Many people have visited Genocide memorial sites whereas some choose to spare themselves the trauma and steer clear. It is imperative to know how to act when visiting these sites as it is a way of showing respect to the people who perished.
It is common that some people do not know what behavior is appropriate at memorial services or sites. Sometimes they end up causing pain to other mourners instead. Proper manners can prevent this uncomfortable situation from occurring.
People must always remember that the dead deserve just as much respect as the living, if not more. Any past aggravation must be put aside and try to be as polite as you can to other mourners. Asking insensitive questions for your own benefit is a serious show of disrespect. Even if you are new, and do not have full knowledge about the events, keep the questions that will send glares your way for a more appropriate time, preferably when there is no one else around but the guide!
I think every one will agree that inapt clothing is best suited for night clubs and bars. Select decent attire that won’t make any one feel uncomfortable or insulted. This doesn’t mean you have to dress like you were at a funeral but a simple dress or decent pair of trousers and shirt would suffice.
“Choose something you would normally wear to church or a not- so-dressy occasion. For men, a shirt, trouser and pair of decent shoes is suitable and for women, a dress is the most appropriate thing,” says Mugarura Eric, a guide at Kigali Memorial Centre.
Remember to turn off all electronic devices like cell phones. It is quite disrespectful to attend to your phone while in the middle of a sermon or while someone is explaining the horrific activities that claimed the lives of so many.
If or, when you feel like crying go ahead because sharing grief with others helps with the healing process.
“Bring pre packaged tissues with you; if you are not a weeper, the person next to you may need them. If someone near you starts to cry then give them a tissue,” advises, Dorothy Kamanyana, the head of Women Genocide Survivor Association of Kimisagara.
Recalling fond memories of the deceased may inspire smiles and even laughter at this gathering and it is perfectly acceptable. But it is only okay if that is the tone that the other people around want.
Some memorial services are intentionally funny with the priest or family members telling humorous stories about the deceased person’s life.