July 1 marked Rwanda’s 50 years since independence, and for good measure, the day was combined with 18 years of Liberation – KWIBOHORA.
Kigali was abuzz with festivities, and appropriately, not celebration but a national dialogue on where we have been, where we are today, and where we are going.
Kwame Nkrumah warned decades ago that independence is NOT taking down one flag and replacing it with another.
To have celebrated fifty years of independence would have been the deepest cut of them all. In 1962 a sizable section of the population was in forced exile and therefore disenfranchised. It was therefore appropriate that the tone was set on Liberation rather than past years of bad governance based on a racist ideology that led to many putches and a monstrous, well ochestrated genocide in 1994 against Tutsi.
And it is hight time we refer to 1959 appropriately: a genocide. If you will, a dress rehearsal for 1994. Social Revolution it was not. That is an offensive euphemism for “the final solution.” Let’s call a spade a spade.
As I watched formations of RDF battalions put on amazing matches at AMAHORO Stadium I could not help but feel proud to be a Munyarwanda. I hope Rwanda’s enemies were watching, and paying close attention. Never again will innocent blood soak our rivers.
Yes, the Rwandan Experience has been impressive. But the work of re-building the Nation has just begun. We must be mindful of arrogance of success.
But we must not apologize for our accomplishments. Our bodies were badly bruised, lives lost, but our souls and resolve were not broken.