More than 70 percent of Rwanda’s Tutsi and 30 percent of its Twa populations were brutally killed in just 100 days. Sexual violence was weaponized, and victims were intentionally and systemically infected with AIDS. For countless, “rape was the rule and its absence was the exception.”
The events leading up to the genocide are complex, and I’m not qualified to discuss them in depth. What I do believe is that Kwibuka should be observed by all, not just Rwandans. We should remember.
In the years and months prior to the genocide, minor and purely superficial features were used to divide neighbors and turn one against another. Political leaders used propaganda to further incite hatred and encourage ordinary citizens to carry out violence against each other.
These things happened only 25 years ago. Where are we now? Propaganda is more powerful than it once was. Political leaders continue to intentionally divide and exploit us for their own gain. Our collective memory is shorter than ever. We’re not immune to those things that preceded the Rwandan genocide, nor can we afford to forget.