Today marks the beginning of the 26th genocide commemoration week in Rwanda, also known as Kwibuka 26. Kwibuka is a Kinyarwanda word which means to remember. This year’s edition sheds light on the impact of keeping digital historical records of the genocide and the role of the youth in fighting genocide denial and its ideology.
The atrocities of 1994 claimed more than one million lives within one hundred days. For the 26th time, we are paying tribute to the victims and renewing our Never Again vows.
Our commitment to the Never Again decree puts lives before anything else. In this regard, we remember and reflect without risking any more lives. Commemoration activities are observed in compliance with the directives put in place by the government to curb the spread of the virus that causes COVID- 19.
On this date, we usually converge at the premises of the parliament and participate in a demonstration dubbed Walk to Remember. This is an initiative of the Peace and Love Proclaimers (PLP), an organization formed by the youth to inject positive change into the world through unity, peace and development. Walk to Remember is usually followed by a night vigil at Amahoro stadium. This time round, we are following the testimonies and success stories of different survivors through the media while staying at home.
It is important to tell the story of the genocide accurately. The Kigali Genocide Memorial is a resourceful facility providing first hand information to researchers. In this facility, the genocide is documented and preceding events are broken down in graphics and audio-visual technology.
A couple of years ago, the Visual History Archive was launched. This high-tech platform contains more than 55,000 testimonies of survivors and witnesses. In addition, the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide has a compilation of publications, serving as a reliable source of information.
Never Again is a youth driven cause. Some of the youngsters in the forefront of the campaign were born after the genocide. Resources put at their disposal enable them to understand the historical context of the genocide. Their involvement in shaping a peaceful and prosperous future is key.
Kwibuka 26 is also a reminder that we have overcome tougher challenges before. We can’t downplay the threat of the current global pandemic but as our experiences during the darkest chapter of our history suggest, we can face formidable challenges.