NYAMAGABE - A visiting delegation of cadets from the prestigious US West Point Military Academy, yesterday visited the Murambi Genocide Memorial Centre where they paid tribute to the over 50,000 victims who died there.
Led by Lt. Col. Diane Ryan, the Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioural Sciences and Leadership at the Academy, the cadets laid wreaths on a grave containing the remains of the victims before touring several rooms containing some preserved remains.
“We are saddened by seeing evidence of Genocide... we are very saddened by it and deeply moved and very pleased that you are keeping this memory alive so that people can come and reflect on what happened and be convinced not to allow this to happen again,” Lt. Col. Ryan said.
She said that Genocide is a crime against humanity, and that as soldiers, it is important to understand that “it is everyone’s concern” and that “it is not about politics”.
“Our deepest sympathies for the terrible tragedy, thank you for keeping the memory alive,” Lt Col Ryan wrote in the visitor’s book.
The Murambi Genocide memorial is one of the five Genocide memorials that were identified by the National Commission against Genocide as national Genocide memorial sites.
Others are Ntarama, Nyamata and Nyarubuye in the Eastern Province, Bisesero in the Western Province and Gisozi in Kigali City.
Emmanuel Nshimyimana, a guide at the centre, explained that Tutsis were urged to gather at the technical school by the local leaders where they were promised protection. Thousands left their hiding places and gathered at the school where they were mercilessly killed on the night of April 21.
Lt. Col. Ryan hailed the tremendous progress the country has registered 16 years after the Genocide. She said that most people she had talked to cited the contribution of the people and strong leadership as the main reasons behind the quick and remarkable turnaround.
“The biggest lesson is the power of positive thinking; it seems that everywhere we have gone, people have been positive about these things and sharing responsibility for moving the country forward.
The thing that mostly impresses us is that people don’t complain and blame others for things that they don’t have,” she said.