Honoring 1 million Dead – The Genocide Memorials remembering the 1994 Genocide – Never Again
The Genocide Memorials remembering the 1994 Genocide – Never Again – remembering that 1 million Tutsi lost their lives, others were maimed, raped, still carry the scars of that time today, both inside and outside of
The Genocide Memorials remembering the 1994 Genocide – Never Again- are reminders to all of us that such atrocities have no place in the world – Never Again. Today in Rwanda there are no identity cards that signify if a person is of a particular people group. Today in Rwanda one is simply Rwandan
The Genocide Memorials remembering the 1994 Genocide – Never Again -If you are coming to Rwanda for any reason such as Gorilla tracking, a visit to Nyungwe Forest, Lake Kivu, Akagera National Park or just Kigali. There is something to do and see – to ponder upon – Uganda’s sacred places – those who paid the ultimate price for being a Tutsi during the Genocide of 1994.
Up to 1 million people were hacked, butchered, killed beginning during the April Rains of 1994 and ending 100 days late during July of 1994. The aim was to eliminate the Tutsi People – to see them vanish from Rwanda and purify the country – the UN (UNAMIR) under Canadian General Dallaire under instruction of the UN Security council was cut down in size to a few hundred men after 10 Belgian soldiers guarding the Prime Minister Madame Agathe Uwiligiyimana, were killed by the Presidential Guards in a cruel way and the Prime Minister was also killed even though she was not a Tutsi on April 7th 1994 -this resulted in Belgium withdrawing their troops the UNAMIR force being reduced and not allowed to actively stop the Genocide – the world stood by as one million people were slaughtered…20 years later – the slogan “never again” still rings out everywhere.
The Genocide Memorials remembering the 1994 Genocide – Never Again – All over the country there are those sacred places – the Genocide Memorials reminding people both from Rwanda and from around the world the power of evil, an evil that was not stopped by the world, by the UN, by the USA, by France but by Rwandans – led by by Paul Kagame and defeating the government forces and the Interhamwe who was doing much of the killing.
Uganda’s sacred places the Genocide Memorials – reminders of how Rwanda like a phoenix rose from the ashes of hatred, murder and destruction into one of the most progressive countries in East and Central Africa. In July of 1994 Kigali was a mere shell of its former self – bodies could be found most anywhere – today Kigali is one of the cleanest cities in Africa its downtown area is an exemplary model of what can be in Africa.
20 years after the Genocide, when there were no devils left in hell, they seemed to all in Rwanda – “Never Again” is on the mind of most in the land of a thousand Hills.
The Genocide Memorials – Rwanda
Kigali Genocide Memorial Center – over 250,00 people are interned in this, what are sacred grounds to Rwandans and Visitors alike. A visit here is a most moving experience that will touch you at the core of your being – a reminder that evil can reign for a season as it did in Rwanda for 100 days – but the goodness of humanity, the hopes and dreams, faith at the end of the day triumph over the evil – in the case of Rwanda there has been much forgiveness and reconciliation.
The names of those killed are found on the wall, there is the children’s secton, the gardens with the children – the burial site – covered over with concrete – inside letters, pictures of victims – your guide a Genocide survivor , his or her story of how they survived the 1994 Genocide.
If you are visiting Kigali – make sure that you are putting a visit to the Kigali – Gisozi Genocide Memorial on your things to do and see in Kigali list. A visit that you will not forget very soon – a donation is suggested – there is no entrance fee.
Gisenyi Memorial Site:
The Gisenyi Memorial Site is on the outskirts of Giseny which borders the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The site is what would appear as a cemetery, however this memorial site contains the remains of 12,000 genocide victims that were killed during the 1994 Genocide.
Near here was an infamous Interhamwe Roadblock and during the rainy season of 1994 – April and May the area near the cemetery was called “Commune Rouge”. Here at a roadblock called “Corniche” were Tutsi’s were identified by their national identity cards and appearance and taken near the cemetery and from the Nyando Community to be killed and that did not happen by a firing squad but with crude machetes, which had been recently imported from China just for the purpose of eliminating the Tutsi People from the face of the earth.
The Gisenyi Memorial was one of the first memorials to be built in Rwanda by the IBIKA Survivor organization and by the Randan Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture – there is no visitors center presently but many survivors would like to see one.
Murambi Genocide Memorial Site:
Murambi Genocide Memorial Site is a very graphic display of the victims that were murdered. In the words of one government official “The Genocide must live on.”
One can find Rwanda Genocide Deniers on the Internet of one stripe or another and Murambi with its contorted corpses gives testimony that the Genocide did take place. Thousands – between 27,000 and by some government estimates – 50,000 have their final resting place here as a reminder of what took place in the 100 days of darkness and hell that had descended on the Land of a Thousands Hills – Rwanda.
When the Genocide reached the Murambi area, thousands of Tutsis fled their home and sought refuge from the Catholic Church -the Bishop there insisted that they move from the church to a technical school in Murambi where the French would give them protection.
