Discours du Président Paul Kagame à l’occasion du 20ème Commémoration du Génocide contre les Tutsi

‎Discours du Président Paul Kagame
20ème Commémoration du Génocide contre les Tutsi
Stade Amahoro | 7 avril 2014

• Excellences Mesdames et Messieurs les Chefs d’Etat et de Gouvernement,
• Excellences Monsieur le Secrétaire Général des Nations-Unies,
• Excellence Madame la Présidente de la Commission de l’Union Africaine,
• Excellences Messsieurs les Anciens Chefs d’Etat et de Gouvernement,
• Mesdames et Messieurs les Représentants Officiels en provenance du monde entier,
• Honorables invités,‎
• Chers compatriotes,

Il n’y a pas de mots assez forts pour exprimer ma gratitude envers tous nos amis venus du monde entier pour s’associer à nous en un jour aussi important que celui-ci. Par la même occasion, j’aimerais aussi remercier tous ceux qui se sont tenus à nos côtés tout au long de l’incroyable voyage sur le chemin de la reconstruction du Rwanda.

Nous sommes ici rassemblés, pour rappeler à notre souvenir la mémoire de ceux qui ont perdu la vie pendant le génocide et pour réconforter ceux qui y ont survécu.

Tout en rendant hommage aux victimes toujours vivantes ou trépassées, nous saluons également l’inébranlable résilience de l’âme rwandaise, grâce à laquelle notre pays a pu survivre et renaître.

A nos parents, à nos enfants, à nos frères et soeurs qui ont survécu, aux Rwandais qui ont résisté à l’incitation au génocide ainsi qu’à ceux qui expriment leurs remords, je dis que c’est vous qui portez le fardeau de notre histoire.

Nous avons recherché la justice et la réconciliation du mieux que nous pouvions, mais cela ne ramène guère ce que nous avons perdu.

Au cours de ces vingt dernières années et à plusieurs reprises, les Rwandais ont payé de leur personne. Devant l’assemblée de vos communautés, vous vous êtes levés pour témoigner et vous avez écouté d’autres faire de même. Vous avez assumé vos responsabilités et vous avez offert le pardon.

Votre sacrifice est un pur don à la nation. Il est la semence d’où le nouveau Rwanda va grandir. Merci pour avoir permis à votre humanité et à votre patriotisme de prévaloir sur votre douleur et votre deuil.
Merci de tout coeur.

Faire la lumière sur notre histoire est un devoir de mémoire auquel nous ne pouvons nous soustraire. Derrière l’expression “Plus jamais ça”, il y a une histoire dont la vérité doit être dite intégralement, aussi dérangeante soit-elle.

Ceux qui ont planifié et mis en exécution le génocide étaient des Rwandais, mais son histoire et ses causes originelles vont bien au-delà de ce pays. C’est pour cette raison que les Rwandais continuent de rechercher l’explication la plus exhaustive possible sur ce qui s’est passé.

Nous le faisons avec l’humilité d’une nation qui s’est pratiquement détruite elle-même. Nous sommes néanmoins déterminés à recouvrer notre dignité en tant que peuple.

Vingt ans est un délai trop court ou trop long suivant la position d’où l’on se tient mais pour autant, rien ne justifie moralement les assimilations factices. Le temps qui passe ne devrait pas jeter le voile sur les faits, atténuer les responsabilités, ni transformer les victimes en méchants.

Aucun cadeau ne saurait persuader un peuple de changer son histoire. Aucun pays, même s’il arrivait à s’en convaincre lui-même, n’est assez puissant pour changer les faits. Après tout, “les faits sont têtus” comme on dit.

En conséquence, lorsque nous évoquons le rôle et la responsabilité des acteurs et institutions extérieures, c’est juste en raison du fait que la prévention du génocide exige de nous tous d’être au clair avec l’histoire, et non pour nous défausser de notre responsabilité sur les autres.

Tous les génocides commencent par une idéologie, un système de pensée qui dit: “les personnes appartenant à tel groupe sont moins que des êtres humains, ils méritent d’être exterminés”.

L’héritage le plus dévastateur de la domination européenne sur le Rwanda fut la transformation des distinctions sociales en “races”. Nous fumes classés et disséqués au point que la moindre différence était magnifiée, grossie et exagérée suivant un modèle inventé et importé d’ailleurs.

L’intention pour ce faire n’était ni scientifique ni bénin, mais idéologique: il s’agissait de légitimer la prétention coloniale de “civiliser” des populations “inférieures”, ce que nous ne sommes pas.

Cette idélogie était déjà admise en Europe au 19ème siècle, elle fut expérimentée et appliquée grâce à l’influence des missionnaires français qui s’établirent ici. Deux mille ans d’histoire du Rwanda furent réduites à l’état de caricature fondée sur des extraits de la Bible ou sur des mythes racontés aux explorateurs.

Les théories coloniales sur la société rwandaise imposèrent l’idée que l’hostilité entre des choses nommées “Hutu”, “Tutsi”, et “Twa” était permanente et nécessaire.

C’est ainsi que fut lancé ce qui deviendra le génocide des Tutsi tel que nous l’avons vu et vécu il y a 20 ans.

Avec la participation pleine et entière des autorités belges et des institutions catholiques, cette histoire inventée fut consacrée en fondement unique de l’organisation politique, comme si toute autre manière d’administrer et de développer le pays était inconcevable.

Tout cela a fini par générer la situation d’un pays au bord d’un état d’implosion génocidaire perpétuel.

Cela dit, les Africains ne se résignent plus à rester des otages passifs d’un monde qui n’attend pas grand chose d’eux. Nous écoutons et nous respectons les points de vue des autres. Mais en fin de compte, nous allons devoir prendre la responsabilité d’assumer nous-mêmes nos affaires.

