I was amazed by the walk to Remember on the 7th of April, mainly from the remarkable participation of the youth. No offense meant but it was something I honestly didn’t think could have been popular among us the youth most of whom, tend to be attracted by other totally different things.
Fortunately, this day definitely proved me wrong!
When I saw the motivation from the organisers (youth) and also from the lot that simply participated, I thought it the most inspiring as well as empowering event by the youth so far this year!
I felt proud to be among the crowd walking not as a mere pedestrian, but for that day, an icon of hope in Rwanda! Not just for me, but for us!
We mingled with our fellows, many of whom we’d never known, met old friends and made a number of new ones, caring less of how they looked or who they were with, not even thinking of knowing their background or roots but simply walking together,with the same reason of being there, supporting the same cause, hope for a united tomorrow.
Especially amongst us whose generation will prove either our success as a nation. It was glad to see that this success is proving itself to all of us and the world at large!
If we take a look down memory lane, we’ll realise the youth had a big hand in the mass killings of 1994 and in estimation in the reference book ‘War and Children’, about 2000 children were convicted for genocide related crimes! A sad number it is.
I have a feeling each youth who got involved in the ethnic killings from 1959 to 1994 wouldn’t have done so if it weren’t for the manipulation of some elder. These could be a parent, relative, neighbour or friend.
In my life so far, I must say that my relationships with the people around are based on what we do together rather than on who we are. And I believe its true for most of my friends.
This means that the elders around me made this choice for me. As we walked on that day, and mixed freely without bothering about who were, I thought that most elders around the walkers had made the same choice for the youth under their care.
When the President talked to us before the walk, he urged us to part with the bad past and look forward to a better future.
And I think by parting with the bad past, he meant that we make a choice; if the ideas from the elders around us might lead us into playing a role in ethnic divisions, we need to reject those ideas no matter how close the elders are to us.
And if the ideas from the elders around us are about unity and development, we should embrace them no matter how distant our relationship.
The author is a student at Riviera High School