The Rwanda national flag was on Tuesday, April 14, raised to full mast officially concluding the commemoration week honouring over a million victims of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
The commemoration events involved among others; laying wreaths on graves of genocide victims in memorial sites, marching in a “Walk To Remember” campaign created by young Rwandans.
At the peak of commemoration week, Rwandans paid tribute to politicians opposed to bad leadership, who were murdered during the genocide.
Bernard Makuza, Rwanda’s Senate President said, “If we had more good politicians like those we remembered, the genocide could have been avoided or stopped in time.”
“Bad leadership can generate bad results, whereas good leadership brings people together to achieve positive results,” Makuza said.
Rwandans in Diaspora, in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa, commemorated too.
While the country resumes normal business, commemoration continues for 100 days.
In 1994, killings had continued especially in Western Rwanda, where thousands of Tutsi were massacred under the controlled of French troops, until July 4, when the country was liberated.
This year’s commemoration was under the theme; “Fight against Genocide Denial and Revisionism.”
President Paul Kagame said that the country, 21 years after the genocide, is still confronted by genocide deniers who may never go away even during the commemoration period.
“Today, hunting down to kill is no longer easy, but is done in form of denial and denigrating survivors,” Kagame said.
During the commemoration week, Bernadette Uwizeyimana, a genocide survivor and mother of two, was severely beaten by unknown assailants and later hospitalized.
“People call me using different unknown numbers that they will kill me anytime,” she said.
Meanwhile, France, accused of a role in the events before, during and after the genocide, has promised to declassify files with evidence on the country’s involvement in the genocide between 1990 and 1995.
France’s President Francois Holland made the announcement on April 7, the day the commemoration began.
However, President Kagame said, “We will accept truth behind the release of the documents after verifying that they are not infiltrated.”
Kagame has assured Rwandans that the genocide will not happen again. “We cannot give up or let anything stand in our way. To do so would be to dishonor the lives we honor today.”