This week marks 15 years since the start of the genocide in Rwanda. I have mixed feelings about posting this because there are so many pieces of wonderful culture and beauty in Rwanda that has been overshadowed by the genocide. However, I think that the 15 year mark is important to acknowledge and I still believe that not enough worldwide attention has been given to the history of this event. My opinion is that only by understanding history can we ensure that it happens "never again". I recently read the book titled, "We Wish to Inform You that Tommorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families" by Philip Gourevitch. It was a emotionally difficult read but a highly informative recount of the events before, during, and after the genocide. In the preface Gourevitch summarizes that:
"Decimation means the killing of every tenth person in a population, and in the spring and early summer of 1994 a program of massacres decimated the Republic of Rwanda. Although the killing was low tech-performed largely by machete-it was carried out at a dazzling speed: of an original population of about seven and a half million, at least eight hundred thousand people were killed in just a hundred days. Rwandans often speak of a million deaths, and they may be right. The dead of Rwanda accumulated at nearly three times the rate of Jewish dead during the Holocaust. It was the most efficient mass killing since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagaski."
Now I realize that this is not a easy subject to discuss or even think about in our fairly peaceful lives. However, I can only assume, that the genocide is very real to anyone living in or related to the country of Rwanda. I think we owe them the same respect in honoring the memorial as we give to the victims of the Holocaust. We can also learn alot from this tiny country. In my own research, so far, I am truly amazed at the steps and progress that they have made in achieving peace, restoring the country's infrastructure, and increasing education and medical care to their citizens. Obviously there is still a lot of work to be done and there are many ways that we can help. For more information click on the following links:
News article on today's Candle Lighting Memorial in Kigali:
Genocide commemoration website:
Information on the genocide memories located in Rwanda: