Moral Development: the key to dignity and self-reliance

As we remember the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi we are called upon to strive for self-reliance.  We, Abanyarwanda, are blessed with the human and natural resources to develop our country without relying on those that seek to keep us dependent.
Kayitana ka Ruterandongozi
Kayitana ka Ruterandongozi

As we remember the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi we are called upon to strive for self-reliance.

We, Abanyarwanda, are blessed with the human and natural resources to develop our country without relying on those that seek to keep us dependent.

However, we need to focus on developing our inner selves just as much, if not more than, our outer selves.

Abanyarwanda were predominantly Catholics prior to the Genocide and yet a million, mainly Catholic Tutsis, were massacred by mainly Catholic Hutus.

How was this possible? It is obvious that the killers did not worship God but instead worshipped material possessions and envied their neighbours and coveted their property.

Nineteen years after the Genocide, there are many different churches and people are free to practice their faith. Unfortunately, despite the many that attend churches or mosques regularly there is still, on the part of many, a lack of genuine concern for the welfare of one’s neighbour. This despite the preaching of religious leaders and consistent efforts by the government to promote unity and national reconciliation.  Could this be due to our being greatly influenced by the materialism of affluent societies?

Europe and North America have, for many decades, been an ideal for developing countries to emulate as they seek to develop and rid themselves of ignorance and poverty.

The financial crisis that threatens to destroy European unity and North American prosperity has demystified their claim to superiority.

It is now very clear that they have been living beyond their means and have to face the consequences of worshipping material possessions and living on borrowed money.

This culture of consumerism that misleads people into believing that dignity can be achieved through material possessions and breeds a society that judges others by their appearance and not by their character is not a roadmap to self-reliance.

It is, instead, mental slavery that guarantees that those who are afflicted will be perpetual markets for the producers of the coveted consumer goods. How can we rid ourselves of this ‘‘mental illness’’?

We need to value our neighbours, and not their material possessions, as we value ourselves. Those with a low self-esteem should be reminded that they are God’s representatives on Earth.

Is there a greater appointment on this earth? Some might beg to differ and say that being a “Permanent” Representative to the United Nations is a more dignified appointment. However, as dignified representatives we need to develop morally to be worthy of our position.

Home-grown initiatives at the village level will nurture our self-esteem, our genuine concern for the welfare of our neighbours, and develop our taste for indigenously produced goods and services.

This will lead to an increased demand for what we produce and employ more people to produce them. As we earn more and spend less on wants and more on what we need we will increase our ability to rely on ourselves.

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