Au Rwanda, nous nous fondons sur les valeurs humaines universelles, qui incluent notre culture et nos traditions, pour trouver des solutions modernes aux problèmes qui sont les nôtres.

La gestion de la diversité propre à notre société ne devrait pas donner l’impression que nous dénions la qualité unique de chaque Rwandais. Et si nous arrivions à nous forger une nouvelle identité nationale plus inclusive, en quoi cela serait-il une mauvaise chose?

Nous n’avons pas attendu de subir un génocide pour devenir un peuple meilleur. Cela n’aurait simplement pas ‎dû‎ arriver. Aucun autre pays, en Afrique ni ailleurs, ne devrait devenir “un autre Rwanda” ni même devoir mentionner ou non cette expression. Pourtant, si les choix d’un peuple ne sont pas guidés à la lumière de son histoire, le danger sera toujours là.

C’est pour cela que je dis aux Rwandais, ne nous laissons pas distraire. Notre approche est aussi radicale et sans précédent que la situation qui fut la nôtre.

Insister sur la volonté de trouver nos voies propres peut avoir un prix. Néanmoins, nous nous en tiendrons à notre ligne de conduite.

A nos amis de l’étranger, je sais que dans vos pays, vous accordez une grande importance à l’unité nationale quand elle y règne. Là où elle manque, vous travaillez pour la construire, exactement comme nous le faisons nous-mêmes.

Nous vous demandons d’aborder le Rwanda et l’Afrique avec un esprit ouvert, d’accepter que nos efforts sont menés de bonne foi pour le bien de nous tous.

Nous aimerions vous faire savoir que nous apprécions votre assistance, d’autant plus que nous pensons précisément que vous n’êtes en rien redevables à notre égard.

Le Rwanda était censé devenir un Etat failli.

Avec le regard d’aujourd’hui, il n’est pas difficile d’imaginer comment nous aurions pu finir.

Nous aurions pu devenir un protectorat permanent des Nations-Unies, sans grand espoir de retrouver un jour notre statut de nation.

Nous aurions pu laisser notre pays physiquement divisé en groupes affectés à telle ou telle zone et réputés inconciliables.

Nous aurions pu rester la proie d’une guerre civile interminable, avec un flux ininterrompu de réfugiés, nos enfants malades et sans instruction.

Mais nous n’avons pas fini comme ça. Ce sont les choix décidés par le peuple du Rwanda qui nous ont évité ces autres scénarios.

Après 1994, tout était prioritaire et notre peuple était complètement sinistré.

Nous avons cependant fait trois choix fondamentaux qui nous guident encore à ce jour.

En premier, nous avons choisi de rester ensemble.

Lorsque les réfugiés ‎sont rentrés, nous avions choisi d’être ensemble.

Lorsque nous avons libéré les prévenus pour génocide en attendant de les faire comparaître devant les juridictions “Gacaca”, nous choisissions de rester ensemble.

Lorsque nous avons adopté une nouvelle Constitution inclusive qui puisse transcender les politiques basées sur la division et renforcé les droits des femmes en tant que partenaires à part entière de la reconstruction nationale pour la première fois, ‎nous choisissions de rester ensemble.

Lorsque nous avons étendu à tous nos concitoyens l’ensemble des nouveaux avantages en matière de santé et d’éducation, nous choisissions de rester ensemble.

En second lieu, nous avons choisi de rendre compte envers nous-mêmes.

Lorsque nous décentralisons la responsabilité du pouvoir et la prise de décision vers les villes et les collines à travers l’ensemble du pays, nous rendons compte.

Lorsque nous travaillons avec des partenaires de développement pour nous assurer que leurs prestations bénéficieront à tous nos concitoyens, nous rendons compte.

Lorsque nous allouons des bourses d’étude et nommons des fonctionnaires sur base de leur mérite et sans discrimination, nous rendons compte.

Lorsque nous sanctionnons un fonctionnaire qui abuse de son pouvoir ou se compromet dans la corruption, quel que soit l’importance de son rang, nous rendons compte.

Il en résulte que notre peuple attend plus du gouvernement et il le mérite.

En troisième lieu, nous avons choisi de voir grand.

Lorsque les Rwandais ont libéré eux-mêmes leur pays, nous avions pensé grand.

Lorsque nous avons conçu “Vision 2020″ pour le Rwanda et que nous nous sommes astreints à atteindre nos objectifs de développement, nous avons pensé grand.

Lorsque nous avons décidé de faire du Rwanda un pays attrayant pour les entreprises, nous avons pensé grand.

Lorsque nous avons investi dans un réseau internet à haut débit capable d’atteindre tous les 30 districts de notre pays, nous avons pensé grand.

Lorsque nous sommes devenus un pays qui participe régulièrement à diverses missions de maintien de la paix des Nations Unies et de l’Unions Africaine, nous avons pensé grand.

Nous pouvons faire des erreurs comme n’importe quel autre pays. Quand ça nous arrive, nous en prenons note, nous apprenons et nous allons de l’avant.

Il y a beaucoup plus à faire devant nous que derrière. Les Rwandais sont prêts.

A l’occasion d’une autre commémoration du génocide il y a quelques années, j’avais rencontré un jeune homme qui avait survécu avec douze autres dans une fosse commune contenant près de 3000 d’où ils furent retirés du côté de Murambi.

Il vivait encore tout près de là, complètement esseulé. Quand il repéra des tueurs qu’il connaissait parmi ceux qui sortaient de prison à l’époque, il fut évidemment outré.

