Rwanda Observes the 21st Anniversary of the 1994 Genocide

Posted: April 6, 2015
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April 7th marks the international day of remembrance for Rwanda. On this day, Rwanda, the United Nations and a number of other institutions and communities around the world will observe the 21st anniversary of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Many around the world will pause to remember the more than a million people who were murdered in just 100 days.

At the larger ceremonies such as that at the UN, dignitaries and country representatives will talk about how atrocious the genocide was, how astonishing the speed of the killings were and of course how more could and should have been done to prevent it.

Yes, the fact of the matter is that more should and could have been done to prevent the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. That is why it is often referred to by many as the “preventable genocide”, emphasizing the many warnings which existed before the genocide began as well as the capacity which the international community possessed to prevent it.

In the end however, we know there was simply no political will to prevent it. And that is the reality that the few who survived must learn to live with. That not only did their own government completely fail them by planning and orchestrating the genocide, that not only were they betrayed by their neighbors who willingly picked up machetes and systematically murdered their families, but that they were also essentially abandoned by the world at large.

As we remember the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, it is critical always to ask and revisit why it is the world stood by as over million men, women and children were barbarically murdered in the daylight simply because of their Tutsi ethnicity. And we must recommit ourselves to doing more to heed the warnings of other potential genocides.

It important to remember that even today, many religious and ethnic groups around the world live under various discriminatory policies and are constantly under the threat of extermination simply because of who they are or what they believe. The ideology of genocide remains alive and well, and extremism is on the rise as we constantly hear or read in our daily news.

In the end then, it is imperative that we engage in active remembrance, by working harder to fight extremism, hate, and all forms of bigotry and by seeking to create a culture and a world in which the basic rights of all people are respected.

Category: News

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