The next generation must be different

15 years. Yes, it has been 15 years since the genocide against the Tutsi and our people continue to grieve over their loss. Our country endeavours to move on from this obvious loss. Let’s not attempt to pass on our hurt and disappointment to our children.

15 years. Yes, it has been 15 years since the genocide against the Tutsi and our people continue to grieve over their loss. Our country endeavours to move on from this obvious loss. Let’s not attempt to pass on our hurt and disappointment to our children.

We are the windows to our children’s hearts and mind. We create their reality because we are their point of knowledge and reference. So if we want them to grow knowing only hatred that is exactly what will happen.

Hate messages led teenagers into killing sprees in 1994 because they did not know better. They were trained soldiers and their loyalty lay to those they saw as their elders.

So they rose and killed. Some of these children are still in prison, some serving life sentences. For some, the real reason they did what they did remains alien to them but that can never be a ground for defence.

They were taught by the wrong people and they learned well, only the lesson cost their lives. They were taught to hate and so they did. Resulting to one of the deadliest genocides the world has ever witnessed.

Never again, we swore. The world will never see this repeated, is our conviction. But those who need to know and hear this are our children because even at a time like this they are watching and listening.

They want to know what we term as justice. They too want to know how they must look at the events that now mark our history. Socialisation is a process through which we train our children our beliefs and values.

They learn to value what we value and hate what we hate. They watch how we behave towards other people and they instinctively grow to be us. They might not have been there in 1994 but they know about the Genocide.

The questions we hold of why it all happened and how people can be that cruel are the same questions they hold. They too are angry that their families were hurt. They too are hurt that some of their relatives are not here.

They are looking for answers from us and we can’t answer them with hate messages. We should instead let them grow knowing only the lessons that came from the Genocide. Teach them why it can never happen again and why despite all that we must all learn to forgive.

Granted we should express how we feel especially during this week as the memories keep flooding back but it’s our word choices that will affect how our children interpret what we are going through.

This is a crucial period for all of us because our children are looking up to us to see how we are dealing with pain. If we teach them hate they will grow knowing just that hate. If we teach them forgiveness then they too will learn to forgive.

Our country’s future lies in the hands of our children. Our country’s hope for rebuilding is founded on peace and love for all. These children must grow knowing nothing but patriotism and love for the country and its people.

This is our responsibility. The next generation must be different. The next generation must not know hate but love. They must pass on these good values to the generation that they will beget and the process should go on and on.

Email pgathoni@gmail.com

ADVERTISEMENT