‘Never Again’ is not a one-dimensional call

THE month of April is usually a rainy one and it is not rare to find a clear sky quickly turn dark and cloudy before you are all wet from the heavy down pour. This above can be compared to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Although a clear programme of mass murder was on the table, it all happened so fast and so crudely. In just 100 days, mankind was treated to the worst non-fiction horror ever.

THE month of April is usually a rainy one and it is not rare to find a clear sky quickly turn dark and cloudy before you are all wet from the heavy down pour. 

This above can be compared to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Although a clear programme of mass murder was on the table, it all happened so fast and so crudely. In just 100 days, mankind was treated to the worst non-fiction horror ever.

A million lives were lost because of a killing machine that had been created by the state and coalition of those who had the power to stop it but preferred to sit and watch the “breaking news.”

It was not just lives that were lost. As the blood flowed down the proverbial thousand hills, so did the institutions that were responsible for having an effective nation up and running. We need not forget that most of these institutions were hardly developed since a lot of energy and resources had already been put aside for the genocide project.

The education sector was not spared. School children had their ambitions cut short by those who were bent on grading them according to ethnicity instead of academic ability or ambition.

Teachers recklessly abandoned sanity and chose to pass on hatred. Those who did not tow this line were not spared.

Children who refused to be judged according to race were among the first to die as an example of how determined the killers were.

These young children were instantly orphaned, and endured the horrendous killings at such a tender age. The emotional scars continue to affect these children today in form of trauma and depression.

When the Rwanda Patriotic Force (RPF) soldiers took control of the country they had not just taken state power. They had managed to do what the rest of the world was not interested in doing; stopping the world’s fastest and callous genocide.

They soon realised that the education sector was just a shell of its former self. Students had been killed, teachers had been killed, and more so, other educated Rwandans were murdered for either being Tutsi or failure to partake in the killing frenzy.

The fact that the educated had not been spared, left a huge psychological scar in the sector. How else would teachers inspire learners to pursue academic goals yet just the other day, professors and doctors were killing and being killed.

The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was actually the second death sentence for the Rwandan education sector.

This is so, because even before it happened, only one group of people accessed education while the Tutsi’s were excluded. Worse still, those who managed to get educated, were mostly taught about ethnic hatred than scientific principles and philosophies.

16 years after, things have changed. Rwanda’s leadership has done a great job so far, they have not only revived the education sector but also set up a fund (FARG) to assist genocide survivors so that they too can access education.

Thousands and thousands of genocide survivors have managed to get an education thanks to this fund. Almost all levels of the education system and schools have some people who are funded by this fund.

Unfortunately, some people entrusted with managing these funds have gone astray and instead embezzled this money meant for the genocide survivours. The president has often expressed his utmost disappointment with these people.

When we say Never Again, we do not only refer to the acts of genocide (murder) but to the whole pre-genocide and post-genocide attitudes. People who embezzle funds meant for the education of genocide survivours are not so different from the genocidal government that denied some people an education.

They forget that access to education is not just a policy by the current leadership but also a fundamental human right. Stealing from the genocide survivours is evidence that some people do not understand what Never Again is all about.

ssenyonga@gmail.com

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