Today, I continue my 100 day series remembering the twentieth anniversary of Rwandan genocide. Please join me in prayer for those lives lost and impacted in this tragedy. #NeverAgain. LMH
When I saw the photo in this tweet from “EGAM” – the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement — it took my breath away. In the photo, you see members of this French activist group standing outside the Murambi Genocide Memorial Centre. The tour guide pictured with them is the same young gentleman who so compellingly shared his story with our CRS group when we visited Murambi. While I wouldn’t say I “know” him, his face is familiar to me — he has appeared in some of the nightmares that have haunted me since I visited that place. The sight of the photo brought back many emotions and a reminder about why I am so convicted to study and pray about the Rwandan genocide for this 100 day period.
You can read the backstory of the group’s visit to Murambi here, on the New Times website. I was struck by the following comments, made by Benjamin Abtan, the founder of EGAM and has been President of EGAM:
“For the past 20 years, there has been a regrettable silence on the fact that some individuals collaborated with the genocidal government before, during and after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi,” he said.
“What is important for us, the people of France, is to make sure that these individuals answer for their acts before the public, and why not before justice.”
He added: “We also need to know exactly what happened and the individuals who were involved as a way of unlocking everything that played a part in the planning and execution of the Genocide.”
Abtan said their visit to Murambi memorial is an expression of their will to keep honouring the memories of the thousands of individuals who were brutally murdered during the 100-day genocide and ‘an attempt to rebuild what was destroyed’ by pushing for truth.
“It is important for us French citizens to have a relationship with Rwandans, which is based on truth rather than denial and indifference,” he said.
He said the youth will continue to push for the truth about the role of France and individual responsibilities in the Genocide to be known without any further delay, noting that 20 years of wait are long enough.
“We want truth now so we can be able to restore the dignity of those who were murdered,” he said, noting that he has faith their efforts will pay off.
To follow EGAM in Rwanda, visit their Storify page here. It gives me great hope that these young men and women will return home from their visit to Rwanda more fully engaged than ever before in fighting racism in our world. Let’s pray together for their safe journey and for their continued commitment to seeking truth, dignity and peace.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.