USA - US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, yesterday awarded a certificate of honour to Josephine Dusabimana, a woman who risked her life by sheltering and transporting Tutsis to safety during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.
In her address via video conference, Clinton said that Dusabimana’s heroic act represents the importance of individual actions to create a link between danger and safety, for peace’s sake.
“Dusabimana is the instrument of Rwanda’s heroism; she gave covert shelter to eight Tutsis and creatively helped six of them to escape to safety,” Clinton said.
“As Rwanda begins the commemoration of the Genocide, it is essential to remember that Rwanda’s story is not Rwanda’s alone but for every one on earth.”
Stuart Symington, the outgoing US Ambassador to Rwanda, urged people to learn from Dusabimana’s courage and bring peace and prosperity to their countries.
“Dusabimana watched two of the eight people she tried to save being slaughtered, and despite protests from her spouse and direct threats from killers, she was committed to saving people of a different ethnic origin,” Symingotn said.
“If we act as Dusabimana, we will not inspire Rwanda alone but the whole world and bring light to all the dark corners and make them bright with peace, hope and prosperity.”
Alongside Dusabimana, Clinton also paid tribute to Mbaye Diagne, a Senegalese member of the UN peacekeeping mission who single-handedly rescued over 600 Tutsis and repeatedly transported them to safety past roadblocks manned by genocidal killers.
“Peacekeepers had been ordered not to protect civilians, but Diagne could not standby as innocent people perished and decided to rescue people,” said Mrs. Clinton, who was the US First Lady at the time of the Genocide.
“Although he later lost his own life, we honour him for his commitment and courage to overcome institutional constraints to rescue individuals in danger”.
Andrea Mitchel, the Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent of NBC, an American television network, criticized journalists for failing to cover events in Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.
“As a journalist, we were late to shade the light on what was happening in Rwanda. The media plays a critical role in peace building when it plays its role correctly,” she said.