Rwanda: Seek Knowledge to Challenge Genocide Deniers - Rwandan Youth Told

The Rwandan High Commissioner to India, Jacqueline Mukangira, has called upon the youth in Diaspora to be at the forefront to challenge narratives Genocide deniers who seek to mislead the world on the true events of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

These narratives are pushed by genocide suspects and their acolytes who are using the guise of freedom of expression to distort the facts on the Genocide.

Mukangira was speaking at a joint commemoration event that brought together Rwandan communities in various south Asian countries on Sunday, April 11.

The hybrid ceremony - held both virtually and physically - brought together Rwandans and friends of Rwanda from countries including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal.

"You should read, make research and listen to resource persons who know more about this Genocide", said Mukangira while urging the youth to be intellectually well equipped to be able to talk about the Genocide in their academic milieu.

That way, the envoy added; "You are denying space to the Genocide deniers who are bent to selling to credulous audience a distorted version of the Genocide history and tarnish the image of the Rwanda we have today."

At the event, Mukangira was joined by various resource persons including Diogene Bideri, author of "Rwanda, 994, La Couleur d'un genocide" loosely translated "Rwanda, 1994, the Colour of Genocide". Bideri currently serves as Principal Legal Advisor at the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide.

Also present was Genocide survivor Charles Habonimana, author of "Moi, Le Dernier Tutsi" loosely translated as "Me, The Last Tutsi".

A survivor of the Genocide, Habonimana is also the Managing Director of the Rwanda Airports Company.

According to Mukangira, the youth are called on to face and challenge the Genocide perpetrators and deniers "who are not even ashamed of peddling lies on the Genocide they committed or abetted."

Genocide was planned as early as 1957

Speaking about the preparation and execution of the Genocide plan, Bideri expounded on the decades-long planning, preparations and trials of the Genocide against the Tutsi as far back as in 1957 when the first Hutu ethnic-leaning political parties were founded by those he called 'fathers of Hutu extremism', namely Joseph Gitera and later Gregoire Kayibanda.

He counted several instances of cruel killings of Tutsi since the 1960's, forced exile in neighbouring countries and inhumane relocations from their traditional and ancestral homes to hostile and deadly tropical forests in the country like Bugesera and Rukumberi.

These areas were known to be infested with Tsetse flies, which they hoped would annihilate these Tutsi families.

I addition, he mentioned that the well planned persecutions and targeted killings of the Tutsi continued until the Genocide in 1994 when a nationwide plan of extermination was unleashed against Tutsi population, something the extremists referred to as the 'final solution'.

As a survivor of the dark history, Habonimana gave a clear view on methods and support that genocide deniers and revisionists use and benefit from in their evil enterprise to perpetuate the lies and distortions on the real history of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Habonimana was commenting on the modus operandi of the Genocide deniers and revisionists in diaspora as well as the role of the Rwandan youth to fight the vice.

Perpetrators enjoy safe haven

He reminded the audience of the numerous personalities suspected of having committed Genocide in 1994 in Rwanda and are given safe haven in some countries.

He highlighted some names of genocide apologists, some of whom like Belgian Filip Reyntjens had an active role in the thinking and implementing of the governing laws that gave room to discrimination under Habyarimana's regime.

Other examples of supporters of the genocide ideology include Judi Rever and Michela Wrong, he said.

"Twenty seven years after the Genocide, those suspected criminals have not yet been prosecuted and, worse than anything, they are allowed space to propagate their heinous thoughts and deny the Genocide they planned and executed."

Against this background, he called on the youth to utilize their social media and other publication platforms to counter the Genocide deniers by reading, writing the true story of the Genocide, and taking a step ahead in redressing the wrongs caused by those deniers.

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