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HomeAfricaRwanda Commemorates 30th Anniversary Of Genocide: Remembering The Past, Uniting For The...

Rwanda Commemorates 30th Anniversary Of Genocide: Remembering The Past, Uniting For The Future

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Rwandans will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the genocide that took place in their country on April 7, 1994. This genocide, initiated by Hutu extremists, led to widespread violence and resulted in the deaths of approximately 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis but also moderate Hutus, over a period of 100 days. The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) rebel militia, led by President Paul Kagame, took control of Kigali in July 1994, effectively ending the genocide.

The killings were ignited when a plane carrying then-President Juvénal Habyarimana, a Hutu, was shot down over Kigali. The Tutsis were blamed for downing the plane and killing the president. and became targets in massacres led by Hutu extremists that lasted over 100 days in 1994. Some moderate Hutus who tried to protect members of the Tutsi minority were also killed.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda

President Kagame will mark the anniversary by lighting a remembrance flame at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, where more than 250,000 victims are believed to be buried. The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Remember-Unite-Renew.” President Kagame, along with foreign dignitaries, including former US President Bill Clinton, will lay wreaths on the mass graves.

The commemoration will kick off a week of national mourning in Rwanda, during which the country will come to a standstill, and national flags will be flown at half-mast. As a sign of respect, music will not be played in public places or on the radio, and sports events and movies unrelated to the “Kwibuka 30” initiative will be banned from TV broadcasts. The United Nations and the African Union will also hold remembrance ceremonies in honor of the victims.

Despite the passage of time, new mass graves are still being discovered in Rwanda on an annual basis. In 2002, Rwanda established community tribunals where victims could hear confessions from their perpetrators, although concerns were raised by rights watchdogs regarding potential miscarriages of justice. Currently, Rwandan ID cards do not mention ethnicity, and the genocide is taught in secondary schools as part of a controlled curriculum.

Rwanda is home to over 200 genocide memorials, four of which were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list in the previous year. Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is leading the Kenyan delegation to the commemoration on behalf of President William Ruto.

As we remember the horrific genocide in Rwanda, let the world open it’s ears to the cries of people in sudan, lest the genocide of Rwanda replays itself in Africa once more.

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