AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
UNITED NATIONS secretary-general Antonio Guterres has urged the world to heed the lessons of one of Africa’s worst genocides during which over a millon Tutsis were systematically killed.
In an special message to mark the the 27th anniversary of the genocide and declared as an International Day for Reflection, Guterres said:
“On this day, we honour those who were murdered, we reflect on the suffering and we recognize the resilience of those who have survived. As we join in solidarity with the people of Rwanda, we must take a hard look at today’s world and ensure that we heed the lessons of 27 years ago.”
In Kigali, President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeanette led the nation in commemoration events about an event that changed the lives of Rwandans.
The Kagames were joined by the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and representaives of survivors and laid a wreath at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, where over 250,000 victims are laid to rest, and lit the Flame of Remembrance.
Kagame said the 27th anniversary – Kwibuka27 – challenged Rwandans to reflect on the context of the present moment, as well as the cumulative history.
‘Rwanda may not yet be wealthy or fully healthy, and we have vulnerabilities and limitations, like any country. But we also know how to deal with our problems. Rwandans are resilient, and we are full of purpose and hope. The immensity of what has been achieved is almost miraculous. The results are attested to by Rwandans, and indeed indisputable.
‘First, there are the tangible signs, things that we can see and feel. New buildings and roads. Better hospitals and health centres. Water and electricity services, where they never existed before. Visitors flocking to see Rwanda’s unique wildlife and enjoy our hospitality.
“But the intangible transformations which have taken place in the hearts and minds of our people are even more important. They allow progress to be sustained from generation to generation. Our unity and nationhood, which continues to grow.
“The trust we have in each other as a people, and in our leaders and institutions. Positive mindsets of creativity, accountability, and self-reliance. The satisfaction of seeing Rwanda’s story serve as an uplifting symbol of renewal, even hopefully beyond our borders. And the collective self-assurance that comes from the spirit of agaciro, which inspires everything we do.
“The Rwandans of today have gained a lot, which means we have something precious to defend. This requires constant vigilance, along with a commitment to introspection and honesty.”
Kagage welcomed anew report that showed that President Mitterrand and his closest advisers knew that a genocide against Tutsi was being planned by their allies in Rwanda.
Kagame said: “Despite that knowledge, the president decided to continue supporting them, because he believed this was necessary for France’s geopolitical position. Rwandan lives were just pawns in geopolitical games.
“We welcome this report because it marks an important step toward a common understanding of what took place. It also marks a change, it shows the desire, even for leaders in France, to move forward with a good understanding of what happened, and we welcome this. We welcome this. We are going to have the report presented to us; I have been informed about it. It is a good thing.
Rwanda will also have a word to say in the near future, maybe around the third week of this month. The findings we have in our hands, based on the work that has been done by people who were commissioned to do that in parallel to what was being done in France — the findings go in the same direction. The important thing is to continue working together to document the truth. This is the truth.
‘The decades-long effort by certain French officials to cover up their responsibilities has caused significant damage.
“History was falsified by promoting the lie of the so-called double genocide, including with the Mapping Report. Fraudulent court cases were launched in Europe against our officers and officials. Genocide suspects were granted safe haven, and Rwanda’s extradition requests refused.
“And this was not just in France; it’s just because I was talking about the report. Even in other capitals of those developed countries, we know of cases that have gone on for close to 15 years. There are places where there are about 4-5 genocide suspects, the files are very clear. We talked to the country hosting them, we begged them. We said, the case files are ready, they are here, can you please give them to us for trial?”
The genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda remains in our collective conscience as among the most horrific events in recent human history.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) April 6, 2021
To prevent history from repeating, we must counter hate-driven movements & push for the full respect of all members of society. #Kwibuka pic.twitter.com/P3h3pYuiHw
27 years after the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, see the faces and hear the stories of survivors on Wednesday’s International Day of Reflection. https://t.co/x0tUxrXFUQ #Kwibuka pic.twitter.com/stQxYIIyIZ— United Nations (@UN) April 7, 2021