Quand je lui ai demandé comment il prenait tout ça, il m’a dit: ” je n’aurais pas pu le supporter à moins d’être convaincu que ces choix impossibles allaient nous conduire à quelque chose de mieux”.

Il y a vingt ans, le Rwanda n’avait plus qu’un passé et pas d’avenir.

Et pourtant, comme Fidel vient de nous le dire à l’instant, nous avons aujourd’hui quelques raisons de célébrer la vie de manière normale, alors que pour les autres, tout cela semble chose acquise depuis toujours.

Si le génocide témoigne de la stupéfiante capacité de l’être humain à soumettre ses semblables à la cruauté, les choix du Rwanda montrent ses capacités de renouveau.

A ce jour, la moitié de la population rwandaise est agée de 20 ans ou moins. Près des trois-quarts ont moins de 30 ans. Ils sont le Rwanda nouveau. De voir ces jeunes gens portant la Flamme du Souvenir dans tous les coins du pays au cours des trois derniers mois est un signe porteur d’un énorme espoir.

Si nous sommes tous rassemblés ici, c’est pour nous rappeler de ce qui s’est passé tout en nous réconfortant mutuellement.

Ce faisant, il nous faut garder en mémoire l’avenir prometteur auquel nous nous sommes résolus de parvenir.

Je vous remercie.

Speech by President Paul Kagame at the 20th Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi

Speech by President Paul Kagame at the 20th Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi

Kigali, 7 April 2014

• Excellencies Heads of State and Government;

• Excellency Secretary-General of the United Nations;

• Excellency Chairperson of the African Union Commission;

• Former Heads of State and Government;

• Distinguished Government Officials from around the world;

• Esteemed Guests;

• My Fellow Rwandans:

I don’t have enough words to express my appreciation to all our friends, who have come from near and far to be with us, on a day as important as this. I also thank all of those who have stood with us in Rwanda’s incredible journey of rebuilding.

We are gathered here to remember those who lost their lives in the Genocide and comfort those who survived.

As we pay tribute to the victims, both the living and those who have passed, we also salute the unbreakable Rwandan spirit, to which we owe the survival and renewal of our country.

To our parents, children, brothers, and sisters who survived — to Rwandans who defied the call to genocide and to those who give voice to their remorse — it is you who bear the burden of our history.

We have pursued justice and reconciliation as best we could. But it does not restore what we lost.

Time and again these past twenty years, Rwandans have given of themselves. You have stood before the community to bear witness and listened to others do the same. You have taken responsibility and you have forgiven.

Your sacrifices are a gift to the nation. They are the seed from which the new Rwanda grows. Thank you for allowing your humanity and patriotism to prevail over your grief and loss. Thank you very much.

Historical clarity is a duty of memory that we cannot escape. Behind the words “Never Again”, there is a story whose truth must be told in full, no matter how uncomfortable.

The people who planned and carried out the Genocide were Rwandans, but the history and root causes go beyond this country. This is why Rwandans continue to seek the most complete explanation possible for what happened.

We do so with humility as a nation that nearly destroyed itself. But we are nevertheless determined to recover our dignity as a people.

Twenty years is short or long depending on where you stand but there is no justification for false moral equivalence. The passage of time should not obscure the facts, lessen responsibility, or turn victims into villains.

People cannot be bribed into changing their history. And no country is powerful enough, even when they think that they are, to change the facts. After all, les faits sont têtus.

Therefore, when we speak out about the roles and responsibilities of external actors and institutions, it is because genocide prevention demands historical clarity of all of us, not because we wish to shift blame onto others.

All genocides begin with an ideology — a system of ideas that says: This group of people here, they are less than human and they deserve to be exterminated.

The most devastating legacy of European control of Rwanda was the transformation of social distinctions into so-called “races”. We were classified and dissected, and whatever differences existed were magnified according to a framework invented elsewhere.

The purpose was neither scientific nor benign, but ideological: to justify colonial claims to rule over and “civilise” supposedly “lesser” peoples. We are not.

This ideology was already in place in the 19th century, and was then entrenched by the French missionaries who settled here. Rwanda’s two thousand years of history were reduced to a series of caricatures based on Bible passages and on myths told to explorers.

The colonial theory of Rwandan society claimed that hostility between something called “Hutu”, “Tutsi”, and “Twa” was permanent and necessary.

This was the beginning of the genocide against the Tutsi, as we saw it twenty years ago.

With the full participation of Belgian officials and Catholic institutions, this invented history was made the only basis of political organisation, as if there was no other way to govern and develop society.

The result was a country perpetually on the verge of genocide.

However, Africans are no longer resigned to being hostage to the world’s low expectations. We listen to and respect the views of others. But ultimately, we have got to be responsible for ourselves.

In Rwanda, we are relying on universal human values, which include our culture and traditions, to find modern solutions to our unique challenges.

Managing the diversity in our society should not be seen as denying the uniqueness of every Rwandan. If we succeed in forging a new, more inclusive national identity, would it be a bad thing?

We did not need to experience genocide to become a better people. It simply should never have happened.

No country, in Africa or anywhere else, ever needs to become “another Rwanda”. But if a people’s choices are not informed by historical clarity, the danger is ever present.

This is why I say to Rwandans — let’s not get diverted. Our approach is as radical and unprecedented as the situation we faced.

The insistence on finding our own way sometimes comes with a price. Nonetheless, let’s stick to the course.

To our friends from abroad — I believe you value national unity in your own countries, where it exists. Where it doesn’t, you are working to build it, just as we are.

We ask that you engage Rwanda and Africa with an open mind, accepting that our efforts are carried out in good faith for the benefit of all of us.

