On this day, April 4, 1994, masterminds of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi knew the catastrophe that was about to befall the country in the next three days─from April 7─ just as key decision makers in some powerful nations and institutions─like the United Nations─in whose hands many Rwandans had placed their hope, knew.
Canadian Gen, Roméo Dallaire revealed, on January 11, 1994, in a cable sent to his UN superiors in New York informing them of a militia being trained to exterminate Tutsis; lists drawn and arms distributed for the same purpose – including arms caches an informant had told him about.
Dallaire requested permission to raid the warehouse and seize these arms; his request was denied.
Instead of bolstering the UN Peacekeepers, under UNAMIR to prevent what was happening, the UN, on April 21, in resolution 912 (1994) reduced the force from 2,548 to a paltry 270; handing killers their wish.
And all powerful nations with embassies in the country─including the US, France, Germany, and others knew what was happening but did nothing despite a commitment and a legal responsibility taken in 1948 to “Never Again” watch a genocide being implemented without intervention.
All that is well-known and its consequences thoroughly documented.
Since the genocide against Tutsis that happened 25 years ago cannot be undone, what every Rwandan and promoters of peace─including members of the international community should do today and in future is to ensure this crime of crimes never happens again; whether here or anywhere else.
Considering that the genocide in Rwanda took place despite the world’s commitment to Never Again in 1948, practical steps, not words, must be taken to ensure that it NEVER recurs again.
In Rwanda’s case, as we remember our loved ones who lost their lives for the 25th year, such steps should include uprooting the genocide ideology, identifying, tracking, exposing and punishing genocide deniers in accordance with the law; teaching the culture of peaceful co-existence to the younger generation; solidifying reconciliation and forgiveness, and ensuring, as the government has been doing since 1994, that survivors live in and with dignity.
And, ensuring never again also includes identifying and bringing to justice individuals who target genocide survivors for elimination or vandalizing their properties as often happens especially during the commemoration period; working to defeat FDLR and other forces that habour the genocide ideology, as well as consolidating the prevailing consensual democracy and resolving political disagreements through dialogue rather than violence.
At The Chronicles, we believe that to fully uproot the genocide ideology requires the above-highlighted approach as a counter-ideology that addresses every action, realm and sphere of life through which the ideology manifests.
That is why, we believe defeating FDLR is critical as is continued impersonal access to opportunities by all Rwandans regardless of ethnic background; continued power-sharing between political actors and addressing poverty.
And what has been achieved in the last 25 years is testimony that Rwanda can, completely defeat the genocide ideology and sustain the progress that has been achieved; including a united country with a people that have a common destiny.