October 16, 2018

“Remember – Unite – Renew” Rwanda Remembrance Day

A Walk to Remember, on the picture  H.E Jean Pierre Karabaranga leading the walk  The Hague.

By Sofie Victoria T. Hagen

Saturday April 7th marked the 24th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi. In correlation with this, the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda and its ambassador H.E Jean Pierre Karabaranga, in collaboration with the Rwandan Diaspora organization, hosted a reception at the Hilton Hotel The Hague to commemorate these atrocities.

The reception, themed “Remember – Unite – Renew” urged the participants of this important event to take a moment to remember the atrocities that took place 24 years ago, wherein more than a million innocent lives were lost. The event commenced with a walk of remembrance wherein the more than 200 participants and guests marched through the streets of The Hague, providing a fine backdrop to the following minute of silence and moving testimony by survivor Dieudonné Gakire delivered in Kinyarwanda, leaving few dry eyes amongst the attending.

The guests then participated in a ceremony wherein candles were lit, representing the ever-shining lights of the victims that perished in the tragedy, followed by a speech given by Mrs. Christine Safari, the President of Ibuka, advocating for justice for the Rwandan survivors in the Netherlands.

The closing speech was given by H.E. Jean Pierre Kabaranga himself, in which he stressed the importance of remembering the events that took place, and to not let the courage of those who had spokenbe lost on oneself, as the events still traumatize many and can still be recalled as if they occurred yesterday.

Furthermore, the Ambassador stated “We are here to be reminded that justice for the victims is one of the most important tools to fight forever genocide, for a real NEVER AGAIN, and a powerful tool in the healing process of the survivors. This is a moment to share our history. It’s an opportunity to reflect on what made the genocide happen, a time to try to understand how the unthinkable happened by confronting our past”. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of learning from these events also on an international level, ensuring no nation will have to endure the same trauma they did.

Additionally, the Ambassador voiced his appreciation for host country The Netherlands, as the country has been at the forefront of confronting the perpetrators of the genocide, ensuring the face justice. In the future, he hopes the Netherlands will also ensure the deniers of the genocide face repercussions, as this too will further the healing process of the country and its victims.

The Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in The Hague invites everyone to be part of a global community, to share the story of the genocide and create a powerful voice for the world to hear. As a new generation emerges we will ensure the lives of those lost are remembered through the actions of today.

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