We want you to know that we appreciate your contributions, precisely because we do not feel you owe us anything.

Rwanda was supposed to be a failed state.

Watching the news today, it is not hard to imagine how we could have ended up.

We could have become a permanent U.N. protectorate, with little hope of ever recovering our nationhood.

We could have allowed the country to be physically divided, with groups deemed incompatible assigned to different corners.

We could have been engulfed in a never-ending civil war with endless streams of refugees and our children sick and uneducated.

But we did not end up like that. What prevented these alternative scenarios was the choices of the people of Rwanda.

After 1994, everything was a priority and our people were completely broken.

But we made three fundamental choices that guide us to this day.

One — we chose to stay together.

When the refugees came home — we were choosing to be together.

When we released genocide suspects in anticipation of Gacaca — we were choosing to be together.

When we passed an inclusive constitution that transcends politics based on division and entrenched the rights of women as full partners in nation-building, for the first time — we were choosing to be together.

When we extended comprehensive new education and health benefits to all our citizens — we were choosing to be together.

Two — we chose to be accountable to ourselves.

When we decentralise power and decision-making into the towns and hills across the country — we are being accountable.

When we work with development partners to ensure that their support benefits all our citizens — we are being accountable.

When we award scholarships and appoint public servants based on merit, without discrimination — we are being accountable.

When we sanction an official, no matter how high-ranking, who abuses their power or engages in corruption — we are being accountable.

As a result, our citizens expect more from government, and they deserve it.

Three — we chose to think big.

When Rwandans liberated our country — we were thinking big.

When we created Rwanda’s Vision 2020 and committed to meeting our development goals — we were thinking big.

When we decided to make Rwanda attractive for business — we were thinking big.

When we invested in a broadband network that reaches all our 30 districts — we were thinking big.

When we became a regular contributor to United Nations and African Union peacekeeping missions — we were thinking big.

We may make mistakes, like every country does. We own up and learn and move forward.

There is more hard work ahead of us than behind us. But Rwandans are ready.

A few years ago, at a commemoration event, I met a young man who was one of the twelve people pulled alive from under 3,000 bodies in a mass grave at Murambi.

He still lived nearby, totally alone. When the perpetrators he recognised came home from prison, he was understandably terrified.

When I asked him how he managed, he told me: “I could not do it unless I was convinced that these impossible choices are leading us somewhere better.”

Twenty years ago, Rwanda had no future, only a past.

Yet as Fidel told us just now, today we have a reason to celebrate the normal moments of life that are easy for others to take for granted.

If the Genocide reveals humanity’s shocking capacity for cruelty, Rwanda’s choices show its capacity for renewal.

Today, half of all Rwandans are under 20. Nearly three-quarters are under 30. They are the new Rwanda. Seeing these young people carry the Flame of Remembrance, to all corners of the country over the last three months, gives us enormous hope.

We are all here to remember what happened and to give each other strength.

As we do so, we must also remember the future to which we have committed ourselves.

I thank you.

 

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Join the Walk to Remember from the Rwandan Parliament to Amahoro Stadium

Walk to Remember with Pres Kagame

 

National Walk to Remember

7 April 2014 | 5.45pm, Rwandan Parliament to Amahoro Stadium

 

*Important Notice: Mobile phones are not permitted at this event.

 

As part of Kwibuka20 activities in Rwanda, a Walk to Remember will be held from the Rwandan Parliament to Amahoro Stadium. The walk will be led by Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame. A number of distinguished guests will join the President along with thousands of young Rwandans.

Program

5.45pm Arrival of participants at the Parliament
Writing message on ribbons
Coordinator explains the purpose of the walk and gives directions
Arrival of special guests
Arrival of the President of the Republic of Rwanda
Beginning of the walk
Arrival at Amahoro Stadium for the Kwibuka20 Vigil

Walk to Remember around the world

The Walk to Remember was created by young Rwandans as a way to remember the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and unite to ensure genocide is never repeated, anywhere in the world.

Today Walk to Remember takes place in all corners of the globe. Hundreds of thousands of Rwandans and friends from around the world walk to stand against genocide and support survivors. The event was started in 2009 by young Rwandans to ensure the world never forgets what happened in Rwanda in 1994.

More than fifteen countries worldwide are participating in the Global Walk to Remember. The countries include Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Canada, China, India, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

In Rwanda over the next 100 days, communities will hold their own Walk to Remember events. Government, private and civil society organisations will also have their own Walk to Remember, honouring the memory of the staff who worked at their institution and were killed during the genocide.

Organise your own event

To download a How To Guide for organising your own Walk to Remember, click here. To see what events are taking place around the world and to join on near you, click here.

International community urged to bring genocide perpetrators to justice as flame arrives in Kicukiro

Flame of Remembrance at ETO KicukiroThousands of people from Kicukiro District today gathered at IPRC Kigali Stadium (formerly ETO Kicukiro) to receive the Kwibuka Flame of Remembrance. It was received from Ndera in Gasabo District to Kicukiro by two 20 year olds, Polline Gahizi and Emmanuel Tuyishime.

Mayor of Kicukiro Paul Jules Ndamage hosted today’s event, which reflected on the events of the 1994 genocide as well as the journey of unity and renewal in Kicukiro and Rwanda since.

A children’s choir from St Patrick’s and Authentic Primary School sang the Urumuri Rutazima (Never Ending Flame) song beautifully to welcome the flame.

Speaking at the event, the guest of honour, Minster of Sports and Culture Hon. Protais Mitali said that while the Flame of Remembrance Tour might be coming to a close, the message of resilience, strength and unity it delivers will never fade.

