On May 21, Rwandans will pay tribute to families that were completely wiped-out during the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.
This is part of activities of the 22nd commemoration events which started on April 7 and will conclude on July 4- liberation day when Rwanda Patriotic Rebels stopped the Genocide.
According to GAERG an organization founded by Rwandan graduates Genocide survivors, the event will start at 4PM with a walk to remember- from saint famille church to Kigali genocide memorial at Gisozi.
During the genocide thousands of Tutsi took refuge in saint famille church. The priest in charge of the church, Fr. Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, armed himself and helped Interahamwe take people from the church to be killed and many were massacred.
At Kigali Genocide Memorial site, a wreath of flowers will be laid at the burial site where 250,000 victims are laid to rest.
Several other events will be held at the memorial site including; prayers, discussions and presentations. A documentary film will also be screened depicting families wiped-out during the genocide.
Commemoration songs will also readout names of families that perished during the genocide against Tutsi which claimed a million lives.
Charles Habonimana, President of GAERG said that completely wiped out families is a proof that the Genocide was planned and systematically executed to decimate the Tutsi.
A completely wiped out family is a family whose members were entirely killed, with no survivor to continue the family line.
About 6,914 completely perished families composed of 30,618 members have been identified in 14 districts. The target is to cover all 30 districts of Rwanda.
“We remember completely wiped out families to ensure that their memories never fade away. Remembering them is our priority as we pay respect to all the families killed in the Genocide against the Tutsi. Remembering them is a pact we have with them, ” he said.
Since April 7, Rwandans across the country have been observing commemoration activities under the theme; ‘Fighting Genocide Ideology’.
Commemoration events across the country include; Descent burial of remains of Genocide victims, discussions and presentations regarding commemoration of Genocide against Tutsi, Lighting the “flame of remembrance” at all memorial sites , Providing support to genocide survivors.
Since 2009, the families are remembered under the theme, “You Will Never Be Forgotten While I Am Still Alive”.
“We are alive to commemorate and tell the story of wiped out families. The collection and preservation of this history is another sign of defeating denial. As young generations we need to act to rebuild the country and defeat denial. That is what will inspire the future generation,” Habonimana said.