This Thursday, April 7th 2022, Rwanda opened the commemoration activities during a ceremony at Kigali Genocide memorial, remembering over a million that perished during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Similar events were held at different sites across the country – but they have been a bit restricted as a control measure to the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. The country has been holding low-key memorials since the outbreak of the pandemic.
President Paul Kagame accompanied by the First Lady officiated the ceremony at Kigali Genocide memorial. Attended by various dignitaries, they laid wreaths at the mass graves the President Kagame lit the Flame of Hope which symbolizes the courage of Rwandans in post-genocide reconstruction.
In his speech, the president underlined that during this period, “It is a moment when people are speechless. Not lacking freedom to speak, as some people would want to refer to us, as a country that has no freedom to speak.”
He stressed that, Rwandans choose a different path after the genocide against the Tutsi, not of revenge but forgiveness, unity and justice.
“We are a small country, but we are big on justice. And some of those are big and powerful countries, but they are very small on justice. They have no lessons to teach anyone, because they are part of this history that saw over a million of our people perish. They are the cause. Rwandans just executed, killed their fellow Rwandans. But the history of that originated where we all know, it originated from that.” He said.
President Kagame stressed that Rwandans are people of value and dignity and whoever wants to underestimate them must know that no life is worth more than that of Rwandans.
He stressed that, irrespective of what happened and those who continue to undermine the efforts of Rwandans, the most important thing is these very hard, bad lessons should never be wasted. In the last 28 years, every year that passes makes us stronger and better people. And for being who we want to be, we shall be the ones to decide, not anybody deciding for us what and how to be.
This year there are some activities that will not be undertaken because of Covid-19 pandemic like the ‘Walk to Remember’ and night vigil that is usually held Amahoro national stadium.