He also noted that the Flame of Remembrance was a reminder of both the talent of the people lost but also the resilience and courage of Rwandans in the years since.

Minister Mitali appealed to the international community to bring to justice those who perpetrated the genocide.

“By continuing to harbour known genocidaires and acquitting those who were apprehended, the international community and the ICTR are sending the wrong message to the rest of the world about genocide.”

“This emboldens terror organisations such as the FDLR to continue their misled agenda.”

“We appreciate and wish to continue our cordial relations with the international community at large and we strongly appeal to certain members, who refused to listen to the pleas of innocent Rwandans being slaughtered in 1994, to do the right thing this time.”

Venuste Karasira, a survivor from Niboye in Kicukiro, gave testimony about how United Nations troops abandoned Tutsi at ETO Kicukiro and how they were forced to march to Nyanza to be slaughtered.

Major General (retired) Henry Kwami Anyidoho – former UNAMIR Deputy Commander, spoke about the period immediately after the genocide, and the unique challenges it posed.

“There was nothing, no chairs, no tables. All institutions had broken down. Where were they going to start?”

He singled out the RPF however, for their composure, orderliness and assuredness in the face of this seemingly unconquerable task.

“This is why I praise the courage of the Rwandese. The only organised group at that time was the RPF. For military men to be able to surmount all the difficulties and help other Rwandans to get where they are I praise their courage and fortitude.

“My prayer is that all Rwandese will continue to live in peace and together build a strong and prosperous nation, a country in which all citizens will have equal opportunities.”

Other speakers included Lt-Col (retired) Jean Loup Denblyden, a formerly of the Belgian Military and Dominique Mukeshimana, a perpetrator, who spoke about repentance and unity.

The flame will now return to the Kigali Genocide Memorial on 7 April 2014, the start of the national mourning period and twenty years since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. His Excellency President Paul Kagame will then use it to light the Flame of Mourning.

Kwibuka Flame of Remembrance Travels to Kicukiro District

Kwibuka Flame Tour Rwanda Genocide Tutsi RemembranceThe Kwibuka Flame of Remembrance today reaches IPRC-Kigali (former ETO Kicukiro) in Kicukiro District, the 30th and last stop on its tour of Rwanda. The flame will return to the Kigali Genocide Memorial on 7 April 2014, the start of the national mourning period and twenty years since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. You can view an interactive map of the tour here.

 

Today’s event is hosted by Mayor of Kicukiro Paul Jules Ndamage and will reflect on the events of the 1994 genocide as well as the journey of unity and renewal in Kicukiro and Rwanda since. The Flame of Remembrance will be received from Gasabo District by two 20 years olds, Polline Gahizi and Emmanuel Tuyishime. A children’s choir from St Patricks and Authentic Primary School will perform the Urumuri Rutazima song to welcome the flame. The special guest is the Minister of Sports and Culture, Hon. Protais Mitali. Lt-Col (retired) Jean Loup Denblyden – former Belgian military and Maj-Gen (retired) Henry Kwami Anyidoho – former UNAMIR Deputy Commander will also speak.

Survivor of the massacres at Kicukiro, Venuste Karasira, will give testimony about how UN troops abandoned them and how they were forced to march to Nyanza ya Kicukiro to be killed. Dominic Mukeshimana, a perpetrator, will give a testimony of unity.

During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, mass killings in Kicukiro took place in Nyanza ya Kicukiro, Gikondo, Gahanga, Gatenga and Kanombe. The area is well known because of the UN withdrawal in April 1994, a symbol of Rwanda’s abandonment by the international community.

Those who were killed at Nyanza ya Kicukiro were brought from ETO Kicukiro, a UN military camp. Between 3,500-5,000 Tutsi took refuge there when the genocide started and were inside with UN peacekeepers from Belgium. Outside militia attempted to attack the camp.

On 11 April 1994, the Belgian troops left ETO Kicukiro. Young Tutsi kneeled in front of the vehicles, pleading with them to stay. But the troops shot in the air and drove away. The departure of the UNAMIR troops was done simultaneously with the entry of soldiers of the genocidal government and Interahamwe militia.

The government soldiers and militia took the Tutsi to Sonatube where the Mayor of City, Lt Col Tharcisse Renzaho, ordered that they instead be taken to Nyanza and killed from there because Sonatube was too visible as it was along the road to the airport.

In heavy rain, starved Tutsi were forced to march to Nyanza. Those too weak to march were killed on the way. When they arrived at Nyanza, the militia ensured that no Hutu were among the group, asking for them to identify themselves with their ID cards. Then the mass killing begun. The militia and solider shot and threw grenades at the Tutsi. Afterwards, they used machetes to kill the Tutsi. The next morning they attempted to finish the slaughter but were stopped by the Rwandan Patriotic Army who rescued the few who had survived the massacre.

Kicukiro District has six genocide memorials, among them Nyanza ya Kicukiro where the Tutsi who were abandoned by UN troops are buried. There are a total of approximately 11,000 victims who have been laid to rest there. At the Rebero Genocide Memorial 14,000 victims are buried with the politicians who were killed during the genocide. The closing of the week of mourning will take place at Rebero on 13 April 2014.

