This conference is one of the main activities that are held annually by Rwanda We Want organization. This conference’s theme is: “THE ROLE OF YOUNG LEADERS IN REBUILDING A POST-GENOCIDE NATION AND DEALING WITH ITS CONSEQUENCES”. But how do you deal with consequences of something you don’t know let alone understand?
The moderator began by asking how the 1994 genocide against Tutsis came to happen; a question that unlocks the path to the understanding of this tragedy with the destination to dealing with the consequences.
Madam Assoumpta MUGIRANEZA who is a historian explained that long-term preparations; genocide ideology and trainings increased the odds of the 1994 genocide against Tutsis to happen, and “Qui vole un oeuf, vole un boeuf.” She added, by acknowledging that with all her expertise in psychology and history, it’s very difficult to kill the first person but once you’ve done it, you become accustomed to it and it becomes a simple thing.
At this time, our minds were mesmerized by the grandiosity of these words, but still we needed to understand a little more about the genocide ideology. Dr. Eric Ndushabandi (researcher & political scientist) Director of I.R.D.P took over shortly, and he was going to walk us through the development and the nurturing of the GENOCIDE IDEOLOGY. The following are the factors used to develop a genocide ideology;
- KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEFS: He explained that the developer (in our case; the officials of Rwandan government from 1959-1994) selects what people should know and believe in. This is done with the help of the education system and religious institutions.
- FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS: Then they interfere with one’s emotions and feelings. In this case the best tools are media, songs and plays.
- MORAL VALUES: They ensure that the ordinary moral values give way to new ones which will help them achieve their goals. (In our case, indangagaciro) This interferes with one’s judgment, for our moral values influence our judgement.
- ACTIONS: They start to put it in actions i.e. in Rwanda they started using the ID cards with tribe tags
- SOCIAL PHASIS: Here they now divide people into groups or tribes and take one of the groups as a scapegoat.
“With all that put in place, some factors are considered in selecting this scapegoat.” He continued;
- HISTORY: They use history to victimize the scape goat
- BAD GOVERNANCE: Injustice and biasness kick in.
- EXTREME POVERTY: This is used to warn other groups that their miseries are being caused by the scapegoat.
- DEHUMANIZATION: They tell the other groups that the scapegoat is not human, and that killing them will not be wrong.
With this enlightenment, everyone was now having a glimpse of what happened and how it came to happen, but still people were not satisfied and a question of concern came up asking if the youth who were born after the 1994 genocide against Tutsis are concerned at all.
“Yes, indeed!” Dr. Darius Gishoma (Psychologist & senior lecturer at the University of Rwanda) declared. He explained that even though those youngsters were not even born yet, but they do live in that genocide’s consequences, and that in rebuilding this nation they will have to tackle those consequences first.
The representative of CNLG Mr. Faustin MAFEZA expressed his gratitude towards Rwanda We Want organization. He explained that bad governance played the main role for the 1994 genocide against Tutsis to happen. He also added that the government would have not succeeded without the help of the youth. Conclusively, he urged the youth to strive to become great leaders of tomorrow, for they now have a good government which unites all Rwandans.
Among the questions that were asked this one shattered the hall: “If I got transfused with blood from a Hutu/Tutsi won’t I become one?” which was answered by Madam Assoumpta MUGIRANEZA saying that blood is of the same color whether you are white or black.
Unfortunately, time impeded the inertia of the pleasantness of the conference.
So many unanswered questions in the minds of this generation, it was crystal clear that a conference of 2-4 hours will never be enough to tackle all the questions running in the minds of this generation. If those were the uttered ones, how are the ones lying deeply in their hearts…?