So, what most of us call the ‘Genocide in Rwanda’ or ‘Rwandan Genocide’ need actually be referred to as the ‘Genocide against Tutsi’.
For many years now, global citizens led by the survivors of the 1994 massacre are campaigning for a change on how it is identified. After numerous discussions, a large percentage of the International Community has come to a consensus that – it is a fact that the genocide was perpetrated against the Tutsi in Rwanda (calling it as it is) and that it is not merely a meaningless Genocide in Rwanda.
The year 2017 marks 23 years since the occurrence confounding event that lasted three consecutive months resulting to a whole 800,000 people’s deaths.
The conflict that was centered between the two main ethic groups in Rwanda, Tutsi and the Hutu, began decades before 1994.
During the colonial period, the Belgians openly favoured the Tutsi over the Hutu. This was mostly in terms of acknowledgment and jobs. The Rwandese had to specify in their identification card whether they were of the TUTSI, HUTU or TWA tribe making it easier for the Belgians to discriminate upon those who were not Tutsi.
It was their belief (Belgians) that the Tutsi were more superior to the Hutu thus treating them as so. Because of this, the Tutsi and the Hutu did not see eye to eye and once Rwanda gained its independence, the Hutu, being the majority of the population, gained control over the nation with no intention of sharing power. They inclined to persecuting the Tutsi.
In 1994 a plane with the president of Rwanda aboard was shot at and crashed. This was the beginning of a a range of systematic killing by the Hutu that left up to 10,000 people dead in a day. The death toll of the Tutsi rose as the passion to exterminate them increased.
Two decades on, Rwanda is still dealing with the atrocity.
The wounds (physical and emotional) caused by the Genocide are not completely healed. Many of those who fled their homes are still rebuilding their lives. The entire nation lost. Children were orphaned and for some parents, it was the last time they saw their children alive. Some families were completely wiped off the face of the earth leaving just but a memory of their once existence.
Churches and schools were set up as Memorials. The names and remains of the dead are preserved to ensure the crime is never forgotten.
Reconciliation may be a major challenge for the citizens of Rwanda but a good number of them live together despite their past differences – An act that you have to agree with me to be somewhat bewildering. (23 years is not such a long time ago)
That has to be the most inspiring thing post the genocide. FORGIVENESS.
The ethnic tensions have to a great extent disappeared and it is my hope and prayer that peace continues to reign. It would be a great shame if Rwanda, Kenya or any other state failed to learn from the 1994 massacre.
Ethnicity and all the other major or minors factors that makes us different from each other are what make the world an even more interesting place to live in.
They are total up-sides! Why can’t everybody see that?
Imagine how BORING the world would be if we all looked EXACTLY like Me, dressed, lived, talked and thought like I do! (Well, considering how cool I am, I think otherwise… but you get the drift right?)
All these different attributes are what colour our world.
The international community may have failed at its role in preventing or even stopped the 1994 Genocide from happening but it is my personal opinion that since we have acknowledged that fact, we should quit beating ourselves up about it and work toward preventing the same from happening in future. Not just in Rwanda but also in other states.
Take Syria. The stability of the nation needs saving! There is no excuse for the International Community to turn a blind eye to the country and its people. It is during such times that I for one, expect the other 195 nations of the world to work collectively to contain the situation.
What’s the point of watching from the sidelines as Syria is razed to the ground and later coming up with hashtags that won’t raise the dead?
I agree with the majority that support the commemoration of The Genocide against the Tutsi. Besides honoring the dead, we all get to learn a thing or two.