As the Kigali Genocide Memorial hosts the launch of Kwibuka 26 – the 26th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi – the Aegis Trust urges people worldwide to #RememberWithRwanda by lighting a candle, giving a message of hope, and showing their support for the Memorial online.
In a brief ceremony this morning, attended by a limited number of national and international dignitaries, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame lit the Flame of Remembrance at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. It will burn for the next 100 days, marking the 100 days during 1994 in which a million people were murdered.
Some 250,000 victims of the genocide have their final resting-place at the Memorial. Run by the Aegis Trust on behalf of Rwanda’s National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG), it is a place of remembrance, learning and hope for Rwandans and the international community alike.
“Rwanda today is under lockdown to counter the pandemic – as are more than three billion people around the world,” says Aegis’ Executive Director, Freddy Mutanguha. “For the first time since the Genocide against the Tutsi, this means that survivors and their families cannot gather at the Kigali Genocide Memorial to remember lost loved ones.
“However, global lockdown also means that for the first time in 26 years, all of you around the World are as close to the Kigali Genocide Memorial today as Rwandans are. Because when no-one can leave their home, distance is no longer relevant. So be with us today; share this moment with us online. Light a flame of remembrance with your own candle, and share it on social media under the hashtag #RememberWithRwanda. Give a message of hope at the Kigali Genocide Memorial website, and show your support for the Memorial’s work of remembrance and peace education.”
Attending the commemoration at the Kigali Genocide Memorial this morning, Jean-Pierre Dusingizemungu, President of Ibuka – the umbrella association for survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi – commented, “As we remember our beloved ones, we know that today Coronavirus is bringing great challenges and grief to many communities around the World. So as you remember with us, you and your loved ones, your families and your communities are also in our thoughts and our hearts.”
“COVID-19 has forced us all to recognise we are more interdependent as humanity than identity-based divisions would have us believe,” says Aegis CEO Dr James Smith. “A pandemic of hate can devastate communities like a virus. As we remember with Rwanda today, let us show that, however great the distance, we will stand together.”