It is a solemn time when we remember cherished ones - great and sweet souls alike that were cruelly taken away from us 22 years ago, before their time. Like a dark and horrid ghost, the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi lingers in our minds today and its repercussions are ever before our eyes.
This year, the leadership of Rwanda has chosen to honor the memory of the fallen angels and soldiers of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi - innocent children, both young and old brave men and women, by calling upon all Rwandans to fight against the ideas and philosophies that led to the genocide.
Division along ethnic lines begetting hatred, more than scrambling for scarce resources has been the greatest source of conflict and violence within African states.
Emphasis and elaboration of ethnic differences has simmered and cemented hatred between brothers and led to blood baths. Brothers because beneath the so called ethnic differences is a people of one nation with similar aspirations and expectations in life.
No matter one’s ethnic background, there are certain desires that cut across ethnic barriers. For instance, the desire to enjoy a peaceful environment with shared resources that support prosperity is one that transcends ethnicity. The difference between one ethnic group and the other is the shared similarities.
The fight against the genocide ideology is a call for citizens to engage in dialogue and activities that bridge ethnic gaps. As we commemorate the genocide, let us focus on breaking down the differences and building up a single nation with common dreams and goals.
By looking to the future, Rwandans will continue to grow stronger to rebuild what was left behind and receive new inspiration to create a legacy of hope and oneness among Rwandans.
Unity is the fuel that will propel the next generation of Rwandans to achieve their dreams and build one Rwandan nation which will secure peace and prosperity for future generations. Unity is blind to ethnic differences and thrives among people with a shared vision for the future.
On this front, Rwanda’s development roadmaps such as the vision 2020 and EDPRS2 speak volumes about the need for Rwanda to look to the future with hope and great expectations.
The past may be dark and grim but the future is as bright as Rwandans wish to have it. There are indeed challenges in moving forward past the hurt, the wounds and the deep scars but there is also a future ahead. The past is a glaring fact not to be forgotten or nonchalantly brushed off.
However, tomorrow awaits us in today, not in the past. The decisions we make today will mould our tomorrow, the past bears no ultimate power to craft our future. Today is the only day that can account for something, anything tomorrow.
Moving forward does not mean forgetting the past. On the contrary, it is important to remember where we have been and how far we have come. The past, even at a personal level tells our story and journey of life. Even our achievements are never complete without the story of our past.
Furthermore, we stand to draw important lessons and gain inspiration from the past as it can be a learning field.
For people to move forward, they must not forget the past. We lose more than we gain by forgetting the past.
Moving forward is remembering the past while focusing on the future. Seeing the past through the future puts into perspective past events and reminds us of the inevitable arrival of tomorrow. As we remember the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, let us not forget the future of Rwanda. Commemoration is an opportunity to revisit lessons learnt from the genocide and re-affirm commitment to building a bright future for all Rwandans.
Fighting against the genocide ideology is an important facet of building a united Rwandan State. It is a threat to the bright future aspired by all Rwandans. To fight against it is to fight for the future of the country.
The writer is a social commentator based in Kigali.