Louise Mushikiwabo cautions against ‘conspiracy of silence’

Top African Union dignitaries, religious leaders, the Rwandan community in Ethiopia, and friends of Rwanda, yesterday, also gathered at the plenary hall of the new complex of the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, to mark the 19th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
L-R: Dr Zuma, Mushikiwabo and Adhanom light a memorial candle in Addis Ababa. Courtesy
L-R: Dr Zuma, Mushikiwabo and Adhanom light a memorial candle in Addis Ababa. Courtesy

Top African Union dignitaries, religious leaders, the Rwandan community in Ethiopia, and friends of Rwanda, yesterday, also gathered at the plenary hall of the new complex of the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, to mark the 19th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

During the event, also attended by six ministers and Ethiopian students, Foreign Affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo stressed that “we remember because we owe it to the departed, we remember because it’s part of our duty to humanity and, we remember so we don’t forget how we got here.”

Mushikiwabo said: “For a genocide to take place, conditions must be ripe and one of those conditions is the absence of external voices or the lack of intention to speak out. This ‘Conspiracy of Silence’ existed in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and so we remember today to say no to this conspiracy.”

Looking back to 1993-1994, she recalled that Rwanda was at the time sitting on the UN Security Council. It was then a country that killed and covered up its crimes with the help of many, she said.

“Today, again, in 2013-2014, Rwanda is back on the same seat and it is a deeply a changed country; a country that guards and protects the lives of its citizens; a country that has brought its people hope and prosperity.”

Mushikiwabo said the horror and agony of the innocent men, women and children, whose lives were cut short by ideologically bankrupt leaders and man’s inhumanity to man has been subject to detailed accounts on paper, in film and otherwise, but to Rwanda, “this tragedy, as well as the history that led to it, has influenced our way of life.”

“We should remain vigilant to trivialising and denying Genocide.”

Tedros Adhanom, Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs,  said the international panel of eminent personalities established by the then OAU under a proposal by former Ethiopian Premier Meles Zenawi “investigated the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda and concluded that if there is anything worse than the genocide itself, it is the knowledge that it should not have happened.”

Avoidable

“The simple truth is that the Genocide was avoidable and that it would have been relatively easy to stop it. The world failed Rwanda and hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings were senselessly massacred,” he said.

The theme for this year’s remembrance is “Commemorating the Genocide against the Tutsi as we strive for Self-Reliance.”

Mushikiwabo said self-reliance fits within the current AU’s ideals of Pan Africanism and African Renaissance.

“We are talking of re-birth of a nation that mirrors that of the continent. The African rebirth should be based on strong values of tenacity and resilience that lead to strength and solutions. The rebirth lies in the firm commitment to put our citizens first and improve both our economic and political governance.”

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the chairperson of the AU Commission, said the commemoration is an opportunity for all to be reminded of the past Rwanda went through and the future “we all want for the continent.”

“It is also an opportunity for us to reiterate our commitment to have no more genocide in our continent or anywhere in the world now or in future.” Dr Zuma said. “Today, we salute the memory, as we shall always do, of the victims of the Genocide in Rwanda.

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