Rwanda: “Genocide” Not a Fabrication!

Posted: December 29, 2010 in Genocide Denial
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By Alloys Mutabingwa,

Deputy Secretary General, East African Community.

The genocide committed against Tutsis in Rwanda was planned and systematically executed. The genocide plan was known especially to those whose troops were deployed in Rwanda for the futile peacekeeping mission. It was known by the international media, the humanitarian NGOs but to mention a few. But for sometime, they continued to describe the genocide as a civil war between polarized ethnic groups. They disregarded and misreported the fact that the killings were state orchestrated, systematic and targeted at defenceless ethnic Tutsis. This misreporting was deliberately maintained until much later since none of them had the audacity to describe it as genocide!

Experience has shown that the responsibility to protect innocent souls during tough times shall remain a mere slogan unless mechanisms are put in place for ensuring that civilians are protected. Mechanisms that should counter the indifference, the misreporting, the distorting or down-playing of facts about genocide. The lack of a mechanism was evident on peacekeepers, reporters and humanitarian missions present in Rwanda at the time. What was mostly reported was clearly a conduct of what is described as negationism!

The consequences of lacking a preventive mechanism have gone beyond loss of one million people in just 100 days. It put states into head-on collision as the genocidal forces gets support for continuing the genocide unfinished. The absence of a clear mechanism embarrassed and discredited the entire community of nations. As for Rwanda the path to unity and reconciliation, coupled with justice and healing the genocide wounds has remained a national ordeal!

Genocide happens due to bad leadership. The people of Rwanda were polarized and used by political manipulators and terrorists who were entrusted with power, to the extent of bringing the country to its knees by the 1994 genocide, and the consequent regional instability.

As  a reverse move from the dead to the living, the country is on a steady path to national unity, reconciliation, justice, social and political order. The efforts made are registering tremendous results. For example, the perpetrators are repenting and undergoing rehabilitation, the genocide victims are forgiving. The sick and the poor are helped out. Access to education is unlimited. The state machinery guarantees social justice and rule of law. The people are empowered and protected, these are just to mention a few success pointers.

The steady path to national recovery and development has put Rwanda on a world record as a fast reforming and growing economy. The country’s vision is to become a middle income economy by the Year 2020.

Given the 1994 experience, the people of Rwanda do not need much to understand the type of leadership they need, they already have the right leadership at their hour of need.

We re-iterate the need for collective responsibility to protect innocent lives. We come together every year, to condemn in strongest terms all those who took no action when they were expected to protect the innocent people. Those  who instead breached people’s trust and acted in total betrayal. Those who incited and commanded the genocide. Those who plunged the nation into a genocide. We condemn even those who could have taken action but remained inactive and insensitive!

It is shame to keep repeating the slogan NEVER AGAIN even when it has just happened again! It is important to understand signs of an imminent genocide. It is more important for all States to act together to prevent it and protect the people whenever clear signs are out ! They must act in concert when warning signs of genocide are very clear!

It is painful to note that to-date, as we commemorate for the 16th time the genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda such highest ranking suspects like Felician Kabuga and many others are still on the run and given custody here and there. Some of them, supported by greedy and mediocre politicians are pursuing a contemptuous agenda to re-open the wounds of genocide! They want to see Rwanda going back to genocide. They are busy tormenting genocide victims by their negationistic and contemptuous speeches. This is happening, even when about 30% of the victims are still living with trauma! Others want such heinous criminal conduct to be blessed as formidable political activism!

Is it wrong to say NEVER AGAIN to such dangerous people before they cause another genocide? What does is it take to understand that a person is inciting the public to commit genocide or other crimes? Hitler did it! Then we saw these others doing it in Rwanda in a very organized and efficient manner!

The problem is that we are taking important lessons. Some of us want to quickly forget and move on. By advising that we forget, another genocide can be organized or re-organized. Double standards, hypocrisy and self-serving manipulations can find ground. We are saying no, we shall walk the path of life, peace and harmony. We shall find time, come together, remember our past and take lessons for the present and the future.

Whenever it happens same methods and same style is used. The only difference is where it happens, when it is in Africa, there is less attention even from fellow Africans as they find themselves aligned to the West!

The youths and women, victims of genocide committed in Rwanda are still suffering, they wish to be heard. They have the most horrendous experience to share. We should be able to understand how much trauma continues to affect the day to day  life of the genocide victims to the extent of affecting their personal relationship with others.

As an effect of what they witnessed, life of survivors remains impaired. Some of them have not recovered from the trauma yet. The majority of those still in acute traumatic conditions are young people within the age of 15 to 22 years. Among them over 80% are women and girls. Healing trauma is a major national challenge to-date. Because of the trauma they live in intense fear, they can not concentrate on gainful activities, their level of rationality was seriously impaired. Others live under constant depression due to loss of hope in life. There are others who still suffer physically especially chest pains and constant headaches. Some others can not find some sleep in what is termed as insomnia, they can also be hyper-alert and sometimes they can not communicate easily. They feel helpless, vulnerable and humiliated or under constant mockery. All this adversely affects their social and economic life.

The unresolved trauma can be transmitted across generations. Trauma induced social divisions can form the basis of historical myths that become a central part of group indentity. The myth can be developed and used to brew social conflicts, violence and thus a possible cause of another genocide!

Most people think that trauma can be cured only through counselling. But unless we do more than just counselling, genocide trauma remains intact. We are called upon act together to take part in the trauma healing process. We can act together to restore hope to those victims who have lost hope of living a quality life. We should be able to identify and provide  what the victim lacks most as a result of the genocide that claimed lives of their loved ones.

There are those victims who would have gone to school but instead the genocide turned them into heads of their orphaned families at a young age! We must enable the genocide victims to carry the weight that they can afford. Once relieved of excess weight they can recover from the trauma! They need you and please kindly play your part!


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