Jean B. Kayigamba
Monday, 2 December, 2013

In 1994 approximately one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered in 100 days of violence in Rwanda.  As we approach the 20th anniversary of the genocide, survivor Jean B. Kayigamba reflects on the impact that those 100 days have had on his life and the lives of so many others.

Next year in April 2014 Rwandans, especially we genocide survivors, will commemorate for the 20th time, the genocide against the Tutsis that claimed over a million innocent lives.  Some of us have tried hard to rebuild our shattered lives, but no matter what I do, I’m always haunted by the past.
20 years seem a long time, but the memory of what happened then is still fresh.  Sometimes it comes in the form of nightmares. There are times I dream about being pursued by Interahamwe militia, who carried out the genocide.

At times, I’m in the uncomfortable position of trying to explain to my children about what truly happened during that fateful April – July period in 1994.  They ask questions such as why we survived but could not rescue their grandpa and grandma? Why did people turn on their neighbours and carry out the atrocities?

Another realisation is that after waiting for so long for justice, most of feel that we have been shortchanged by the UN and the International Criminal Court for Rwanda (ICTR), as well as countries, notably France and the UK. 

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide; we ask you to acknowledge this in your HMD activity.  

The HMDT blog highlights topics relevant to our work in the field of Holocaust and genocide awareness and commemoration.  It looks at contemporary issues surrounding hatred and discrimination, and how we can address these by reflecting on the past and applying lessons to the present day.  In the blog we hear from a variety of guest contributors who will provide a range of personal perspectives on issues relevant to them, including those who have experienced what it is like to live under state-sponsored persecution. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of HMDT.