Kwibuka20 Flame Tour: Kicukiro Program

When: 2:00PM – 4:00PM, 5 April 2014
Where: IPRC-Kigali (Former ETO_Kicukiro) Kicukiro Ditsrict

Arrival of guests
Arrival of the Kwibuka Flame of Remembrance from Gasabo District and performance of Urumuri Rutazima 
(Never Ending Flame) by St Patricks and Authentic Primary School Children’s Choir
Master of Ceremony provides introductory remarks
Screening of the Kwibuka20 short film:‘Remember, Unite, Renew’
Welcome remarks by Hon. Protais Mitali, Minister of Sports and Culture
Testimony by Venuste Karasira, survivor from ETO Kicukiro
Music performance by Sophie Nzayisenga
Testimony of unity by Dominic Mukeshimana
Lt-Col (retired) Jean Loup Denblyden – former Belgian military
Maj-Gen (retired) Henry Kwami Anyidoho – former UNAMIR Deputy Commander
Guests invited to write Ribbons of Remembrance
Procession of the Flame of Remembrance and final performance of Urumuri Rutazima

Background Information on the Kwibuka Flame of Remembrance

The Kwibuka Flame symbolises remembrance as well as the resilience and courage of Rwandans over the past twenty years. Carried in a simple lamp, the flame will be used to light other lamps in communities around Rwanda. To mark twenty years since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, all memorial fires throughout the country will be lit from this single Kwibuka Flame.

President Paul Kagame will use the Kwibuka Flame of Remembrance to light the National Flame of Mourning. This will take place on 7 April 2014, marking the official beginning of the national mourning period to commemorate the genocide in Rwanda. The flame will also be the source for lighting candles at a vigil at Amahoro Stadium on the evening of 7 April 2014. Learn more about the Flame and its nationwide tour here.

Photos from today’s event will be available on the Kwibuka Flickr and videos will be available on the Kwibuka YouTube channel. Please direct all media enquiries to media@kwibuka.rw.

Young Rwandans discuss the Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi

Hundreds of young people gathered yesterday for the second annual National Youth Conference on the Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. The event gave attendees the chance to discuss building sustainable, peaceful and developed societies based on lessons from the past.

Young leaders presented ideas related to peace building in the country, fostering unity and their role in ensuring the memory of those lost ones is always honoured.

Held under the Kwibuka20 theme, “Remember, Unite, Renew”, those who attended said that it was their role to ensuring that atrocities such as the 1994 genocide In Rwanda are never repeated.

”The future of this country is in our hands and it is our role to ensure we stay on the bright path we are on,” said Tricia Ingabire, one of the winners of the public speaking competition.

Speaking at the event, Minister of Sports and Culture Protais Mitali said “We are commemorating but also building a bright future for this country.”

Using a world café discussion format, programs such as Ndi Umunyarwanda (I am Rwandan) were emphasised as benchmarks for ensuring atrocities such as the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi are never repeated.

“We being proud of who we are and looking back at our scars as strength for the future, is one of the ways we can ensure we Rwandans are one,” said participant Gloria Alida

The topics of fostering good governance, peace building, use of media, self-reliance and learning from history were covered at the event.

The conference was organised by Never Again Rwanda, a human rights and peace building organisation founded in response to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Quotes from the Kwibuka Flame of Remembrance Tour in Gasabo

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Hon. James Kabarebe, Minister of Defence
“Some of those who perpetrated the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi still carry that ideology. They want to finish what they started. But they will never succeed. The Rwandan Defence Force will never allow anyone near the Flame of Remembrance to put it out. It symbolises our hope as a nation, and the light we want to live in as a people. We will fight so that it always burns bright.”

 

Gaspard Kalisa (with a microphone) who rescued more than 30 families of Tutsi during the genocide
Gaspard Kalisa, rescuer
“Interahamwe came and found a man called Kayitare that we were hiding and took him. My brother and I collected money and paid them to save his life. We got him back. The others I rescued I had hidden in a big hole next to my cowshed and covered it with banana leaves. I thank God and feel proud of myself whenever I meet one of the people I hid during the genocide.”

 

Josephine Murebwayire (with a microphone) who was the lone survivor of the Petit Seminaire Ndera killings giving her testimony
Josephine Murebwayire, Genocide survivor “May the Flame of Remembrance be for us a pact that we will never betray this country, May we never take it for granted.”

Kwibuka Flame of Remembrance a guiding light for Rwanda

Photo for the children who carried the Flame and the Guest of honor (middle in glasses) Min James Kabarebe

Thousands of Gasabo district residents today gathered at Ndera to receive the Kwibuka Flame of Remembrance. It was carried from Nyarugenge district by two 20-year-olds Agnes Ishimwe and Christian Tuyisenge. The students passed the flame on to fellow 20-year-olds Afisa Tuyizere and Emmanuel Karenzi, marking the 29th stop on its nationwide tour of Rwanda.

Speaking at the event, Minister of Defence James Kabarebe said that the Flame of Remembrance is a light that will shine on Rwanda’s path for eternity. He said that that hatred and the anti-Tutsi propaganda are part of the country’s history and that they should never be forgotten.

“We lit the Flame of Remembrance because we have been through a long period of darkness. At that time, those who perpetrated the Genocide against the Tutsi had forgotten the meaning of being part of a nation.”

Minister Kabarebe said that stopping the genocide required an unrivalled patriotism and commitment to being Rwandan. “That’s the true Rwandaness we want. It was within those who stopped the genocide, and it has grown to a level where those who want to take us back will never succeed.”

“The Rwandan Defence Force will never allow anyone to go near the Flame to put it out. It symbolises our hope as a nation and the light we want to live in as a people. We will fight so that it always burns bright,” Kabarebe said.

In her testimony, Josephine Murebwayire who was the lone survivor of the Ndera Petit Seminaire massacres talked about how Tutsi were hunted down in Ndera and fled to the Minor Seminary there. Interahamwe came in with guns, machetes and grenades and started shooting and slaughtering people. “I had lost consciousness and when I woke up, it was like a nightmare. Everyone was dead, my husband and our six children were all slaughtered. I was the sole survivor. I used the little energy I had left to get to the seminary’s toilets and spent 21 days there. On 1 May 1994, the Rwandan Patriotic Front reached Ndera and rescued me.”

