At the national event commemorating the Rwanda Genocide yesterday in Nyamata, President Paul Kagame gave a galvanizing speech. He said that whereas it is worthwhile remembering what befell the nation fourteen years ago, it is important that Rwandans do so with a mixture of anger and cheerfulness.
Kagame called upon Rwandans to deny Genocide perpetrators the joy of seeing an endlessly unhappy people. Yet he implored them to cover themselves with a thick layer of anger for protection against further injustices.
It is an open secret that the Genocidaires’ mission was to exterminate the Tutsi ethnic group – the Hutus, the Belgians, Spanish, etc, who died along were victims of circumstances.
It is also important to point out that real survivors, those who, or whose immediate families, were inside the country, now have the company and/or support of other survivors who were living outside of the country, some still living there even today.
The Tutsi in general were the target, though those living in Rwanda at the time were the most vulnerable. Indeed they bore the brunt of the Genocide. However, they should now feel the support of all Rwandans.
Together they can supplement the efforts from everybody with good intentions and the government to ensure that real survivors begin to enjoy only true love from the rest of the Rwandan people and not feel isolated at all.
Many of the Genocide masterminds, Rwandan nationals and some foreigners, still lurk out there. Recognition of this unfortunate fact is the reason “…fighting its ideology…” is an integral part of this year’s commemoration theme.
Rendering support to survivors and striving for development are the other two components of the theme. Coming back to President Kagame’s message, it sought to put the theme into perspective.
On the one hand, fighting to defeat the Genocide ideology will require stocking enough determination to uproot its cause.
On the other, doing so with “a smile” delivers Rwandans from the anguish that the Genocidaireswould desire to see grip the nation forever.
Anguish can consume the mental and physical energy, which would otherwise be invested in steering the nation to development.
It can distract and render efforts less fruitful. Without development, there will be little means to fight the Genocide ideology. There will be little capacity to support survivors.
Ultimately the Genocidaires will be winners. And because we do not want that to happen, let us defeat anguish with a disarming smile. After all Rwanda is alive and will thrive despite the Genocide.