KWIBUKA 21 AT ULK GISENYI CAMPUS
Tim O’Brien was right when he, through his book entitled the things they carried, said “But the thing about remembering is that you don’t forget.” It is in the same perspective that ULK Gisenyi community in conjunction with the association of students who survived the genocide, AERG organized again a walk to remember from the campus of the aforementioned university to the notoriously known place, “Commune Rouge” loosely translated as “red district”. The place is known for having been a hub of killings during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. A big number of Tutsis were led to that place not to be protected but to be hacked to death. The walk to remember had attracted people from all walks of life who had come to join hands with ULK Gisenyi Campus. The event took place on 24th May, 2015.
Some of the participants worth recalling include, Kaduhoze Marie Jeanne, the acting mayor of Rubavu District, Ntagengwa Vital, CNLG representative, Dr. Munyamasoko Cyeze Emmanuel, DVC Academics, Karara Alexis, DVC Administration and Finance, Kabanda Innocent, Ibuka president in Rubavu District, Mugisha François, Officer in charge of Sports and Culture in Rubavu District, Army and police representatives, ULK staff and students, to mention but a few.
Upon reaching Commune Rouge which is currently a memorial site, Dr Munyamasoko Cyeze Emmanuel led participants in a word of prayer, then different dignitaries laid wreaths of flowers on the graves to pay tributes to those killed. Thereafter participants were all allowed to visit the inner part of the memorial site where numerous coffins and victims’ photos are displayed. This was in the framework of getting the truth on what really happened in 1994.
However, one cannot talk about activities held at the above mentioned memorial site without mentioning the emotional testimony by an old man known as Antoine who shared his ordeal with those at the memorial site. As he said, killers attempted to kill him several times but by the grace of the Lord he escaped narrowly towards Congo. His emotional testimony saw many shed tears uncontrollably, while others looked on in awe.
Given the fact that different dignitaries were to hold speeches, the procession went back to the university campus for this purpose. Upon reaching the campus, different artists and poets warmed the area and then the floor was given to different authorities to have a say.
Speaking at the function, Mr Bayingana Ismael, AGEULK President expressed his satisfaction to the organizers of the event and told participants that though the country was destroyed, young people are ready to rebuild it. “The country was destroyed but there is a glimmer of hope that we as young people can reshape its lost beautiful image to ensure that all naysayers are thoroughly defeated”, he proudly said.
In the same perspective, AERG Coordinator on the national level, Mr Mirindi Jean de Dieu expressed his hope and said that the future of Rwanda is promising. “The sun has risen; we’re no longer in somber times. There is hope that our children will live in a genocide free country’, he was quoted saying.
Given the floor, Mr Uwitonze Gilbert, GEARG Representative in Rubavu District, warned students especially those who survived genocide not to be defined by unbecoming manners but to strive for being people whose deeds are admirable. “If you’re to rebuild the nation, you should utilize your time well and dedicate most of it on your lessons instead of engaging in nonsense issues like drug abuse, promiscuity and the like.
This will help you to discover the best ways to achieve your desired ambitions”, he briefed them.
As Kabanda Innocent, Ibuka Representative in Rubavu District, put it, life was in complete disarray when genocide took place. No sector of the government was performing well. They were all in a shambolic situation. “When genocide against the Tutsi was taking place, all sectors of the government like justice, education, health, leadership, etc. were in tatters as no clear government was in place”, he told participants before requesting them to strive for good governance, the only key to sustainable development.
Being head host, Dr Munyamasoko Cyeze Emamanuel, had to address participants. In his remarks, he expressed his gratitude to the then RPF troops for their bravery in initiating the liberation struggle which put an end to the genocide. He also requested participants to follow in the footsteps of H.E Paul Kagame, the president of the Republic of Rwanda, who always strives for what can make Rwandans live decent lives. “RPF troops deserve sincere gratitude for having initiated the liberation struggle which led to the end of the genocide”, he proudly said. He went on to say, “You should all do everything in your power to emulate the example of H.E Paul Kagame who always aims at what can better transform lives of Rwandans”.
Addressing participants, CNLG representative, Mr Ntagengwa Vital, said that genocide is merely caused by avidity whereby some people do not wish to share with their compatriots the fruits the country has to provide for all its citizens. He also requested academicians to write on the genocide so as to better discourage genocide deniers and revisionists.
The last speech of the day was held by the acting mayor of Rubavu District, Kaduhoze Marie Jeanne, guest of honor, who requested young people to be of good manners. “As we remember our beloved relatives and friends who were brutally killed during the genocide, I would like to request you to remember and make sure you are defined by ethical values, she told them. “ The kind of youth we need are those ones who, against all odds, vow to be vanguards of positive change. Those who protect the country and uplift it economically as H.E Paul Kagame does”, she added.
The function climaxed in the prayer led by Mr Karara Alexis, DVC Administration and Finance.