I am standing here with my sister Yolande. In the Car Free Zone, in Kigali, in Rwanda, in April 2019.
It has been 25 years since the Genocide against the Tutsi ended.
Behind us is a #Kwibuka25 sign. Kwibuka means remember.
On the right is former president Habyarimana’s office, which also housed the media. On the left is the former headquarters of #RTLM, the ‘Media of Hate’, which called for the extermination of Tutsi.
25 years ago, Yolande and I could never have stood in this spot! First because cars could have ran us over (it wasn’t a car free zone then), Second because both of us are interested in Media of love, but mostly because it is safe to say that here, on each side of this street a plan was hatched to exterminate people who looked like Yolande and I…
Anyway we are here now!
We came to march and reflect on the role of the media in the Genocide against the Tutsi. And the place of social media today.
We came to remember journalists that were killed in the Genocide.
Shortly, we’ll have a panel discussion at the Kigali Cultural Village, the former SM, (senior officer’s messe).
The Panel will be moderated by Novella Nikwigize, a talented Burundian young lady who cannot go back to her coutry Burundi, because the situation there now, is similar to the situation in Rwanda 25 years ago…
However the panel will feature a research/journalist Jean François Dupaquier a Frenchman whom, in his own words, is ‘Friend of Tutsi’, how times change..
His country however, still remains the last sanctuary of the killers who used to work in these two buildings. It is still easier for a killer to get citizenship in France than it is for a Genocide survivor…
So we are here!
Many people are here too. Most of them are friends and media colleagues. Some came from as far as New Zealand to be with us here.
We are heartbroken for the lives lost, proud for the lives sacrificed, and mostly thankful to be here.
Incidently, everything in this city has changed, That Habyarimana’s office was replaced by an imposing City Council building, except that building which used to house the RTLM. Even RTLM antenna is still there, it will need a facelift..
Many things still need work here. Burundi needs fixing, France needs fixing, international media needs fixing, Even that RTLM building needs fixing, but the anthenna might stay. It is now being used to broadcast messages of Unity and reconciliation, and development.
So here we are, my sister and I!
Rather proud of the journey travelled, and ready for the journey ahead.
We are here, for Rwanda, always..
#Kwibuka25 — in Kigali, Rwanda.