In the last 22 years Rwanda has transformed from a war-torn country whose streets were littered with dead bodies to a beautiful nation with an impressive economic outlook and a people proud of who they are.
April 7 marks the 22nd anniversary of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. We woke up 22 years ago to some of the most gruesome scenes humanity has ever witnesses. More into this in a bit.
I was in Rwanda two years ago when they marked the 20th anniversary of the Genocide that the world wants to forget but the Rwandan people want to remind us of so neither they nor any other country have to ever go through it again. In a few articles I wrote from there titled generally as "Kigali Chronicles", I detailed the very fantastic work that the people of Rwanda have done since that dreadful episode in their country. In the last 22 years Rwanda has transformed from a war-torn country whose streets were littered with dead bodies to a beautiful nation with an impressive economic outlook and a people proud of who they are. Indeed Kigali is one city I will love to live and work in.
Back to Kwibuka 22
Kwibuka is the Kinyarwanda word for ‘remember’ and describes the global commemoration framework for Rwanda over the years as they seek to let their past strengthen them.
I was at the Kigali Genocide Memorial around this same time 2 years ago. It's a beautiful building in that lovely city. From the entrance as be enters, you may not get the faintest idea of what to expect. Yes, it's a memorial so you will think of seeing imagery of the Genocide and all that. The expectation when met with the reality will blow anyone off their feet. Such is the inherent power and spirit encapsulated in the museum.
I was in the company of Arsenal legend Tony Adams and some of my colleagues from work and none of us, including those who were visiting the memorial for the 2nd and 3rd time walked out the gates the same. The solemnity that hit us seemed to have made us all vow on our silence, "NEVER AGAIN". As I listened to tour guides some of whom had lost relatives narrate the genesis of the Genocide - and it didn't start in 1994; the grounds of this started decades before - it dawned on Mr that my beloved Ghana may not be too far from this if we do not re-think what we do in the name of securing some measly political points.
The Rwandan people define what they call the Genocide ideology as any deliberate act, committed in public whether orally, written or video means or by any other means which may show that a person is characterized by ethnic, religious, nationality or racial-based with the aim to advocate for the commission of Genocide and support it.”
Now think about it....
How many times have we not heard and seen politicians on radio, TV, and campaign platforms carelessly set up one tribe against the other? Some have proudly said that "NPP is an Akan party and they don't care about any other tribe folk except themselves", or have we not heard people say "even if you place a goat on the ticket of the NDC in the Volta Region it will win". Have we also not heard and seen some people use religion as as a tool to score political points?
These are some of the seemingly harmless things we allow people vying for political office to throw about carelessly. We allow them on our airwaves and we can't stop some because they own the dawn airwaves. One of the triggers of the 1994 Genocide was a call to action by a Hutu on radio. In our parts, our people give absolute regard to whatever they hear on radio, and it's such a powerful tool I hope we realise this. We should not allow politicians and their followers to take the peace we are enjoying for granted. It is is a big deal and let's not forget that the line between love and hate, peace and violence, a hug and a stab are all very thin indeed.
I remember vividly the look on the faces of my colleagues and Tony Adams as we went through the Genocide Memorial. You could literally hear us promise collectively with our hearts saying in unison, never again should the world allow this to happen again. Ghana should not even entertain the seeds of such sickening thoughts and carnage.