“John Paul II was the first head of State to use the term “genocide” in public.”
As Rwanda marks the 20th
anniversary of the massacre that swept across the country, wiping out
much of its population, Vatican Radio aired a special programme
recalling John Paul II’s condemnation of the atrocity.
The violence began when an aeroplane carrying the
then president Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down; it dragged on from 7
April until mid July 1994.
According to the UN, at least 800, 000 people
were brutally murdered by Hutu extremists who started killing the
Tutsis. They reacted and the reciprocal violence which ensued was met with a long silence from the international community.
The 'Kwibuka Flame' was
lit in Kigali yesterday to commemorate the victims of the genocide and
will pass through all the districts of Rwanda.
Scaglione who has produced a number of news reports and written various
books on the subject commented on this act of remembrance saying that
the massacre did not just involve the deaths and injuries of numerous
people: a whole country was razed to the ground.”
“It is truly
impressive to see Rwanda overtaking other developing countries when it
comes to the Millennium development goals.”
According to Scaglione, forgiveness was crucial in
this process of rebirth. “In Rwanda’s traditional court houses, the
so-called gachachas (essentially meaning “field”), where millions
of trials were held, victims were asked to forgive those responsible
for the violence and survivors found this very hard indeed.”
speaking to many Rwandans, I realised that these trials, which some
refer to as “mass-scale psychoanalytic sessions”, were crucial in giving
people the chance to say: “let us reconstruct everything that happened
and then let us try to move on,” the journalism concluded.