07.04.09 - GENOCIDE/RWANDA - PRESIDENT KAGAME TELLS RWANDANS TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THEIR LIVES

Kigali, 7April, 2009 (FH)-  Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, has counseled his countrymen to move forward with their lives to build a better future when marking the 15th commemoration of genocide anniversary at national level in Nyanza-Kicukiro, Kigali Ville province.
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"Genocide survivors must move forward with your lives...life must go on, we must continue to build for a better future," he told a large gathering, including members of diplomatic corps, ministers and politicians. Also in attendance was, Cherrie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

He, however, said the post-genocide history can not easily be erased as more than a million people were brutally slaughtered during the April-July genocide.

"Of course, it is not an easy task to build on the ashes of more than a million people,'' he stated, adding that the future of Rwandans will be shaped by the Rwandans themselves. 

‘'Our future no one can decide it us for us," he insisted.

President Kagame also took a swipe at the cowardice of the international community when thousands of innocent people were being butchered mercilessly.

"They [international community] are part of that history. They are root causes of genocide," he stressed, underscoring that they abandoned the people they had come to protect. "They left them [people] to be murdered, aren't they guilty?'', he asked.

The Rwandan President, however, noted that significant progress has been achieved in the post-genocide days and urged concerted efforts from Rwandans to propel the country towards further progress. ‘I can seat confidently, relaying on what I see," President Kagame said.

The site of this year's commemoration is also historic.

During onslaught of the 1994 killings, thousands of refugees sought shelter at the United Nations Peace Keeping Force (UNAMIR) at the Technical School (ETO) near Nyanza-Kicukiro, hoping to get protection from the blue helmets, but to their dismay the peace keepers abandoned them and were subsequently killed by notorious Interehamwe militias and rampaging soldiers from the former Rwandan Armed forces (Ex-FAR).

A survivor of Nyanza attack, Venuste Karasira, narrated to President Kagame how he escaped the death when Interahamwe started shooting and hurling grenades at them. He said that attackers thought he was dead when he was sleeping among dead bodies and covered by blood. "The killers thought I was dead and left the area," he said.

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