of victims, or even revising or denying that the slaughter ever occurred altogether. This, despite the fact that each soul lost, was profoundly precious in their own right, they had a name, a family, were full of aspirations, and each of them had right to life, freedom and safety.
Most of the young people that survived the Genocide have since come of age in recent years. Many have increasingly overcome trauma and bitterness to gradually share testimonies of how their loved ones were tragically deprived of their lives, how they narrowly survived the killing spree, and how they have since rebuilt their lives and hope for the future.
A few of them have started documenting these powerful and chilling testimonies through writing books. This is a critically important way to preserve the truth surrounding the Genocide against the Tutsi and to dismantle attempts to diminish or deny it.
Each village across Rwanda has been deeply scarred by the slaughter and those who witnessed or survived death squads have a duty to ensure that the atrocities are well documented, attack by attack, death by death.
This will not only preserve the truth about Rwanda’s darkest past but also help empower future generations with the necessary consciousness to safeguard our hard-earned national identity and unity, and guard against any future attempt to destroy this country again.