Friday, April 06, 2012
It is widely believed that about 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by in Rwanda by Hutu extremists during the 100 days of the 1994 genocide.
18 years later, the entire world in general and Rwandans in particular remain puzzled as to what caused this horrible massacre of innocent human beings. However, a large majority of all people concerned believe that the terrorist act of the downing of the civil jet carrying the two Hutu Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi respectively on 06/04/1994 by the Tutsis rebels who ceased power in Rwanda since then as a result of that act, is the sole trigger of that tragedy. Unfortunately, endless calls to have this terrorist act investigated and the culprits brought to justice have fallen into death ears.
Rwanda is a land-locked tiny country situated in central Africa, neighbouring with Uganda in the North, Tanzania in the East, Burundi in the South and DR Congo in the West. Its population comprises of 3 tribes: The Hutus (85%), Tutsis (14%) and the indigenous group of Twas (1%). From early 1600s, the Tutsis tribe exclusively ruled the country under a feudal monarchy system which oppressed others tribes until 1960s, when the Hutu majority claiming emancipation overthrew the minority Tutsi rule in a Revolution. In 1959, many Tutsis were killed when the King’s supporters attempted to silence the Hutu masses by killing their leaders. As a result, thousands of Tutsis mostly connected to the fallen king took refuge in the above mentioned neighbouring countries. From these countries, several attacks to overthrow the Hutu government were launched but failed weeks later.
After 2 decades of silence, Tutsis refugees organised themselves and formed a movement which they called ‘Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)’ whose armed wing launched a deadly attack on 01/10/1990, initiating a war between the Hutu-led government and the Tutsi rebels. Just before the events of 1994, the RPF massacred thousands of Hutus and made more than a half million more internally displaced including widows and orphans in more than 3 years of war.
When RPF took power through bloodshed in 1994, millions of Hutus sought refuge in the same neighbouring countries formally known to be the safe haven of Tutsis while the later were going home in anguish because of their relatives, beloved ones and friends who had just been massacred. In a move to create a more secure place supposedly for Tutsi survivors and returnees, the RPF government used the genocide credit to kill, jail, intimidate and suppress every Hutu they wanted, including Tutsis suspected of carrying dissent views in recent years. The country of Rwanda is ruled in unacceptable manner that keeps oppressing and suppressing fundamental rights of its citizens be it Hutus or Tutsis.
The aftermath of the 1994 genocide has placed more Rwandans in insecurity caused by the pitiless might of state apparatus. Hence, more atrocities and genocidal acts have been perpetrated by the current Tutsis-led government against the Hutu population as clearly documented by the United Nations, thousands of Hutu survivors and renowned international figures. Some of them are the massacre of about 8000 Hutus refugees in Kibeho camp (South of Rwanda) on April 21 to 23rd, 1995. From 7th of October 1996 through year 1997 tens of thousands of Hutu refugees, including pregnant women and children were massacred by the RPF which fought along the late President Laurent Desire Kabila before overthrowing President Mobutu in DR Congo. On October 23rd to 28th 1997, the Tutsis army killed again 8000 unarmed Hutu civilians in commune Kanama, west Rwanda.
On this occasion, let Rwandans who love peace and justice embrace one another thriving to end impunity and bloodshed in Rwanda where injustice and intrigue rule unchallenged for the past 18 years. It is important to note that all tribes of Rwanda have lost their beloved ones before, during and after the 1994 genocide. Therefore the Rwandan Tutsi-led government which denied Hutus their right to mourn and to burry in dignity their slain parents, children, spouses, relatives and friends bluntly belittles the genocide and violates fundamental human rights. Such unwise decision fuels hatred, resentment and polarization among Hutus and Tutsis. It is obvious that such regime which segregates the dead cannot reconcile the living.
No wonder why the RPF regime forbids the use the words ‘Hutus and Tutsis’ in all forms of communication in Rwanda except when referring to the 1994 genocide where all Hutus are viewed as killers and perpetrators, while Tutsis are only victims and survivors.
The re-writing of the Rwandan history which only suits the current regime as the later have recently embarked on such venture, will serve nothing good but covering up the truth and misleading the world and generations of Rwanda. A bad history that is not dealt with correctly doomed to repeat itself sometimes in future and History writes itself. RDTJ believes that what makes people hate each other is not the difference of tribe, colour of skin, height, shape of nose, language, nationality or another physical traits, but their personal beliefs when translated into action. We have all heard of, seen and met with good Hutus and bad ones, as well as good Tutsis and bad ones. There is no single tribe made of evil members and another one made of saints on planet Earth.
Every innocent person who died as a result of the Rwandan conflict whether before, during or after the events of April 1994 is a big loss to his/her family, his/her country and the humanity as a whole, and deserves to be mourned and remembered. However, a very careful study needs to be urgently done with the help of psychologists and health professionals in order to determine better ways to conduct such mourning without further damaging the already fragile minds of the bereaved, the survivors and sympathetic mourners. It has been observed that trauma, anger and resentment get revived during this period when one needed rather to heal.
Like Martin Luther King said many years ago, we also have a dream that one day soon, Rwandans will no more judge one another according to his/her face, height, shape of the nose, place of origin, political affiliation or what his/her ancestors, parents, relatives or friends did in the past, but according to the content of his/her character. We have a dream that one day soon, children of Hutus, of Tutsis and of Twas will sit together at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood, and share their good and sad memories without fear of being harassed, arrested, killed or victimised. Let peace and freedom ring in the mountains, hills and valleys of Rwanda, let peace and freedom ring in the cities and villages, let peace and freedom ring in the homes of Rwandans.
Only truth and love will set us free!
RDTJ Vice Chairman