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The 1994 Rwanda Genocide

The saying that a genocide begins with the killing of one man for who he is stead for what he has done is just what happened to the Tutsi ethnicity where over 800,000 people were killed in cold blood by the then majority Hutu in 1994. In the interim of just one hundred dark days that were filled with gloom and tears brimming down every citizen, between 800,000 and 1,000,000 people estimated to have had their last breaths leaving their kith and kins crestfallen.

There are signals that do not lie but long-term hatred between the Hutu and Tutsi people was the main trigger of the inferior race massacre that befell Rwanda. This was incited by some of the following reasons; –

Colonialists bequeathed the Hutu superiors.

The old days before the first world war got Rwanda being colonized by the German empire however tables were turned and the Belgians took over after the first world war. The Belgians reign highly advocated for division between Hutu and Tutsi where they favored the Tutsi for leadership positions which created an ever-growing hatred that was passed on for decades and generations in the country.

The Hutu coup d’état

A Hutu notorious military General plotted against the Tutsi government and in 1973, Juvenal Habyarimana seized power and over threw the ruling government. His sentiment of anti-Tutsi and pro-Hutu was pouring oil on flames on the passed to decade misunderstanding that kept these two nemesis ethnic groups as “cats and dogs” to each other.

Exiled Tutsi pushed for their rights to return home.

The Hutu government under President Juvenal got some Tutsis exiled to Uganda, DRC and Burundi where they felt home sick and campaigned for returning to Rwanda. Situation in the country became intense when a Tutsi rebel group called Rwanda Patriotic Front invaded and were fought by the reigning regime and consequently rose into a bloody civil war that spanned for a year of horror and dismay.

Assassination of President Habyarimana.

The climax of a long-term hatred that existed between the Hutu and Tutsi was in 1994 when President Habyarimana together with President of Burundi Cyprien Ntaryamira crushed in an aero-plane after it was shot and they perished instantly. The Hutus laid the blame on Tutsi for the attack which blame further resulted into a bloody genocide.

Effects of the Rwandan genocide.

Anxiety and depression are everlasting marks that the genocide left on survivors of the genocide because of the trauma that they had to battle with; watching their relatives and friends being slaughtered in cold blood. Most of them were left with testimonies and giving thanks to God of how they were able to survive.

Survivors had a very big challenge ahead of them of restoring the lost peace and love into the country. It was the role of all survivors from their numerous testimonies that Rwanda has gained its peace and no longer have the ethnic divisions among them. Majority of survivors came together through various support groups, preserved memorial sites for educating visitors and future generations about the dangers of hatred and extremism.

Most streets became ghost towns as over 2,000,000 fled into neighboring countries leaving the streets covered with blood and dead bodies.

How Rwanda has overcome the effects of genocide.

The country has banned its citizens from identifying themselves as either Hutu or Tutsi and rather prefer being identified as one ethnic group – Rwandans.  Among the activities that have united these ethnicities into the Rwandan umbrella is “national clean-up day” scheduled for every last Saturday of the month, code-named “Umuganda”. Individuals leave their homes, work places, streets and get united by the Umuganda exercise where they engage in various volunteering projects thus bringing both Hutu and Tutsi people under one common cause.

Amazing genocide museums.

Reputation of Rwanda has been built on blood and dark moments that citizens lived to witness in 1994. Majority of these genocide survivors found themselves lost in the depth of their darkest days but their resilience has made them strong individuals. While storms don’t last forever, tragedy that befell the country has long gone but will never be forgotten as there are heart-felt sites that were established to remember and have a moment of silence in order to respect the individuals who were brutally beheaded in cold blood during this genocide.

Kigali Genocide Memorial site.

Nothing can stop any tourist from passing by this memorial ground to pay their respects to genocide victims as the site offers free entrance to all visitors. With about three exhibition halls that actualize what happened during Rwanda genocide to the visitors and some collections of what transpired in Armenia, Namibia, Europe and Cambodia, visitors get to learn about the dangers of extremism and hatred.

Finalizing their visit in the museum with honoring genocide victims as the site is a resting place for over 250,000 fallen Rwandans who were victims of genocide.

Belgian peacekeepers monument.

Belgian colonialists were the spear-headers of this genocide as they incited the segregation between Hutu and Tutsi but some of them were against it and campaigned for peace in the country.

A long history awaits the museum visitors at a free cost about how 10 United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda were killed with the former military compound still holding evidence of gun-shots directed to the building and 10 stone pillars that were used to murder each of these foreign peacemakers.

Campaign against genocide museum.

Over 600 Rwanda Patriotic Army soldiers were killed in this struggle, but never forgotten. This museum was established to keep memory of these victims as live as possible after they traveled in 1993 to implement a new transitional unity that wasn’t actualized since the genocide broke off before they agreed on the terms but they will always be remembered as they were able to restore peace in the country.

At a cost of 4500 francs, visitors get to appreciate tremendous and patriotic work that was done by these fallen heroes in rebuilding peace into the country.

Ntarama Genocide memorial church.

For tourists who can withstand the immense stories of fear and horror should visit Ntarama church where 5000 parishioners sought refuge, only to be mercilessly killed. Visitors get to see the bent windows, sections of missing bricks and window frames where genociders forced their way into the church leaving human skulls, bones stuck in wall cracks, blood stained all over the walls and blood-stained clothes are all in this memorial church.

Genocide and dark tourism in Rwanda.

Dark tourism in Rwanda is attributed to the massacre against the Tutsi and it’s not about getting exhilarating and thrilling experiences like other normal safaris as its about respecting the geocide victims, remembering them and at the same time learning from the mistakes that evolved from extreme hatred and tribalism that saw over a million people lose their lives.

The country has reserved some of the killing and burial grounds in their natural and raw form into memorial sites where visitors can confirm with physical evidence about the grief that the country was subjected to.

Dark tourism safari in Rwanda lands visitors to Kigali genocide memorial site which is a final resting home for over 250,000 genocide victims with their names inscribed on walls for some of them that were identified.

Visitors can get to other museums all over the country like Nyanza, Nyamata and Murambi genocide site. A quiet place of just contemplating and remembering merciless slaughters is what is involved in a tour to one of the genocide memorial sites.

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