The Rwandan Genocide began in April 7 and carried through until July 15, 1994. Rwandans will be joining hands in remembering the lives of those lost in the upcoming anniversary. A commemoration will be held in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, in the sport stadium that gave sanctuary to so many trying to hide from the killings. It has been 20 years since the Rwandan Genocide, yet the African nation finds itself with a newfound peace and economic growth.
The Rwandan Genocide was undertaken when a jet plane arriving to the Kigali airport was shot down. The plane had Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira. None aboard the plane had survived. Rwanda was already on edge with the Rwandan Civil War which had been raging between the Habyarimana government and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). The assassination of Habyarimana was the final act to ignite the genocide. The morning after the Kigali airport killings, the massacre had begun. The war was between two ethnic tribes: the Hutus majority and the Tutsis minority. The Hutus began an “ethnic cleansing” armed with no more sophisticated weapons than clubs and machetes. They began killing any Tutsis or Hutu’s who were sympathetic to the Tutsis. By the end of the massacre, the death toll was 800,000 to 1 million Tutsis killed and a moderate number of Hutus. The 2004 movie Hotel Rwanda, starring Don Cheadle was based on the Rwandan Genocide.
The rest of the world did very little to help Rwanda in their time of need. The massacre was stopped by current President Paul Kagame when he managed to take hold of the Rwandan Patriotic Front and drive out the mobs. President Kagame has been in office for two terms, from 2003 to 2010, and from 2010 until his presidency expires on 2017. Since the Rwandan Genocide had received so much international attention, many felt guilt-ridden to donate money.
President Kagame has been busy in putting the donations and his country to work. Kagame has been busy over the last 20 years growing peace in Rwanda by moving on from the genocide and has since created a country where ethnicity is no longer relevant. Any ethical discrimination has become illegal and everyone has the right to keep their ethnic identity to themselves if asked. Hutus and Tutsis have managed to put aside their differences and focused on living side by side.
Rwanda is modernising their agricultural methods that keep 80 percent of the 11 million citizens employed. The education in Rwanda is also free. Investors have been rolling up as the country is starting to introduce reliable transportation and broadband Internet throughout the country. Even the smallest villages are enjoying the pleasures of well-built roads.
The economy suffered a great deal due to the Rwandan Genocide. In 1990 the Gross Domestic Product was at $2.7 billion and fell in 1994 to $750 million. Since President Kagame has been in office the Gross Domestic Product has sky-rocketed to $7.3 billion in 2012 and is getting an annual raise of eight per cent. The commemorative meeting at the sport stadium will be a great moment for President Kagame to reflect on the last 20 years since the Rwandan Genocide, and to further develop his goal towards peace and overall growth of a nation.
By Ignacio Gatti