The last genocide of the twentieth century began in this small country in the heart of Africa on the 7th April 1994. On the evening of April 6 1994, Juvenal Habyarimana, the President’s, aircraft was shot down. In just a few hours the city of Kigali was under the control of the Interhamwe militias who set up barrages everywhere. The hunt for political opposition leaders, or anybody looking like or with an identity card naming the person as Tutsi began. In less than one hundred days, nearly a million men, women and children were killed in the indifference of the international community. With machetes, bludgeons, firearms, grenades, drowned or burnt alive, men, women, children, old and young alike were exterminated in towns, on hills or in churches. Memory is an obligation in order to understand the mechanisms and underlying historical complicity in these events.
This crime against humanity, long planned and mostly organized under the command of the extremist “Hutu Power”, took place with the international community remaining largely indifferent in a context of hegemonic games between Western countries in the African Great Lakes region. Some of the countries involved as well as the UN have partly recognized their responsibilities in the genocide of the Tutsis. Yet, few concrete actions have been undertaken in favour of the survivors who continue to face the material and psychological consequences as well as revisionist theories or discourses trivializing the crime.
It is imperative to affirm the memory of the Tutsi genocide in order to remind humanity that despite the expression of good will, “never again”, that followed the genocide of Armenians, Gypsies and Jews, another genocide took place and we remained silent.