World joined Rwanda for Kwibuka20
Rwandans all over the world this week are commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Genocide against the Tutsi that claimed lives of over a million people.
The call for Prevention of Genocide, keeping the memory, seeking justice, and focusing on the future of Rwanda prevailed at several events that were held by the Rwandan Diaspora community.
In the United States of America, Genocide survivors joined with U.S. and Rwandan officials, academics, human rights activists performers and friends of Rwanda to reflect on the Genocide that took place 20 years ago during an event held at the Mayflower Renaissance Washington-DC Hotel.
Rwanda’s ambassador to the U.S Mathilde Mukantabana, said that while commemorating the Genocide means reliving very difficult moments, it’s still important to find answers for the future.
Eng. Gaetan Gatete, the head of the Rwandan-American community in the U.S., said he thought the world had learned its lesson. “But unfortunately, after 20 years, we are still seeing it happen all over the world… in Central Africa and South Sudan,” said Gatete.
Gatete however said that though Rwanda has tried to move on from the 1994 era, he decried the fact the genocide denial is still an issue at hand and genocide deniers roam around the world, especially in the US and Europe.
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau for African Affairs, David Gilmour symptahised with Rwandans and said that the story of Rwanda remains a lesson for the international community to always take action whenever such cases surface.
He also hailed Rwanda for its resilience and being able to take the first step in intervention in areas around the world stricken by similar catastrophes, to restore peace.
Dr Suzan Allen, a friend of Rwanda, and founder of Project San Francisco- which researches on HIV/Aids infection and prevention in Rwanda; stressed the role of justice in the healing process and said that world leaders should act on bringing Genocide suspects to book.
Hundreds of Rwandans gathered at India’s International Centre in New Delhi to mark the 20th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Rwanda’s High Commissioner to India, Ernest Rwamucyo, urged commemorators to stand against acts of Genocide using the example of Rwanda, he said that each person should always speak out in the face of genocide.
Vinay Kumar, India’s Joint Secretary for Eastern and Southern Africa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed solidarity with the Rwandan people during the commemoration period, saying that the Rwandan story of resilience and commitment to rebuild their country and promote national unity and reconciliation is an example to the world.
The Remembrance Flame was also received back in New Delhi after touring through cities of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh; where Genocide commemoration events were held over the last two months.
In Haiti where Rwanda Police peacekeepers serving under the United Nations Stabilization Mission (Minustah)are based, they were joined by their counterparts from other countries –the Haitian National Police, national leaders and clerics to mark the 20th Genocide anniversary with a Walk to Remember.
As part of the commemoration of victims of the genocide, the forces also remembered a Senegalese soldier who was killed during the Genocide, late Capt. Digne Mbaye, for his selfless courage and efforts to save the Tutsi.
Chief Superintendent Peter Hodari, the Rwanda contingent commander handed over a portrait of late Capt. Digne Mbaye, to the Senegal Formed Police Unit contingent commander, Lt. Col. Magatte Mbaye.
On behalf of Minustah, Ba Fatoumata, the Chief Regional Officer, called on the world to have a responsibility to speak out in the face of genocide, anti-Semitism, bigotry, hatred, racism, intolerance or discrimination.
At the Rwandan Embassy in Beijing, the Rwandan community and friends of Rwanda joined in commemorating the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, with the Chinese Qingming festival or tomb sweeping festival, during which Chinese remember and honour their ancestors.
Francois Ngarambe, Rwanda’s ambassador to China, told mourners that remembering victims of the genocide is an act of ‘love and empathy, and an act of restoration of the victim’s dignity, and said genocide should never happen again, calling on the international community to ensure this commitment.
Du Xiaocong, the Deputy Director General in the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that his country is in solidarity with Rwandans during this period of honoring the memory of the Genocide victims.
Also at the event, one of the genocide survivors, Nobert Haguma, who was 12 years during the Genocide and now lives in China gave a touching testimony of how he was saved by Hutus inspite the fact that genocide conducted by Hutus targeting the Tutsi.
In the meantime, several events of commemorating the genocide in Rwanda have been planned from in other countries worldwide from this April through July- to make the 100 days of the official genocide commemoration during this 20th year.
Some of the event lined up for this month will include: in the U.S.- Conversation with Genocide Survivors (Los Angeles), Walk to End Genocide (New York City), Seven Photographers (San Diego), Genocide and its Aftermaths: Lessons from Rwanda–K-16 Teacher Workshop: Featuring Samuel Totten (Minneapolis); Rwanda Genocide Survivor Speaking (in Worcester and Madison
Art exhibition – Les Hommes Debout and Mémoire, Reconstruction et la Vie 20 ans après (in Paris and Strasbourg, France respectively); Genocide conferences and Traditional activities of commemoration, plus Prayers and Walk in Canada;
In Australia- National Memorial Day for the Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda and Journey of Hope for Rwanda, while in Graz, Austria they will hold a MUN Historic General Assembly – The Crisis in Rwanda.
In the region, a Public Lecture – Remember, Unite, Renew and Walk to Remember (Nairobi); Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Rwanda genocide in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; 20th Anniversary Commemoration in Arusha, Tanzania
Raising awareness & Movie Screenings plus Commemoration Event – Birmingham, UK; The memory of the Tutsi genocide, Genoa, Italy and 20th commemoration in Johannesburg, South Africa
The 20th Genocide commemoration is being held under the theme, “Remember, Unit, Renew.”