I think the Government should embark on behavioral health counseling to those directly affected by the traumatic events of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. But a lot will first have to be done to sensitise people that there is no shame in seeking mental and psychological help.
Rwandans are resilient people, which is a plus. But the minus side is that they are less willing to seek counseling for fear of being considered weak. Here in the USA, war veterans who have returned from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan go through an intense evaluation to make sure that they don’t suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unfortunately, some do.
In short, some Rwandans do suffer from PTSD, and the Government and NGO’s need to start thinking of a way to tackle it. Trauma does not start in the commemoration period. The commemoration period is simply a trigger when horror is revisited.
Anyone below the age of 19 cannot be an orphan of the Genocide by definition. If children younger than 19 are being traumatised about the Genocide, it is then adults who are responsible for telling them all sorts of horrific stories whilst they are too young to understand.
Kamanzi Eustache, Kigali
Reaction to the story, “Youth susceptible to trauma during Genocide memorial”, (The New Times, April 3)