News / Africa

    Rwanda Marks 20 Years Since Genocide

    Rwanda Marks 20 Years Since the Genocidei
    X
    Gabe Joselow
    April 07, 2014 9:24 PM
    In an emotional ceremony in the Rwandan capital, African leaders and foreign dignitaries paid tribute to the victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. As VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from Kigali, Rwandan President Paul Kagame also took a swipe at the international community, following a diplomatic rift with France.
    Gabe Joselow
    On the 20th anniversay of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, President Paul Kagame paid tribute to the victims and also took a swipe at the international community following a diplomatic rift with France.

    African heads of state and foreign dignitaries joined commemoration events in the Rwandan capital, beginning with a ceremony to light the National Flame of Mourning at the Kigali Genocide Memorial.

    April 7 marks the day 20 years ago when ethnic Hutu militias began a killing rampage targeting Tutsis and moderate Hutus who would not take part in the slaughter. Some 800,000 people were killed within 100 days.

    Kagame honored the victims at a memorial event at Kigali's Amahoro Stadium.

    “As we pay tribute to the victims, both the living and those who have passed, we also salute the unbreakable Rwandan spirit to which we owe the survival and renewal of our country,” he said.
    People follow the proceedings of the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Rwandan genocide, in Kigali April 7, 2014.People follow the proceedings of the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Rwandan genocide, in Kigali April 7, 2014.
    Thousands of people filled stadium seats to watch speeches, performances and a video to commemorate the anniversary.

    Shouts and wails could be heard throughout the crowd as some became overwhelmed with emotion. Handlers in the crowd helped soothe those who had become distraught.

    Current and former leaders from around the world also turned out for the occasion, but France withdrew its delegation in protest over comments from Kagame accusing France of having a role in the planning and execution of the genocide. France has long denied the claims.

    France was the Rwandan government's main Western backer before the genocide, and trained its Hutu-dominated army.
     
    • Bizimana Emmanuel, who was born two years before the genocide, is consoled by an unidentified woman while attending a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, at Amahoro stadium in Kigali, April 7, 2014.
    • Performers re-enact some of the events enter a public ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, at Amahoro stadium in Kigali, April 7, 2014.
    • Performers re-enact events at a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, at Amahoro stadium in Kigali, April 7, 2014.
    • Two wailing women, some of dozens overcome by grief at recalling the horror of the genocide, are carried away to receive help during a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, at Amahoro stadium in Kigali, April 7, 2014.
    • U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Jeannette Kagame and AU Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma participate in the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Kigali, April 7, 2014.
    • Rwandan children listen and pray during a Sunday morning service at the Saint-Famille Catholic church, the scene of many killings during the 1994 genocide, in the capital Kigali, April 6, 2014.
    • Rwandan worshippers attend the Evangelical Restoration Church, Kimisagara, one day ahead of the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Kigali, April 6, 2014.
    • Family photographs of some of those who died hang in a display in the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Kigali, April 5, 2014.

    While not directly mentioning the dispute, Kagame said Rwandans will continue to seek “concrete explanations" for the genocide.

    “People cannot be bribed or forced into changing their history and no country is powerful enough - even when they think they are - to change the facts,” Kagame said.

    The international community has been criticized for not doing enough to prevent the genocide, despite numerous warnings.

    Speaking at the memorial event, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged these shortcomings.

    “Many United Nations personnel and others showed remarkable bravery, but we could have done much more," he said. "We should have done much more.”

    Ban said the international community still has more to learn from the lessons of Rwanda, noting the failure to stop the conflicts in Central African Republic and in Syria.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Wilhelm Hesse from: Zambia
    April 26, 2014 4:12 AM
    Great article, indeed the shortcomings of the international community were also to blame for letting the violence spiral out of control. I remember very vividly as a teenager listening both to VOA and BBC radio services in 1993 about the tensions before the violence started and when the violence begun the appeals from journalists on the ground for more to be done to stop the violence. It was a terrible time, a feeling of helplessness, a lot must be done to stop this repeating itself, firstly democracy, real democracy is key to preventing hatred and vengence from festering in Africa and this is where African leaders must have the compassion within to do the right thing by governing in a transparent, tolerant way, caring for their people, with an ambition to really improve the lives of their people. Without a change in the mindset of the leaders and the people as well, we can have all the peacekeepers in the world deployed but the violence will continue. Change has to start from within.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.