Throughout the course of history, several incidents have shook the very foundations of humanity and extended the limits of the evil in people.
Rwandan genocide is one such example. Lasting a hundred days and resulting in the deaths of nearly a million people, it remains one of the most horrific examples of brutality to this day.
The mass killings, which eliminated almost 20 percent of the Rwandan population, left an indelible mark upon history. Women were brutally raped and murdered, children were left homeless and hopeless, and men were butchered on the mere basis of identity.
On the 20th anniversary of the appalling event, therefore, it would be important to highlight some of the lessons that ought to be learned and see where Rwanda stands today.
Rwanda taught us, most of all, how a disunited population miraculously came together so remarkably that the possibility of any such barbarity repeating itself can be discounted entirely.
The genocide highlighted the inherent flaws in the international political structure. Shimon Koffler Fogel aptly wrote in an opinion article in The Star, “Remembrance will not change that heartbreaking reality. But remembrance — of the genocide, its victims and the international community’s collective failure to act — may change us today and in future.”
Today, Rwanda is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, with a GDP growth rate of more than 8 percent per annum, and even though a lot of Rwandans are below the poverty line, the state of education and public health is significantly better.
Rwandans are now a nation of patriotic people struggling to maintain a collective Rwandan identity rather than Tutsis and Hutus, and even though they remember the genocide very well, they refuse to be defined by it.
Let us hope that the young generation of Rwandans grows up in a place free from bigotry and hate and continue the journey to prosperity which the country is pursuing today.