This week, the whole world commemorates the horrific Rwandan genocide that proved how political tension can lead to unimaginable hatred between two communities. It is very painful to realize that the genocide could have been prevented by the two warring parties. Indeed, the worst came and it was more than what most people expected. This horrific genocide taught the world bitter lessons but the most important of all was the fact that life is priceless and irreversible.
The Rwandan genocide taught many people who not every problem is solved with violence. It is almost impossible to wipe out a certain community due to political differences. In as much the warring parties had tried to wipe out each other, they all ended up with painful regrets and horrible memories of the shocking bloodbath.
Tolerance is yet another lesson that the Rwandan genocide had to offer. In the world of democracy, people are allowed to have their own independent political views. Tolerance is one of the most important requirements for a peaceful co-existence between two parties. In fact, if human beings shared the same views, then it would be almost impossible to know the other side of the coin. It would be impossible to tell if something is right or wrong since it already had the approval of the majority.
Former UN chief Kofi Annan once lamented that the crimes witnessed during the genocide could not be reversed, the failures could not be repaired and the dead could not be resurrected. However, the best thing to do was to learn from the mistakes made in the past and use them to shape the future.
During the Rwandan genocide, hate speech was rampant as the minority Tutsi population was considered “cockroaches” therefore justifying the need to exterminate them in their thousands. It was shocking that part of the hate speech came from the government therefore making it almost impossible for the targeted tribes to find a shoulder to lean on. The same kind of hate speech is what led to the fierce 2007 post-election violence in Kenya where more than 3,000 people lost their lives. Hate speech has no place in the modern society especially if it targets particular communities. Some people may argue that they have the freedom of expression but this is the right time to differentiate between hate speech and democratic rights.
The better part of the sad story is the fact that Rwanda has risen and emerged more powerful than before after the genocide. The country is home to one of the fastest growing economies in the East and Central African region. It is now popularly referred to the haven of peace despite the horrific memories of the genocide. According to studies, Kigali is the cleanest city in East Africa and Rwanda is still one of the most optimistic nations in the world. Tolerance has been the greatest lesson one can learn from this incident. Since no human being has the ability to restore life, none of them should be granted the power to snatch the lives of innocent people.
Opionion By Andrew Wandola