On Saturday, Rwandans and friends both in the country and all over the world started the 24th commemoration of the Genocide against Tutsi.
In 1994, over a million Tutsi were murdered in a span of 100 days but the Rwanda Patriotic Front Rebels which were commanded by Paul Kagame stopped the Genocide against Tutsi and confronted and defeated the genocide forces.
On this 24th commemoration, President Kagame warned that the bad history could be repeated if not confronted, “We had a bad history and if we don’t take care, this history may repeat itself.”
The president was very calm and very selective of the words in his 11-minute speech. His comment on the likelihood of a repeat of the ugly past is a major shift compared to previous speeches.
Below is an excerpt of the translated short speech of the president.
I want to first thank our visitors and friends that always gather with Rwanda to commemorate the genocide against Tutsi.
I thank the conversation by Dr bizimana; There was a lot said about our history. It is good when this is said because people learn the truth and it’s also good to remember based on truth to achieve development.
While remembering those who ignore remembering are actually avoiding truth. There is a Rwandan proverb that ‘Truth passes through fire but it can’t get burnt’. And Truth goes hand in hand with remembering.
This is the 24th commemoration of the Genocide against Tutsi and remembering won’t stop. We should remember and also build our country.
For many Rwandans, every time we remember it always seems to have just started.
Remembering enables us to confront our history. We had a bad history and if we don’t take care, this history may repeat itself. By remembering we have to ensure that this history doesn’t repeat.
Remembering also enables Rwandans to be at the forefront. Nobody will solve challenges of our history except us. It also reminds us that if it’s a bad history, it can come from elsewhere.
According to Dr. Bizimana, half of our history didn’t come from Rwandans and also shows that foreigners also facilitated us in this bad history. This reminds us that the same foreigners can facilitate us to shadow the truth.
What do we do after knowing all this truth? We continue to build our strength in all sectors; economically, Security, uniting and strengthening the family will keep us progressing and not being in bondage of bad history and not to be influenced or misled by those that took part in our bad history.
Remembering is remembering the truth of our history and it’s about us. We also remember that we must build our capacity to confront our history in order to develop.
I thank all Rwandans that that’s the path we are already towing and everyone must contribute to defeat this bad history.