The official launching of ‘KWIBUKA 20’ translated as (REMEMBER for the 20th time)will be on 7 January this year 2014 at the Kigali-based Gisozi Memorial Center, with the lighting of the torch KWIBUKA (a remembrance torch). (This could be similar to freedom torches in some countries) although the Rwandas will be strictly lighten in remembrance of the genocide against Tutsis.
At the sideline of the awaited ceremony, an international conference on Genocide will be held.
According to the Rwandan Presidency, a series of activities is scheduled to take place in order to remember one of the world’s worst massacres – Rwanda’s 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
A meeting bringing together different stakeholders like the State, Ibuka (Rwanda’s umbrella organization of Genocide survivors), media, friends of Rwanda, among others, takes place on a regular basis to best prepare for this great event, which will be celebrated both on the national and international level.
At the official opening of the 11th edition of Rwanda’s 2013 National Dialogue, President Paul Kagame highlighted that one of the Rwandan values, ‘Ndi Umunyarwanda’ (I am Rwandan), will also feature during the upcoming 20th commemoration of the Genocide against Tutsi.
According to Dr Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, head of Ibuka, puts it, the ‘Ndi Umunyarwanda’ will benefit Genocide survivors.
‘This concept is one way to do a deep reflection on our past, face off consequences of the Genocide, heal the wounds of the Genocide’, said Dr Dusingizemungu.
‘It is also a way of getting information on the Genocide and fight against it’, he added.
The torch to be lit on 7 January will interlace Rwanda’s 30 districts in three months. And the last phase will be in Kigali, on 7 April − the very beginning of the national, Genocide commemoration period.
According to Dr Dusingizemungu, ‘the youth from the districts will be involved in carrying this remembrance torch because they are the future of the country’.
At the level of each district, debates are scheduled among local residents – an opportunity to reflect upon all that happened in 1994 and what has been Rwanda’s way forward since that dark period.
This campaign will not, guess what, limit itself to the country level. All of Rwanda’s high commissions across the world will also stage similar events to mark the launching of KWIBUKA 20 or the 20th commemoration of the Genocide against Tutsi.
Dr Dusingizemungu said studies are underway to set up a guarantee fund.
‘This 20th commemoration is an opportunity for Ibuka to discuss the launching of International Trust Fund for Survivors. ICTR [International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda] is involved in meetings to help us carry out studies about this fund, to put us in contact with other funds of the kind’, Dr Dusingizemungu said.
‘Activities such as visiting and helping [Genocide] survivors and handicaps are scheduled before 7 April. Medical assistance will especially focus on homes of those who no longer have families’, he explained.
During the three-month Genocide, over a million Tutsis were brutally exterminated by former President Juvénal Habyarimana’s Genocide regime.
Tutsis suffered this unspeakable ordeal as the international community watched helplessly. There was also the United Nations’ Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR), led by Canada’s General Roméo Dallaire. This very mission even withdrew from Rwanda right in the middle of the Genocide, exposing Tutsis to an imminent risk of dying at the hands of Génocidaires.
It would be up to the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), through its military wing by then, the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA), at the time led by Major General Paul Kagame, to put an end to the Genocide with the fall of Kigali in July 1994, after a four-year period of war.
This four-year liberation war, which started on October 1, 1990, put Habyarimana’s army in disarray and, after its defeat, fled to then Zaïre (now the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC) along with its government.