Just the other day I was chatting with some of my friends, they had arranged an exciting weekend outing. But as they were fixing the date it coincided with the genocide commemoration period.
They all amicably agreed to postpone the arrangement to May. This shows how Rwandans are spontaneously involved in remembering the loss of our precious people in one of the world’s most horrendous genocides.
The genocide commemoration week is a period dedicated to those friends, brothers and sisters who perished in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
In a press conference held on Tuesday, the different levels involved in the preparations of the 15th commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi highlighted how the preparations are in high gear. They pointed out that everything is now in order.
The theme this time around is “Remembering the genocide against the Tutsi and fighting its denial and negation while constructing our country”.
The Minister of Culture and Sports Joseph Habineza appealed to all Rwandans to use all possible channels to counter the negationists.
He advised out that if they send Internet messages directed at denying and concealing the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, we should send back counter messages showing the truth.
Among other things intended to be done during this year’s commemoration are giving support, friendship and encouragement to the genocide survivors.
Many of them have since the genocide always gone through hard times, ranging from emotional setbacks to poor standards of living. Many are also vulnerable such as the child-headed households.
Habineza also rightly pointed out that the plight of genocide survivors and others who have been impacted negatively by the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi should be seen as a collective responsibility as opposed to leaving everything to government.
There are memorial sites and mass graves which are unkempt and abandoned, without proper maintenance due to the waiting-for-the-government-to-maintain-them attitude by residents.
Some of these graves are only left to be cleaned by the genocide survivors who have their loved ones buried there. Their maintenance would have been used as an avenue for the perpetrators to show how remorseful they are for what they did by working together with the survivors to take good care of the se sites and mass graves.
Another issue which was raised is how to collaborate and exhibit individual responsibility in locating and disclosing where the remains of other people who were killed in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi’s were buried.
This appeal was made by Jean Mucyo the head of the Commission fighting against Genocide together with the Ibuka president, who declared that it is practically difficult to locate all the remains unless people get truthful and declare where they buried our people.
Also in the pipeline are programs like passing the one hundred messages of hope and the one dollar campaign. These are internationally inclusive arrangements to have the whole world informed and involved in the commemorations of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
The One Hundred Messages of Hope will involve a package of messages depicting the fruits of the peace and reconciliation process taking place despite the horrors that punctuated the horrible 100 days genocide against the tutsi. These will be electronically passed to many countries around the world.
In the same vein, the One Dollar Campaign is a mechanism championed to have the whole world on board in understanding the impact of the genocide and contributing to the helping the survivors.
The money to be collected in the exercise is expected to be used to provide shelter for orphans of the genocide. Both programs will be coordinated by the Ministry of Culture and Sports.
The period of commemorating the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi means a lot to every Rwandan, this is the time we get to remember and feel for our precious people who were gruesomely killed without any wrong. Everyone should be involved from deep down in their hearts as we support those who survived it.