This week stand together with Rwandans around the world as they enter into the 26th memorial period of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi. For the next 100 days, Rwanda will remember the 100 days in 1994 when over 1,000,000 people were brutally killed. It is a time of deep grief, pain and sadness. A time for being together, and comforting each other. Our hearts go out to the beautiful nation of Rwanda, and we turn our eyes toward you. We see not only the pain and suffering, but also the courage, resilience and strength - as Rwanda not only remembers, but once again unites together, and renews its commitment to move forward.
We are particularly mindful of the way this period has been impacted by COVID-19 and the lockdown restrictions that are currently in place. As President Kagame noted in his address to the nation,
Rwandans are used to coming together with solidarity and collective strength. But for now, they are unable to meet together, to stand next to one another, to hug each other or to share tears together.
Right now, Rwandans are required to stay inside their homes and not go out anywhere. If they do need to go out for things like food or medicine, there are many checkpoints along the roads where
they have to answer again and again about where they are going and what they are doing - all very necessary measures to control the spread of coronavirus. And yet, also reminders of the time of the genocide, when Tutsis were trapped in their homes, and roadblocks were set up to capture them and prevent them escaping. We recognise that the grief and loss of this commemoration period is increased and heightened by the situation at this time.
There are no words that can truly capture and describe what Rwanda has been through, and what is being experienced even today. All we can say is that we remember with you, we stand beside you, and we look to you to learn from you lessons of strength, courage, forgiveness and hope.
To learn more about Kwibuka 26, head to http://kwibuka.rw/
Head to our website learn more about Compelled By Love’s work in Rwanda, centred on trauma counselling and rehabilitation.
Click here to learn about 21 Days Of Hope and how you can make a difference at this difficult time.