by Joakim Larsen
It has been 22 years since the Rwandan Genocide began on April 7 1994. These days the annual week of commemoration is taking place under the motto:
Remember - Unite - Renew
The people of Rwanda do everything to ensure that they never forget what happened. All around the country flowers are lain on individual graves, on mass graves, and on other places of commemoration and numerous official and educational events are held. Flags are on half. All shops, restaurants and offices close at four in the afternoon - and open again at seven. Cinemas and nightclubs are closed, and bars do not play music. It is time for reflection...
The anniversary marks the killing of an estimated 1.000.000 people in a full-blown civil war which led to a human massacre, an ethnic cleansing, and in its wake other atrocities like the rape of 150.000 - 250.000 women.
Coming from two ethnic groups, the Tutsi and the Hutu are the big clans of Rwanda. Despite being much smaller in number, the Tutsi minority traditionally occupied a higher position in the social system. Still the Hutu and Tutsi are similar; they have shared language and culture for centuries and people from one group could be included in the other.
The division between the Tutsi and the Hutu, however was exacerbated by the Belgian colonial supremacy: registration based on ethnicity was forced upon the people. Furthermore the ethnic segregation was reinforced by the Belgian favorisation of the Hutu majority during the colonial occupation. This started before the great wave of decolonisation in the 1950’s and prior to Rwanda gaining national independence in 1962, where the Hutu gained the political power in parliament.
Anti-Tutsi rhetoric was followed by preliminary attacks on Tutsi in the early 1990’s. And in April 1994, the initial incitement, to kill the “Tutsi cockroach”, marked the beginning of the explosion of bloodshed and the systematic killing, which was orchestrated and animated by Hutu members of the presidential guard, Hutu militiamen and the paramilitary police. The killings would sweep fiercely and mercilessly across the country during the following three months.
Making out around 14% of the 7.000.000 people in 1994 (equaling around 980.000 people) the majority of the Tutsi were killed.
The Rwanda Genocide is considered the worst genocide since World War II. It is an event which has left the country and its people forever deeply scarred...
Photos from the
FUNDRAISING & COMMEMORATION AT SERENA HOTEL
Photos from the annual
WALK TO REMEMBER
with 25.000 participants
Outside the parliament building the
CAMPAIGN AGAINST GENOCIDE MONUMENT
Vision - Protection - Resilience
"We honour the brave sons and daughters of the Rwanda Patriotic Front whose fight against injustice liberated Rwanda and ended the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Your sacrifice is the seed from which our dignified nation grows."
Sharing is happiness...