Today is 17 AG (After Genocide). You see for me, there is a before, and an after Genocide. In 1994, the World as I knew it ended as my country descended into the abyss.
Rwanda turned into a bone littered desolate land. I have seen the face of absolute evil, and it has no saving graces. 1994 was the culmination of an endless nightmare that begun in 1959.
When Jean Paul Sartre called the 1963 mass killings for what they were, a genocide, the world should have listened. That it did not,laid the ground for 1994, and the abomination of desolation that Rwanda became.
Memory is an imperative. Those that commit a genocide do not only dehumanize, they have as their aim, the wiping of the target group from the collective memory of humanity.
As RTLM, that medium of venom and hate proclaimed to all and sundry, the architects of the 1994 genocide intended that only one token, Tutsi would be left alive for exhibition in a museum. Students would be told that once upon a time, there lived a group of people known as the Tutsi……
Well, man proposes, God disposes ! Bagosora et al planned to permanently erase from our collective memory a group they called the Tutsi. Today, Bagosora is in jail, and we remember those who perished in the genocide.
It is a remembrance, a commemoration, an obligation, a celebration of humanity and an affirmation of the sanctity of human life.
Remembrance poses an undeniable moral dilemma. Is it not, perhaps better to remember in absolute silence, contemplating the unfathomable cruelty and evil of the human heart? Reflecting on the need to individually and collectively purge the ‘wolf’ in us ? For as we know, homo homini lupus?
Or should we, as Job did, cry out loud that the blood of the innocent should sear the memory of the living?
One thing I know. Remembering the victims of a genocide is not merely a Rwandan obligation. It an imperative for humanity. For you see, those that would exterminate a group of people for the crime of being commit Deicide. They kill God, for we all are made in the image of God! For me, a World ended in Murambi, Gikongoro, in 1994. Over 50,000 remains are there to testify to this end, and sear our emories.
And so, 17 AG. Yesterday was a nightmare, today is a dream come true. After death, the resurrection. Not as zombies, but as a truly reborn humanity. Rising from the ashes of yesteryear sphinx like.
Writing a new, miraculous story on the tabula rasa that was 1994. We have the Rwandan Patriotic Front to thank for this.
I have seen the face of evil and it has no saving graces. I have also seen the face of humanity, with all it’s imperfections. I much prefer the latter. AG 17 is a time to thank all of you Rwandan Patriots for showing the World that humanity and dignity are our common heritage. Your act of remembrance, is proof of the victory of good over evil. We do not simply remember death, for that is something we are condemned to live with.
As someone has said, live we may, die we must. No, we do not simply grieve! We remember the victims of the epitome of man’s inhumanity to man. We remember the victims of a Genocide ( note the singular)! And in this, there cannot and should not be any attempt at moral equivalence!!