Not everybody in Rwanda gets to memorialize

By ANDREA DIJKSTRA

OVERVIEW

Twenty years after the genocide, Rwanda wants to become ‘the Singapore of Africa’. But not everybody can benefit from this country’s economic development and participate in genocide-memorials. “Only Tutsi’s can be genocide survivors.”

 

Driving on the smooth, tarmac roads of the Rwandese capital Kigali, it’s hard to imagine the dramatic scenes that took place here only two decades ago. Having the sense of being in Africa sometimes even fades away, for just a moment. Drivers waiting patiently in cars at countdown traffic lights in artificial clean streets due to a ban on plastic bags, gardeners constructing over perfected flowerbeds, motorcycle taxi passengers wearing mandatory helmets and dozens of fancy hotels and offices popping up like daisies all over the city.

 

However, the horrors of the genocide are forever carved in Gad Musabyemungu’s (see picture above) memory. “Right before my eyes, the Interahamwe slaughtered my mother, two brothers, three sisters and all my uncles and aunts, using sticks and machetes.” As if it was a miracle, the at that time 12-year-old boy (a Tutsi) managed to escape by jumping over a fence and hiding in the bush for many days, while his father had already been killed a few days earlier by Hutu militias. “The pain of losing your whole family in this way will never go away.”

 

After the genocide, Paul Kagame (see box below the article) and his Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) took power, transforming the completely ruined country into ‘the African prodigy’ in a remarkably short period of time. In 2020 it is even meant to become ‘Africa’s Singapore’, though land-locked Rwanda lacks nearly all the advantages of its Asian example. The Economist points this out in a recent article; “Singapore has the world’s busiest port; Rwanda is landlocked. Singapore has one of the world’s best-educated populations; Rwanda’s middle class was butchered in 1994. Singapore is a gateway to China; Rwanda’s neighbours are “less than ideal”, as a recent report from the Legatum Institute, a British think-tank, put it. Uganda is corrupt; Burundi a basket case; Congo worse.” Kagame, however, clearly believes in a ‘socially engineered…FULL STORY