As we commemorate the Genocide, we all have a role to play
This week, the country will be commencing, for the 27th time, activities to commemorate the over a million innocent lives killed in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The activities will be held in Rwanda and beyond starting from Wednesday, April 7.
During this period, we are called upon to more than ever, be close to survivors of the Genocide, because this is always their most difficult moment. They relive the horrors they went through for those 100 days.
They also remember their loved ones whose journey on this earth was mercilessly cut short by the Genocide, recall their unfulfilled aspirations and take time to reflect on whether they are doing everything possible to realise the aspirations of their loved ones.
However, most importantly – and this is a struggle they live through every day – is trying to fill the void left by their departed loved ones, which is an impossibility.
Imagine a mother who lost all her children to the Genocide against the Tutsi, now frail and continuously relying on support to live through the rigours of life, a stage of life where they would most entirely depend on their children. A girl who was orphaned as a toddler and has come of age to start her own family but does not have parents to make proud.
Examples are endless and we live with them in all our communities.
Much as we are always encouraged to remain close to the survivors at all times, this particular period is very difficult and it is important that we offer as much support as possible and grieve with them as much as possible.
Like last year, the commemoration activities are being held with the restrictions in place to fight the global pandemic, the Covid-19. These restrictions, which have been in place for over a year now, come with their challenges, especially associated with mental health.
This year is particularly problematic because, whereas last year the restrictions were fresh, a year later, they are now taking their toll on people, especially survivors of the Genocide.
It is therefore important for each and everyone to be close to these survivors within our communities. Check on them and offer any form of support you can get, whether material or moral.
Let us also play our individual role by making sure those who trivialize the Genocide against the Tutsi are not given free reign to do so, and this goes to the Rwandan communities abroad.
Wherever you are, make sure these vitreous narratives by mostly perpetrators of the Genocide on the run, are not going unchallenged.