It is that time of the year again, when we remember the over one million innocent souls butchered in our land in just 100 days; faster than Hitler’s Holocaust of the Jews despite having a much more sophisticated death machinery.
The Nazis and the Interahamwe regimes were reading from the same script, that of a ‘Final Solution’ to wipe out a section of the population.
Yes, they succeeded in killing millions, but they did not achieve their ultimate goal of total annihilation. The survivors came out of the nightmare, not cowed by their bitter experience, but with a greater determination and resilience to overcome.
The road to healing, which Rwandans are still travelling 22 years later, is not without its challenges. The biggest one is that of people who still espouse the Genocide ideology and do all they can to propagate it and sanitise their murderous past in an attempt to rewrite history.
Most Western countries today have laws that criminalise revisionism of the Jewish Holocaust. For some, such as Belgium, it took them 50 years to come up with the courage to enact similar laws.
Rwanda has been campaigning, unsuccessfully, to treat the Genocide against the Tutsi in similar fashion for the last two decades, but revisionists continue to roam free and air their Genocide ideology in western capitals.
The theme of this year’s Kwibuka revolves around fighting the spread of the ideology and revisionism in foreign lands which, year in year out, have reached alarming proportions.
But that fight will forever be one-sided if the world does not come on board to resist merchants of hate. As Winston Churchill once said: “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen”.
It is time for the world to listen to the anguished cries of survivors and have the courage to do the right thing.