It was over two decades ago that the greatest genocide in history began in Rwanda. It is the anniversary of the darkest episode of that country, and of the entire international community.
On the night of April 6, 1994, the lives of all Rwandans suddenly changed. That night, people were no longer neighbors, classmates, co-workers, shopkeepers… but friends or enemies, depending on their ethnic origin.
Being a child, in this context, meant that, suddenly, the little friend you played with in the playground or in the park became an enemy to beat or run away from. Or that the neighbors who looked after you from time to time, now wanted to kill your father, and no longer gave you protection or security.
That terrible night, after the assassination of the president, the most important words in anyone’s life became Hutu and Ututsi. Depending on which group you belonged to, that was how your story would be written for the next months and years.
In just 4 months, the conflict resulted in some 800,000 Tutsis killed at the hands of the Hutus. In addition, every possible weapon was used to attack the enemy, such as mass rape and mutilation. A clear example of extermination of a social group according to the RAE definition.
And those who did not die were the protagonists of one of the largest refugee exoduses in history to countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania or Burundi. This conflict left open wounds in all Rwandans, whether Hutu or Tutsi. The suffering and the pain of what they experienced is something that has been with them ever since.
Today, 20 years later, we join in the memory of the victims of this genocide. Because they deserve to be honored, and because we want it not to happen again.