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Lest We Forget: Remembering the Rwandan Genocide

Sometimes in April 

When it hits April, we remember; we remember because we do not want to forget and because we want to commit ourselves to the covenant "never again". It all started on April 6, 1994, when a presidential plane was shot down near Kigali. The plane crash led to the death of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and the Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira sparking ethnically targeted mass murder across Rwanda to unimaginable scale.  Orchestrated by Hutu political and military extremists and led by the Intarahamwe, an anti Tutsi militia, the genocide was to claim so many lives and a destruction of at least three quarters of Rwanda’s Tutsi population in just a hundred days. Moderate Hutus were also victims of the systematic mass killings.

For 100 days over 800,000 lives (official) were lost in the genocide in Rwanda and the country was smelling death and destruction, millions of refugees thronged roads to neighboring countries and Rwanda was on the verge of annihilation. Apart from those who lost their lives, millions of other Rwandese were affected by the genocide. The impact has been huge and is still being felt more than 2 decades on as demonstrated in various recent study findings. The Rwandan genocide affected men and women differently and indeed quite uniquely, and it is one of the most efficient and terrifying episodes of targeted ethnic violence in recent history. Rwanda still reels from the aftermath of the genocide with more bodies being discovered as late as 2013.

End of the Genocide 

The genocide came to an end when the dominant Hutu regime and the Intarahamwe militia was pushed away by the Tutsi dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) which had been fighting the Rwandan government from Uganda since 1990 when the civil war broke out. Whereas the RPF is credited for having brought the genocide to an end, it has also been accused of numerous revenge killings targeting the Hutu community. However, having secured the ‘victory’ and ended the genocide the RPF faced a long and arduous process of rebuilding a country that had been almost entirely destroyed. No doubt, Rwanda has made significant strides. Although there is still pain and loss, Rwandans have shown the world that forgiveness, healing, reconciliation and progress are possibilities even after systematic mass murder. 
Lest We Forget: Remembering the Rwandan Genocide Lest We Forget: Remembering the Rwandan Genocide Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on April 01, 2016 Rating: 5

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