FabAfriq Magazine

Commemoration of the 26th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide amid the COVID 19 Pandemic

 

The commemoration of the 26th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi group which took place in 1994 is being done now.

 

How COVID 19 is affecting celebrations this year

The coronavirus has infected 105 people in the east African country, four of whom have been cured. Due the pandemic, the Rwandan government has taken very strict measures to curb the propagation of the virus. These include a complete lockdown of the country till April 19th. The national ceremony launching the whole event was very brief, unlike previous years. On April 7th, designated as the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeanette Kagame laid wreaths on the grave where more than 250.000 genocide victims were buried

 

The National Commission for the fight against the genocide also took measures to ensure this years’ anniversary does not serve as a tool to encourage the spread of the virus. It suspended the anniversary’s highlights like the Walk to Remember which normally attracts thousands of people who come to march, on April 7th, the night vigil at the national stadium, group visits to genocide memorials and the remembrance ceremony commemorating the lives of Rwandan politicians killed during the genocide. Rwandans have and will continue following commemoration events on television and social media. In his address to the nation, after lighting the flame of remembrance, President Paul Kagame said:

"But, the current unusual circumstances will not prevent us from fulfilling our obligation to commemorate this solemn anniversary, honor those we lost and console survivors. The only change is the way we commemorate."

"…The lessons of our history have united us. They teach us the value of good leadership that cares for the well-being of all citizens. We learned the importance of working together to build a better future for all Rwandans," he added.

"We'll continue to contribute to making the world a better place by sharing our story and ideas."

Important historical facts about the Rwandan Genocide

By the early 1990s, Rwanda, a small country with an overwhelmingly agricultural economy, had one of the highest population densities in Africa. About 85 percent of its population was Hutu; the rest were Tutsi, along with a small number of Twa, a Pygmy group who were the original inhabitants of Rwanda.

 

The genocide took place when ethnic tensions and power struggles between the Tutsis and the Hutus in Rwanda boiled over. The ignition began on April 6th, 1994, when a plane carrying then President Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundi’s President Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down in Kigali, leaving no survivors. The leader, like most Rwandans, was an ethnic Hutu. The Tutsi were accused of shooting down the plane, an accusation which thy denied. Extremist Hutus started killing the Tutsis and even fellow Hutus who tried to protect them. With support from the police and militias, they killed Tutsis including children and babies, wiping out whole families.

The genocide which took place for a period of 100 days, from April to June 1994, witnessed nearly one million deaths. Many measures have been taken over the 26-year period post the tragedy, to make sure it never happens again.


 

 

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