WASHINGTON D.C - Rwandans living in Washington D.C, USA joined the rest of the world to mark the 17th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The commemoration event took place at the Raybun Building on Capitol Hill and was attended by, among others, Linda Melvern, a British investigative journalist.
Melvern, who has written several publications about the genocide, vowed to continue sharing the facts and truth of the accounts of the Tutsi genocide.
Ambassador James Kimonyo, noted that “17 years after the Tutsi genocide, Rwanda has registered tremendous progress.
“The country has progressed in terms of ensuring peace and stability, fostering unity and reconciliation, building our justice system, undertaking extensive economic transformation and social progress,” Kimonyo told the gathering.
In line with this years’ theme, Ambassador Kimonyo underlined the importance of upholding the truth, preserving dignity.
Kimonyo noted that there is a large network of genocide deniers that is attempting to distort the facts about the genocide.
“These individuals (deniers), have abandoned the core values of humanity; they have betrayed the greater good that life has to offer just to fulfil their personal and political interests,” Kimonyo said. “We must all act like watchmen and women on guard to prevent denial.”
On April 8, the Embassy of Rwanda along with the community in North America brought together scholars and researchers, in a panel session, to discuss and create awareness about genocide “denialism” at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.
The panel comprised Amb. Kimonyo, Professor Linda Melvern, Tom Ndahiro, a Genocide Scholar and Dr. Tim Gallimore: Assistant Commissioner for Academic Affairs at the Missouri Department of Higher Education.
Melvern spoke about the “conspiracy of the state to commit genocide” and emphasized the role of journalists in exposing the truth about those who deny the genocide.
The “past is prologue- it is clear in Rwanda”, she said, warning the audience of the consequences of genocide denial.
Gallimore noted that he was one of the “bystanders” who watched the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, but has now become an advocate to unveil the truth as well as be part of the reconciliation process of Rwanda.
Commemoration activities continue to take place in various North American states.