A quote from a testimony Frida Umuhoza gave at the UN headquarters in New York was shared on Facebook on Wednesday. It said: “When we got there we were asked to pay for a grenade since we were too cheap for a bullet so they said. In my village, to be shot you had to pay Rwf5,000, but we were too poor at that time to pay for own death.”
A callous response shot back, saying the testimony was hyperbolic. Genocide denial is real. And it is as dangerous as revisionism.
The world is aware that most of the manner in which victims were killed were too gruesome to testify to be believed in a testimony today. But such denials and mockery from callous people cannot rewrite the accounts of what happened. These accounts are with survivors and the perpetrators and executors as well as some witnesses.
Those who carried out the execution know how they dropped babies into pit-latrines head-fast. They know how they held babies by their limbs and flung their heads on rocks to “save their bullets” and whatever else.
Witnesses saw these worst forms of evil humans can stoop to, survivors have lived through with the ordeal for 22 years now.
Yet to deniers, the testimonies are concocted to fit a narrative. This is not only insensitive but also smacks of lack of consideration for what and why survivors are using the last gut energy in them to recount these ordeals.
Like Umuhoza told the UN, survivors share their stories not to attract pity but to raise awareness of what happened to them and the over a million Tutsi that were lost within just a hundred days. These are the stories that help fight genocide ideology and denial.
The true accounts of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi are with the survivors, witnesses and persecutors, not some callous people who only read about the Genocide. At the end of the day, their mockery will not change the truth, but the courageous testimonies will keep reminding the world to not stop at professing the ‘never again’ creed but take concrete steps to keep the world a place that would never have the 1994 story again.
Survivors should keep the courage and share their testimonies. Evil lost in 1994 and it will lose again as the truth defeats deniers and revisionists.