On April 21 – the Interhamwe descended on the school at Murambi and butchered thousands of Tutsis who were there without any protection – a few token policemen fled before the massacre.
Here is one survivors story: “My name is Emmanuel Mugenzira. I was born here in 1957 in Gikongoro, in the district of Nyamigabe. My family died here at the Murambi Memorial site—my wife, my five kids, two boys and three girls—they all died here. The oldest was only 13.
May the world never forget – The Genocide must live on…resulting in “Never Again.”
Nyamata Church Genocide Memorial Site:
10,000 plus people were killed in the Church and around the grounds of the church from April 14 to 18 – 1994.
The church has been silent ever since – no hymns, no songs, no living aside from the visitors to this Genocide Memorial – a sacred place of remembrance.
The roof is still pockmarked by bullet holes, no remains are in the church today. the sacred altar covering is still splattered with blood from that most gruesome time in April 1994.
In the back of the church you can access the basement which is now catacomb-filled with rows of skulls, bones and coffins – a reminder of the senselessness of hate.
You will find a a banner in Kinyarwanda over the main entrance to the church , Translated “If you had known me, and you had really known yourself, you would not have killed me.”
Nyamata Church Genocide Memorial is located in the Bugesera district – 35 kilomenters from Kigali.
Nyarubuye Church Memorial Site:
As you enter the courtyard of this church take a look at two slabs of stone worn down and smooth, not from the elements but because the Interhamwe killed sharpened their machetes here during the killing spree of 1994 where thousands of Tutsis were massacred (no exact number is known).
Before the Genocide the large church and the next door convent were sacred places of worship only become places of death where those butchered put their hope in the protection of the Church only to find death.
The Church is once again a place of worships and serves the local communities. The Convent Halls show evidence of the Genocide. There are tables with hundreds of skills – the split skulls show the violent manner in which the victims were murdered. There are al;so other objects such as clothing, shoes, school books, Bibles, even dried beans all showing the hope that the victims had.
There is a memorial cemetery below the church where you will find some tombs, each with a simple cross – a bit further is a square patch of land – down in the ground which is a mass grave.
The Memorial site is found near the border with Tanzania.
Nyanza Genocide Memorial Site:
ETI stands for École Technique Officielle, or Official Technical School. A place that was home to students and to many others who s0ught refuge there. The Genocide began on April 7 th and 10 Belgian soldiers were cruelly murdered as they guarded the Prime minister who was also murdered. After that Belgium decided to pull out of Rwanda – the Belgian UN Soldiers left the ETO school on April 11 – and as soon as they left – the Interhamwe, soldiers, police cam rounded them up and marched them to Nyanza where they were brutally killed many be grenades tossed into the group of Tutsis and then a mop-up operation began using machetes.
Today – Nyanza Memorial Center stands as silent witness to the abandonment of Rwanda by the International Community – by limiting what the UN soldiers could or not do. It is a sad comment on both the UN and the International community
Each April 11- there is a Memorial service remembering the victims of this horrific event.
Ntarama Church Genocide Memorial Site:
Over 10% of the 1994 Genocide Victims were killed in Churches – Ntarama Church is one of those churches where people sought refuge only to find death and destruction. For most the Church has always been a safe sanctuary and it is hard to reconcile that with reality as to what happened in many churches during the 1994 Genocide.
Ntarama is located in an area called Bugesera – one hour’s drive from Kampala, massacred and forced relocations were not unknown to the area.
There in Ntarama town is the Ntarama Church – a sacred place where some of the most horrific and brutal killings took place during the Genocide of 1994.
Once again Tutsis turned to what they thought was a safe haven for about 5000, many of them women and children – instead of a touch of heaven it became hell on earth for them. Today he evidence of that massacre is found at Ntarama Church.
Bisesero Genocide Memorial Site:
Near Lake Kivu you will find the hills of Bisesero – a place where the Tutsis stages a resistance against the Hutu Genocidaires. The hills provided for many Tutsis – especially the hill named Muyira – the fought off the Interhamwe, soldiers and others who came to kill them until July 1 – which was near the end of the genocide when the Tutsis called Abasero were overun.
The Memorial Site pays tribute to the resistance that was made by by the Abaseros of the Bisesoro Hills. The memorial is a tribute to both their bravery and will to survive and their loss of life against their overwhelming opposition.
After the Genocide an accounting of the survivors in Bisesero – it found 1500 survivors and 50,000 dead at the hands of the Hutu Genocidaires.
Another sacred place – The Bisesero Genocide Memorial in Rwanda.
The Genocide Memorials – Rwanda – Rwanda’s sacred places that emphatically state “Never again” that reminds that evil exists in our world – but also as one looks around present day Rwanda – one can see the triumph over evil through he resilient spirit of Rwandans and their commitment to a Rwanda for all Rwandans.