Genocide deniers roaming Western countries should not be given platform to spread their hate ideology, the Rwandan community in Washington, US said during Monday’s 20th Genocide commemoration.
During the commemoration event at The Mayflower Renaissance Washington DC Hotel, one of the mourners Eng. Gaetan Gatete, decried the freedom with which genocide deniers roam around the world.
“As we speak, there are Genocide deniers roaming around the USA, Europe and other places,” Eng. Gatete said.
Speaking about the role of justice in healing, Dr Suzan Allen, a friend of Rwanda, stressed the role of justice in the healing process.
Dr Allen urged world leaders to do all they can to bring Genocide suspects to book.
Dr Allen is the founder of Project San Francisco which has for 25 years carried out research on HIV/Aids infection and prevention in Rwanda. She had lived for several years in Rwanda when more than 70 of the staff that worked under her were slaughtered in the Genocide.
The congregation also heard from Edouard Kayihura, a survivor from the Hôtel des Mille Collines now dubbed “Hotel Rwanda,” a 2004 American historical drama film inspired by a false account by a renowned Genocide denier Paul Rusesabagina, who worked at the hotel during the 1994 Genocide.
In an attempt at telling the real story behind ‘Hotel Rwanda’, Kayihura, a survivor and one of the 1,268 people who took refuge inside the hotel, has recently published a book, “Inside Hotel Rwanda: The Surprising True Story… And Why It Matters Today,” revealing how the hotel was immortalised in the much-celebrated 2004 Hollywood movie.
Kayihura spoke about how Rusesabagina charged the rich who could afford to pay while leaving the poor outside to die at the hands of Interahamwe militia.
“Like prisoners’ exchange, we were traded to join the zone under control of RPF,” Kayihura said, as he detailed his experience inside the Hôtel des Mille Collines.
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau for African Affairs, David Gilmour, offered sympathy to survivors of the Genocide. If appropriate actions could have been taken, he said, the Genocide could have been stopped, if not prevented.
Gilmour reiterated his government’s comments that resilient Rwanda “has been among the first to intervene wherever needed and we are happy we could facilitate.”
“We have learned from the genocide in Rwanda that we cannot stand by,” said Gilmour.
Rwanda’s ambassador to the US, Mathilde Mukantabana, told the audience about the great strides Rwanda had made, highlighting the tremendous recovery and healing that Rwandans have committed to over the last 20 years.
Amb. Mukantabana said: “We have reached all these major milestones in the collective engagement to rebuild our nation, we still have a long way to go. It is a journey that future generations, including those yet to be born, will have to continue.”
Alan B. Lazowski, co-founder and board member of the US Holocaust Museum, related his family’s experiences to the horrors of the 1994 Genocide.
Award winning American singer and actress, Mary Millben, and US-based Rwandan singer, Meddy Ngabo, performed at the event.