KIGALI - President Paul Kagame, yesterday, said that the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was an attack on ‘Rwanda’s body’ of but the spirit of the nation never succumbed.
The President was speaking at the 17th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that took place at Amahoro National stadium “The country’s body was tortured and assaulted; the body succumbed, but the spirit prevailed.
It is that spirit that should fight on and that spirit should never be defeated, that is within our reach and means,” the President said.
He criticized the International community for double standards, saying that it is unacceptable to harbour Genocide suspects while at the same time attempting to impose lessons on human rights.
“Yes, it happened, and it is still happening because you have these genocidaires still roaming in the capitals of the world. It is from those capitals that we get a lot of lessons about human rights, rule of law and justice, yet they still have these criminals roaming there,” the President said.
Kagame called on the Rwandan people to treat the lessons and distortions with the contempt they deserve.
The President pointed out that some people have tried to shield Theoneste Bagosora, the architect the Genocide, from facing justice, because they were afraid that his trial would bring out facts about their own role in the Genocide against the Tutsi.
President Kagame went on to castigate individuals who peddle falsehoods about the country, saying that the lies or false image they attempt to portray about the country, only expose their true character.
He emphasized that Rwanda will continue to commemorate the Genocide, noting that remembering is important.
“If you don’t remember, history repeats itself, that’s the value of this commemoration,” Kagame said, adding that remembering should be the base for restoring the dignity that the Rwandan people were once denied.
The Head of State said that Rwandans deprived themselves of their self-respect when they allowed those who wanted to strip them of their dignity to succeed.
He called on the nation to do everything within its means to prevent Genocide deniers and revisionists from succeeding.
Dr. François Xavier Dusingizemungu, the president of IBUKA, the umbrella organisation of Genocide survivors associations, said that commemoration is the only time survivors get to connect with their departed ones and accord them due respect.
“As we commemorate, we should re-focus on unity and reconciliation, fight against the Genocide ideology and revisionism …survivors should also struggle to ensure they live a better life,” Dusingizemungu said.
He added that the process of reparations is ongoing but countries that stood by as the Genocide occurred must contribute to the compensation of the survivors.
Dusingizemungu highlighted some of the results of the support to survivors.
He said that so far, 1613 survivors have completed their university education and more than 35,000 vulnerable survivors got decent homes.
Aline Umuhire-Juru, a Genocide survivor, gave a moving testimony about how her mother struggled to raise the family after her father was killed in the Genocide.
Juru, who was two years old during the Genocide, was last year the best science student in the Senior Six national examinations, and she has been admitted to a university in the United States.
This year’s commemoration was held under the theme ‘Commemorating the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi; Upholding the Truth, Preserving our Dignity.’