Last Sunday, the Kigali youth sports club made a peaceful demonstration castigating the ideology of genocide in Rwanda. It was such an important gesture to see the youths involved in efforts to fight the ideology of genocide.
It is a fact that the youths form the majority of the people that were used in the propaganda and implementation of genocide wherever it happened. They have been active as soldiers and ‘preachers’ of genocide ideology.
In fact that is why we still see people who have the genocide ideology and agenda opt to using schools and students in their efforts to spread it all over. The institutions form a very good ‘artificial habitat.’
If you want to change the society, then target the youths and you will not go wrong. The students and teachers thus, have been targets in that sense. The student teacher relationship is so strong that whatever he/she tells the student is taken as the gospel truth.
And equally strong is the relationship among the youths/students themselves. Whatever they discuss amongst themselves cannot be changed so easily by an outsider, parent or relative.
The move that was made by some youths in Rwanda, to reverse the trend is thus timely and welcoming. If they stand firm against any forces that wish to push this country backward in all forms, then there is no doubt that our country will stay peaceful.
That is why we strongly agree with Professor George K. Njoroge when he says that there is strong need of teaching critical thinking to children. It is through critical thinking that our children will be able to say NO when asked to do evil.
It is in this context that, we were so amazed by young men and women in their early 20s who carried placards that called Rwandans to unite and stop admiring people who still have genocide ideologies.
Youths with this strong attitude cannot be easily pushed around by the so called experienced old people. The old generations’ people will in the long run find themselves isolated and with no manpower to manipulate for their own benefits as they used to.
It has been so easy for the old people to stand behind doors and plan evil that was generally implemented by the strong energetic youth. For sure, if it was not for the energy of the youths, then, the genocide implantation in Rwanda would have been slow and possibly a failure.
The call from the youths asking people to transform, thus answers one of our main questions.Why do we need to change?
If we are to register a different page in the bad history of our country, then we need to change. Change our attitudes and our mind set, towards a more responsible and humanistic understanding.
We cannot afford to live like animals, killing and slaughtering each other when others are at the moon discovering the world beyond us. We should change from being non starters and start acting in a more practical way.
Knowing and saying never to genocide, is not enough! We should set practical initiatives that create an environment to the never again slogan. That is when ‘Never again can be never again.’
There is a great deal of difference, between understanding something and actually putting it into practice. A demonstration against genocide is practical, for example.
We have all understood that genocide and its ideology is bad and that there is need to change but what are we doing in practical terms to check it.
This challenge may not necessarily refer to government institutions set to do the work of reconciliation like ‘the unity and reconciliation process’ and many others.
Let us examine ourselves at the individual level, family level, group level and community level, are we doing our assignments, or we left the whole idea to the unity and reconciliation committee.
Aristotle one of the great philosophers, the world has had, once remarked that, “unexamined life is not worth living.”
It is therefore, very encouraging seeing that the Rwandan youth have lived to the advice of Aristotle and are experiencing an examined life.
A life of responsibility and care, that pushes someone to act more responsibly not only for his/her survival but for the survival of others too.
We need this kind of change in ourselves that is not mere superficial and cosmetic in nature. A real change in us however, will not take place through an intellectual approach only.
We have been experiencing a number of intellectual exercises that real need a practical backing. We need to find the understanding at an intellectual level, and then bring it deep into ourselves so that it becomes a real experience.
We may have some information on how things really are, but if we do not use that information we will continue to react in the same way with no impact.
We need to teach and demonstrate the new ideologies of peace building in our shattered hearts so that a new Rwanda where never again is real never again to genocide.