We now count down few days to remember when Rwandans managed to unchain themselves from a long-time despotic regime.
As we remember the tribulations and afflictions which befell Rwanda during the rule of tyranny, no human words can express the gratitude which I feel to the merciful God who enabled Rwandans to start a fresh chapter in history.
While most countries (at the beginning) ascribed the RPF/RPA decision to wage a liberation war against the then Kigali regime as being due to nothing more than callous self-interest that had characterized many other wars in Africa, the RPF/RPA had carefully examined all other avenues and discovered that war was inevitable.
If we went by the very classic definition of a ‘Just war’, the RPF/RPA war was indeed justified in all spheres. First of all it was a war that one was sure to win at a certain point, with minimum casualities (though the Genocide contradicted the theory, it was not part of the war); it was a war with a just cause, declared by competent authority, had right intentions and above all it was a last resort.
There is therefore no way the war Rwandans fought to liberate themselves can be unjustified as some countries and people have been trying to call it.
Who liberated Rwanda? For centuries Rwandans had become refugees in other countries as the then Rwandan government had refused to allow them back. And those who tried to come back by themselves were butchered in broad daylight.
The answer to the question is hence simple. It was Rwandans themselves who worked it out. They had suffered a lot and had to find a way. When you treat human beings as animals, they in the end react as animals to unchain themselves. That is how the war of liberation started.
The aftermath of the liberation war, of course was not immune from challenges. And maybe one of the most challenging issues rose when Rwandans, basing on their own bad history (which is normally exacerbated by historical ‘friends of Rwanda’), started wrongly defining who was really liberated.
This can be evidenced by the new social stratifications they created, as if the old ones (Tutsi, Hutu and Twa) were not enough. The divisions were based on the countries from which Rwandans had lived in refuge and moved further to those who were in Rwanda before the Genocide. Rwandans were more confused with the new social conundrums.
Fortunately these conditions never lived for long and they soon succumbed to natural death. So who was liberated? All Rwandans in general were liberated. The Tutsi who were inside the country, lived under intensive fear for ages until they were dehumanised and annihilated during the Genocide.
Tutsis lived in Rwanda as second-class citizens and the Genocide did not come by surprise. The liberation therefore, was meant to bring back their respect as human beings, a thing that was successfully done.
The Tutsi who were living in exile were not safe either, as they were constantly harassed and persecuted, leave alone living a permanent life as refugees. The liberation therefore, returned the humanity that had been robbed from them by the despotic regime.
How about the Hutu and those who committed the Genocide? Did they benefit from the liberation? The answer is an absolute yes. The liberation was fundamental and indeed affected each and every Rwandan. Rwanda was ruled by a small group of people, popularly known as ‘Akazu’ and the rest were meant to follow orders.
However, many Rwandans lived with great deception that they were part of the ‘class’. But alas, these (Rwandans) were only tools of a despotic regime! They thus lived with the illusion until they were disillusioned by the liberation.
They hence greatly benefited from the struggle in that way they realised, due to the fair and focussed leadership, that they had been used for others’ selfish interests.
When we come back to the people who committed the Genocide, we find that they were greatly liberated. These are the people whose minds were so narrowed to the extent that they believed that a human being may have a cow’s long tail.
They had lost their senses and needed liberation of the mind so that they live a meaningful life. Unexamined life is not worth living. It is so bad and sad to see human beings reduced to act and work as machines.
The killers of Tutsis during the Genocide were not human beings any more, but machines. They had been automated to act without thinking.
This is the worst ‘human degradation’ a society can be subjected to. The liberation therefore, helped to develop the minds of such people and there is no doubt that today, if confronted with a similar scenario, they would act otherwise and in a rational way.
Rwandans after the liberation war have learnt to live rationally. Although it would be difficult to give empirical proof, the speed with which the people of Rwanda have managed to reconcile and live together in peace, attests to the assertion.
It was liberation the country had needed for long, but because of the dynamics involved, it had to wait until it started. Well a little late, but better late than never as the old saying goes. There was a need to turn down the tables of a despotic regime and this was done for the betterment of all Rwandans.