Belgian youth club against Genocide takes shape

A Belgian youth club comprising youth born in April, 1994 who will partner with Rwandans during commemorations of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and in fighting the Genocide denial in Europe, was officially launched this week.

A Belgian youth club comprising youth born in April, 1994 who will partner with Rwandans during commemorations of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and in fighting the Genocide denial in Europe, was officially launched this week.

“The Belgian Youth club was officially introduced during our commemoration ceremony at the embassy,” Oria Vande weghe, Communication Officer at the Rwanda Embassy in Belgium, told The New Times.

 The association is called ‘Souviens-Toi le 7 Avril,’ and headed by a youth called Julien André.

The club’s website, http://www.souviens-toi-le-7avril.com  indicates that apart from Masozera and Vande weghe, Anne-Marie Lizin, the Honorary President of the Belgian Senate, is also an honorary member.

In his speech, André said: “Nineteen years ago, today (April 7), I was born. Fate made my birthday coincide with the day which marked the beginning of the last Genocide of the twentieth century, a tragic day for thousands of Rwandans.”

Origin of club

In an e-mail to The New Times, André explained that he got interested in the 1994 Genocide while researching on the internet for a school project. He had typed his birthday into the Google search engine.

A year later, “I explained the Genocide to a friend in a coffee shop.” The friend was none other than Lizin, “who suggested to me to accompany her to the last (April 7, 2012) remembrance” event.

André says it was during commemoration events in Liège, last April, that he became vividly aware of how “it was necessary to act and preserve the memory of this historic fact – which many seem to want to be forgotten, as a duty.”

After numerous exchanges with Lizin, he says, the idea of forming the club was born.

“The purpose of this association is to fight against the negationism of the Genocide committed against the Tutsi in 1994. I am looking forward to talking about the Genocide in Belgian schools.”

Meanwhile, several commemoration events are planned in Belgium this month until May 4.

Like France, Belgium is home to some of the former Rwandan regime’s supporters, most of them who are hard-line militants associated with Genocide deniers. Belgian authorities have previously arrested some of those suspected of taking part in the Genocide.

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