Rwandans mark 20 years since genocide
KIGALI, Rwanda — Displaying pride and pain, Rwandans on Monday marked the 20th anniversary of a devastating 100-day genocide in which packed churches were set on fire and machete-wielding attackers chopped down families from a demonized minority.
Bloodcurdling screams and sorrowful wails resounded throughout a packed sports stadium as world leaders and thousands of Rwandans gathered to hear of healing and hope.
“As we pay tribute to the victims, both the living and those who have passed, we also salute the unbreakable Rwandan spirit in which we owe the survival and renewal of our country,” said President Paul Kagame.
Kagame and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lit a flame in the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, which estimates that more than 1 million Rwandans perished in three months of machete and gunfire attacks mostly aimed at the country's minority Tutsi population by extremist Hutus. Missing from the stadium was the French government, which Rwanda banned. In an interview published in France, Kagame accused the former colonial power of participating in some of the genocidal violence.
The ceremony and Uganda's president highlighted the influence that white colonial masters had in setting the stage for the violence that erupted on April 7, 1994.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in his speech blamed colonization for many of Africa's violent troubles.
“The people who planned and carried out genocide were Rwandans, but the history and root causes go beyond this beautiful country. This is why Rwandans continue to seek the most complete explanation possible. We do so with humility as a nation that nearly destroyed itself,” Kagame said.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.