Courage does not depend on numbers. 20 years ago – on December 28, 1993 – 600 members of the 3rd Battalion of the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) entered Kigali in accordance with the Arusha Accords.
The accords were a culmination of marathon talks between the RPF and the Rwandan government to bring to an end to a three-year armed conflict and a 30 year-old government sponsored terrorism, a precursor to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The 3rd Battalion was to later on play a decisive role in ending the Genocide despite being pounded from all sides by the then Rwandan army (Ex-FAR).
The 600 men held their ground at the current parliamentary buildings, then known as CND, until they linked up with their colleagues who walked all the night from their base in Mulindi, northern Rwanda, to come to their rescue.
The courage and determination of the 3rd Battalion has not really received the recognition it rightfully deserves, and 20 years down the road, their exploits seem to fade. Our historians are silent.
It should be the duty of every witness of history to contribute to the posterity of acts of courage in order to encourage the young generation who today seem more concerned with flimsy pursuits than personal sacrifice.
Recounting exploits of the 3rd Battalion and the overall achievements of an outnumbered and outgunned RPF that stopped the genocide should be a permanent reminder of what selfless will and grit are capable of.
The 600 men showed exactly that.