Ibuka association yesterday made a formidable gesture of recognising those who went out of their way to save Tutsis who were scampering for their dear lives during the Genocide. This gesture could not have come at a more opportune moment.
The function that was held at Nyanza Memorial site, a place that was this year designated as the memorial for the failure of the international community in stopping the 1994 Genocide.
Among the people rewarded for their outstanding role in saving lives, was Father Mario Falconi - An Italian missionary who risked his life to protect 3,000 members of his flock who had run to him for refuge.
This is a European who had plenty of choices; he would simply have packed his bags and headed back to Europe, or just stood aside or much worse given access to the militias to kill their prey, just like many did. After all he was not among the hunted.
However, he chose the right path; He firmly stood by his people despite putting his life on the line.
As he said in his acceptance speech, it was his duty to stand by the people who had run to him seeking protection, but the question is, who, or how many did such a thing?
That makes the experience in Rwanda rather unique, because what the priest did, together with the rest who were rewarded, is simply what everyone should have done.
All that said, what Ibuka did cannot be disputed, such formidable characters need to be recognised. Their recognition is not only a token of appreciation but a powerful message of the responsibility to protect the vulnerable must be paramount.