Today marks the 17th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. On Monday the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) launched the ‘Genocide Exhibition’ aimed at portraying how the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was carried out.
The exhibition that is ongoing at Petit Stade, Remera is bound to go a long way in educating people about the history of Rwanda.
This puts to rest the misconceptions of Genocide that some people in foreign countries flagrantly deny, despite all the clear evidence. If we forget or ignore our history then the “Never Again” message will lose its essence.
I commend the organisers of this exhibition for taking the time to expand society’s knowledge on the role played by several institutions in organising and implementing the Genocide where over a million people perished in cold blood.
The exhibition also delves into the brave role played by the fighters of the Rwanda Patriotic Front in bringing this catastrophe to an end.
I agree with the Prime Minister, Bernard Makuza who said at the exhibition launch that, the truth about the Genocide should be passed on to future generations, taught in schools and through the media.
The Prime Minister’s message does resonate with this year’s theme of, “Upholding the Truth, Preserving our Dignity.”
Talking of schools, in the past there was a big problem of some teachers and even students spreading the genocide ideology to other students.
The good news is that this dangerous trend has always been dealt with unwaveringly. Judging from my observation of the stories that appear in our press, I think it is safe to say that this problem has reduced drastically.
Since schools serve as another family for the students, it is very important that our young ones are not poisoned with ideas of genocide denial. In the same light, we need to recognise the new community identity that a school offers. This community is indeed the student’s social network and it should never be abused by those wishing to spread hate speech.
On the contrary, schools are supposed to serve as platforms for engendering a culture of unity and reconciliation among the learners. Students should be taught to perceive themselves as Rwandans with a common destiny. As an institution, a school should be used to instil necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to students so that they can become useful and not destructive like those who perpetrated the Genocide.
Rwanda’s education sector was reduced to shambles by the events of 1994 but the current Government has done an amazing job of reviving the same sector.
All the education achievements over the past 17 years have been a fruit of the unity and reconciliation policy that has been used to remind Rwandans that we are one people with a common destiny.
During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, brave students refused to separate according to ethnic lines on the orders of their killers.
These national heroes chose unity at a very critical moment. The lesson here is that their desire to preserve their dignity was much stronger than the threats of their assailant.
Students of today ought to emulate their fallen colleagues and always stand for truth and unity. Being a part of a school community should bring about a sense of unity as Rwandans and also as students of that school.
Students should be proud of their schools but more importantly, proud of their country, Rwanda, and the huge strides it has made over the past 17 years. Students should not forget that while at school, they are part of a larger family and should be ready to stand as one in case of anything. Never Again!