Kigali's Genocide Memorial - a monument to the courage and resilience of the Rwandan people

Kigali's Genocide Memorial - a monument to the courage and resilience of the Rwandan people

I lay down again among the dead bodies. It was three days after the killings, so the bodies stank. The militia would pass by without entering the room, and dogs would come to eat the bodies. I lived there for 43 days. . . Valentine, Tutsi survivor of the Rwanda genocide

 

The history of pre and post colonial politics in Rwanda is complex and tortuous and ultimately led to a devastating genocide in which over a million people died. There have been several genocide attempts between the two main groups of Hutus and Tutsis, but the last horrific bout, in which 10 000 people a day were killed over 100 days, was so wanton, depraved and vicious it’s difficult for even the most detached to contemplate. The Kigali Memorial Centre was opened on the 10th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, in April 2004. The centre is built on a site where over 250,000 people are buried. These graves are a horrific reminder of the cost of ignorance and a permanent memorial to those who fell victim to the genocide. It serves as a place to grieve those who were lost and to wonder at man’s consistent inhumanity to man. A visit here is a moving, often bewildering experience and an important way to understand the sheer courage and resilience of the people of this beautiful, tiny nation.

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