Rwandans living in Calgary, Canada over the weekend marked the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in a “cross-cultural event” during which the city’s mayor, Naheed Nenshi, stressed the importance of building communities.
A statement by the Rwandan Canadian Society of Calgary indicates that the provincial Minister of Justice, Jonathan Denis, spoke about the importance of human rights and treating everyone equally, to ensure that no group is ever targeted or treated as scapegoats.
Denis also thanked the Rwandan community for their contributions to the city and the province.
One of the Rwandans, Jean-Claude Munyezamu, is a recipient of last year’s Queen’s Jubilee Medal for his work with immigrant youth in Calgary, especially after setting up soccer programmes for refugee children in the city.
Dr Egide Karuranga, the president of the Rwandan Diaspora in Canada, and a survivor who was at Hotel des Mille Collines in 1994, spoke at length about how Hollywood misrepresented the story of the survivors in the movie “Hotel Rwanda.”
He also discussed the manner in which some people are now seeking to deny or trivialise the Genocide.
Canadian journalist Will Ferguson spoke about his recent trip to Rwanda and “the remarkable recovery” the country is making.
The event, hosted by Mount Royal University, featured images from Genocide memorials like Nyamata, Ntarama and Murambi.
Andy Amour, president of the Rwandan Canadian Society of Calgary, and a teacher in Calgary read a “heartfelt letter of support” from Calgary’s Jewish community.
“Both of our communities have learned that if we are to heal, we must not forget. We must preserve memory, honour survivors and pass on the lessons of our tragic history to the young generations,” Amour said in reference to the Genocide and the Holocaust.