As we commemorate 17 years after the 1994 Rwanda genocide against the Tutsi, we ought to take stock of where we have been, and why, against great odds we as a People persvere.
In spite of the blood that was shed, through the many genocides we have endured since 1959, the crippling blows against our very essence as a people, we have refused to be bogged down by our pain and sorrow. There are lessons to be learnt from our persecution and suffering.
Yes, our bodies were bruised. Scores lost their lives. But that indomitable Rwandan spirit was not broken. And never will be.
In 1990 I witnessed an amazing resurgence of a spirit of nationalism that brought a people together to bring down a brutal regime. Young men and women who volunteered to join the RPF free a country they had never been to and knew little or nothing about. But a country that was an ideal and sentiment that defined their own very being. It is this spirit that must sustain Rwanda from here on. That is the spirit that makes us walk tall and our heads raised to the heavens.
Rwanda was liberated because our cause was just. Our hearts were in the right place. We sought to return home and re-join fellow Rwandans to re-build ONE country for ALL Rwandans. A right that had been denied millions of Rwandans for decades.
And this begs the question : what cause do our detractors now have ? What is the FDLR’s or RNC’s agenda, other than to destabilize Rwanda and take us back to the ethnic poltics of yesteryear ? Like others before them, they will be swept away and thrown into the gabbage cans of history.
Yes, mourn we must. We must remember those who needlessly perished, Hutu and Tutsi. We must resolve to never again soil Rwanda with rivers of blood. Let the memorials across Rwanda be our conscience against the politics of evil. We must resolve to ensure the return of all Rwandans of goodwill. We must, loudly and clearly assure them that if they unfold their clenched fists we will extend a friendly open handshake and welcome them home to the Land of a Thousand Hills. If we do less, history will judge us harshly.
None of us are free when one of us lives in fear or bondage. That is the mantra of the new Rwanda. The new nation basking under the African sky that says it loudly and clearly : statelessness is no condition for a civlized people.