Gaspard Kalisa, who saved more than 30 Tutsi families, spoke about how he moved the families he was sheltering during the night because Interahamwe had suspected him. “Whenever they came to look for Tutsi at my house, they couldn’t find them.”

According to Gasabo Mayor Willy Ndayizeye, Ndera was chosen to receive the flame because of its particularity during the genocide. “The killers composed of Interahamwe militia and government soldiers went as far as to kill patients at the Mental Health hospital,” he said.

The Kwibuka Flame of Remembrance will next go to ETO Kicukiro on April 5 where it will make its 30th stop, complete its tour of Rwanda’s 30 districts. The Flame will be taken to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre at Gisozi, where President Kagame will use it to light the national Flame of Mourning. You can learn more about the Flame tour here.

Kwibuka Flame of Remembrance Travels to Gasabo District

Kwibuka Flame Tour Rwanda Genocide Tutsi RemembranceThe Kwibuka Flame of Remembrance today reaches Ndera in Gasabo District, the 29th stop on its tour of Rwanda. The flame will return to the Kigali Genocide Memorial on 7 April 2014, the start of the national mourning period and twenty years since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. You can view an interactive map of the tour here. The flame travels next to ETO Kicukiro in Gasabo District on 5 April 2014.

Today’s event is hosted by Mayor Willy Ndizeye and will reflect on the events of the 1994 genocide as well as the journey of unity and renewal in Gasabo and Rwanda since. The Flame of Remembrance will be received by two 20 years olds, Afisa Tuyizere and Emmanuel Karenzi. A children’s choir from Groupe Scolaire Ndera will sing ‘Urumuri Rutazima’ (Never Ending Flame) to welcome the flame. The special guest is the Minister of Defence, Hon. James Kabarebe. The Mayor of the City of Kigali, Fidele Ndayisaba, will also speak.

Genocide survivor Josephine Murebwayire will give testimony at today’s event. Josephine took refuge at the Ndera Hospital for Mental Health and was the only person to survive the massacres there. Gaspard Kalisa was born in 1961 in the former Rubungo Commune in Kigali. During the genocide, Gaspard saved approximately 30 families. He was awarded by IBUKA (the umbrella organisation for survivors groups in Rwanda) in recognition of what he did in 1994 and will also speak.

Gasabo District is composed of the former Kacyiru, Rubungo, Gikoro, Gikomero and Rutongo communes. Before 1994, Gasabo was a mostly rural area except for the Kacyiru commune. Many Tutsi lived in Gasabo District, most of whom were killed in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

At the Ruhanga memorial 32,257 victims are buried. A large group of Tutsi took refuge at a Protestant church there. After a brief resistance, they were attacked and killed by Interahamwe militia, backed by government soldiers. Tutsi in Jali took refuge in the Catholic Church there and were killed by soldiers from Jali Military Camp backed by militia from around the area. The remains of more than 26,000 Tutsi lie at rest there.

When the genocide started, Tutsi from Remera, Kimironko and Gacuriro fled to Kibagaba Catholic Church. They were attacked by soldiers from Kami Military Camp and were killed by grenade attacks and bullets. More than 24,000 victims of the genocide are buried in Kibagaba.

On the 7 April 1994 in Ndera, Tutsi and moderate Hutu fled to Ndera Neuropsychiatric Hospital, which was run at the time by white catholic clergy. On 11 April 1994, one thousand innocent civilians who had sought refuge at a school known as Petit Seminaire, Ndera were murdered. On the 17 April 2014 more than 20,000 people who had sought protection in the hospital were also killed.

Belgian Commandos were sent in, but they only rescued foreigners and left hundreds of Tutsi to die at the hands of soldiers and militia. Ndera stands as a reminder of the failure of the international community during the Genocide against the Tutsi. Today, more than 20,000 victims are buried at the Ndera Genocide Memorial.

Kwibuka20 Flame Tour: Gasabo Program

When: 2:00PM – 4:00PM, 3 April 2014
Where: Petit Seminaire, Ndera, Gasabo District

Welcome remarks from the Master of Ceremony Theoneste Mbanda
Children’s Choir from Groupe Scolaire Ndera singing Urumuri Rutazima
Screening of the Kwibuka20 short film, Remember, Unite, Renew
Testimony from genocide survivor Josephine Murebwayire
Song performance by Justin Nsengimana
Testimony of unity from Gaspard Kalisa
Guests invited to write Ribbons of Remembrance
Introduction by the Mayor of the City of Kigali Fidele Ndayisaba
Remarks by Special Guest Hon. James Kabarebe, Minister of Defence
Final performance of Urumuri Rutazima

Background Information on the Kwibuka Flame of Remembrance

The Kwibuka Flame symbolises remembrance as well as the resilience and courage of Rwandans over the past twenty years. Carried in a simple lamp, the flame will be used to light other lamps in communities around Rwanda. To mark twenty years since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, all memorial fires throughout the country will be lit from this single Kwibuka Flame.

President Paul Kagame will use the Kwibuka Flame of Remembrance to light the National Flame of Mourning. This will take place on 7 April 2014, marking the official beginning of the national mourning period to commemorate the genocide in Rwanda. The flame will also be the source for lighting candles at a vigil at Amahoro Stadium on the evening of 7 April 2014. Learn more about the Flame and its nationwide tour here.

Photos from today’s event will be available on the Kwibuka Flickr and videos will be available on the Kwibuka YouTube channel. Please direct all media enquiries to media@kwibuka.rw.

La Flamme du souvenir Kwibuka dans le District de Gasabo

Kwibuka Flame Tour Rwanda Genocide Tutsi RemembranceLa flamme du souvenir sera aujourd’hui à Ndera dans le District de Gasabo , 29eme arrêt sur sa tournée du Rwanda. La flamme sera de retour à Kigali le 7 Avril 2014, le début de la période de deuil national vingt ans depuis le génocide de 1994 contre les Tutsis au Rwanda. Vous pouvez voir une carte interactive de la tournée ici. La flamme sera à ETO Kicukiro le 5 Avril 2014.

L’événement d’aujourd’hui sera accueilli par le maire Willy Ndizeye et portera sur les événements du génocide de 1994, ainsi que le chemin vers l’unité et le renouveau de Gasabo et du Rwanda depuis. La flamme du Souvenir sera reçue au District de Gasabo par Afisa Tuyizere et Emmanuel Karenzi, deux jeunes étudiants de 20 ans. Un chœur d’enfants du Groupe Scolaire de Ndera chantera Urumuri Rutazima » (La flamme qui ne s’éteint pas) pour accueillir la flamme. L’invité spécial est l’honorable, Ministre de la Défense James Kabarebe. Le Maire de la Ville de Kigali, Fidèle Ndayisaba, prendra également la parole.

Joséphine Murebwayire, une rescapée du Génocide va témoignera. Joséphine s’étais refugier à l’hôpital psychiatrique de Ndera. Elle est la seule rescapée des massacres qui y ont eu lieu. Gaspard Kalisa, née en 1961 dans ce qui s’appelé alors la commune de Rubungo dans Kigali. Pendant le Génocide, il a sauvé autour de 30 familles. Il a reçu le prix d’IBUKA (l’organisation faîtière pour les rescapes du Génocide) en reconnaissance de ces actes en 1994.

Le District de Gasabo est composée des anciennes communes de Kacyiru, Rubungo, Gikoro, Gikomero et Rutongo. Avant 1994, Gasabo était principalement rural à l’exception de la commune de Kacyiru. Beaucoup de Tutsi vivait à Gasabo dont beaucoup sont mort durant le Génocide contre les tutsi de 1994.

Parmi les sites mémoriaux se trouve Ruhanga, où 32.257 victimes sont enterrées. Un grand nombre de tutsi avait convergé dans une église protestante de Ruhanga espérant y trouver refuge. Malgré une bref et vaine résistance, ils furent attaquer et tué par les milices Interahamwe avec l’aide des soldats des FAR. Les restes de plus de 26.000 Tutsi y sont enterrés.

A Kibagabaga, plus de 24.000 victimes du Génocide y sont enterrées. Au début du Génocide, les Tutsi de Remera, Kimironko et Gacuriro se sont refugiés dans l’église Catholique de Kibagabag. Ils se sont fait attaqué par les soldats du Camp militaire Kami et ont été tué à la grenade et a la mitrailleuse.

Le 7 Avril 1994 à Ndera, les Tutsi et les Hutu modérées ont fuient vers l’hôpital neuropsychiatrique de Ndera qui étais dirigé par des membres du clergé blanc. Le 11 Avril 1994, Mille civiles innocent qui s’étaient refugiés au Petit Séminaire de Ndera sont tués. Des commandos Belges seront envoyés, mais ils ne sauveront que les étrangers en laissant des milliers de Tutsi entre les mains des soldats et Interahamwe.

Ndera est aujourd’hui temple typique de l’échec de la communauté internationale pendant le Génocide contre les Tutsi. Aujourd’hui, plus de 20.000 victimes sont enterrée au mémorial du Génocide de Ndera.

Tournée de la flamme Kwibuka20 : Programme de Gasabo

Heure: 2:00-16:00, le 3 Avril 2014
Lieu: Petit Séminaire, District de Gasabo

Allocution de bienvenue du maître de cérémonie Theoneste Mbanda
Chœur des enfants du Groupe Scolaire de Ndera chanter Urumuri Rutazima
Projection du court métrage Kwibuka20, souvenir, Unite, Renew
Témoignage de la rescapée du Génocide, Josephine Murebwayire
La prestation d’une chanson par Justin Nsengimana
Témoignage de Gaspard Kalisa
Signature des Rubans du Souvenir
Introduction par le maire de la Ville de Kigali Fidèle Ndayisaba
Allocution de l’invité d’honneur ; Hon James Kabarebe, Ministre de la Defence.
Performance de fermeture de Urumuri Rutazima

Renseignements sur la Flamme du Souvenir

La flamme symbolise le souvenir ainsi que la résilience et le courage des Rwandais au cours des vingt dernières années. Portée dans une simple lampe, elle est utilisée pour allumer d’autres lampes dans les communautés à travers tout le Rwanda. Pour marquer vingt ans depuis le Génocide de 1994 contre les Tutsis au Rwanda, tous les feux commémoratifs à travers le pays seront allumés à partir de cette seule flamme du souvenir.

Le président Paul Kagame se servira de la Flamme du Souvenir pour allumer la flamme de deuil national. Ceci aura lieu le 7 Avril 2014, marquant le début officiel de la période de deuil national pour commémorer le Génocide au Rwanda. La flamme servira également de source pour allumer des bougies à une veillée au stade Amahoro dans la soirée du 7 Avril 2014. Vous pourrait en savoir plus sur la flamme et sa tournée nationale ici.

Des photos de l’événement d’aujourd’hui seront disponibles sur le Kwibuka Flickr. Des vidéos seront disponibles sur YouTube Kwibuka. Veuillez diriger toutes les demandes médias à media@kwibuka.rw.