GYC Village

blog posts from GYC's participants, alumni, & staff

Commemoration Week in Rwanda

Commemoration Week in Rwanda

by Kenneth Ruzindana, Kigali, GYC Alumni 2008

This week is no ordinary week for Rwandans. It is a week of commemorating terrible events that should shame humanity. This week is a solemn one as we remember 16 years ago when the brutal massacre of over a million innocent citizens took place.

The events during the first weeks of April and thereafter will forever remain etched in our memories.The authors and implementers of the genocide were brutal and shameless, as they executed a senseless mass murder, against innocent civilians.

Women were raped, some infected with the HIV virus, and babies were killed on their mothers’ backs, others from wombs.

This week we remember. Genocide survivors will relive the horrible episode as they retell their stories. As they tell what they witnessed, above all what they survived, when neighbour turned against neighbour.

We will visit the memorial sites where hundreds of thousands are buried, to honour them, in recognition of their untimely deaths. We will pray, fast, cry, together as a nation.

There are those who wish to mask their inaction during this dark period by underplaying the events that took place. Let the revisionists and negationists be reminded that there are those who lived to tell the story. Let them be reminded that it is an axe that strikes a tree that forgets but a tree that was struck will never forget.

The strength of remembering, is part of the healing process, as we make a fresh vow that never again, shall neighbour turn against neighbour.

This is the solemn uniting vow as we light the candle of hope and unity. As victims stands next to perpetrators united by the power of forgiveness.

As we light the candle of hope tomorrow, not only do we remember, but we honour those who had the courage to stand up and take Rwanda to where she is today.

Battered though she was, she stands tall a beacon of hope to all that the human spirit can triumph against any form of adversity.

One can’t help but reflect on the times past and the challenges ahead of us. Any witness to the Rwandan tragedy, near or far, will attest to the fact that what we have accomplished as a people is nothing short of a miracle. For it was and still is hard to imagine that any Nation, however big or small, could pick itself up, dust itself off and start all over by shear will power after a human tragedy of this magnitude. It is quite clear in the minds of our people that Rwanda should serve as a great example of triumph against adversity.

It is my great conviction that nothing worse than what we have already overcome could be thrown our way. We are however fully aware that the long road to freedom and emancipation still has its share of challenges and we remain cautiously hopeful for the future of the country we love.


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This entry was posted on April 1, 2010 by in Alumni in Action, Genocide Prevention, Rwanda, Rwanda Program Posts.


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