Saturday, 5 April 2014

Rwanda: 20 Years On

Picture: The Observer

The 6th April 1994 will be a date forever etched in the memory of every Rwandan. This is the day the President Juvenal Habyarimana was assainated and it resulted in up to 1 milion people dying in just 100 days of violence.

I was aware of this event, but heard two nuns speak of a trip to Rwanda in the mid 2000's, 10 years after the genocide. As part of this, there was a showing of the film Shooting Dogs:

This helped me understand what an abolsute tragedy happened during that short time. Around 20% of the country's total population was killed and 70% of the Tutsi. Estiamte suggest that an average of six people were killed every minute of every hour of every day, while the international community failed to intervene. The UN faced harsh criticism for failing to act.

As the sign at the memorial says, 'Never Again'. The ethnic cleansing by Hutus was classed widely as a genocide, the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular nation or ethnic group. However too often history does and has repeated itself.

I urge you to watch Shooting Dogs; it's powerful and stays with you. Also remember those who died, and those who work around the world to ensure it doesn't happen again.

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