This April marks the 21st anniversary of the Rwandan genocide and with it, like a memorial candle that is ignited every year at this time, we see once again a flurry of organisations and their sidekicks’ waiting on the sidelines to pronounce all that is bad with Rwanda.
One such organisation is the Rwandan National Congress in Canada, (RNC) made up of a small, insignificant bunch of exiled educated misfit individuals, who band together like the Merry Men of Robin Hood’s day, to pronounce in their zeal their hate and intolerance of Rwandan’s current political and economic society.
This past weekend these Merry Men shouted loud enough to be featured on the front page of the Toronto Star.
And who do they hold parley with? Christopher Black, who we read in the Toronto Star is the “Toronto-area lawyer who defended a Rwandan general in a 14-year war crimes tribunal.”
Black “claims the Rwandan government is threatening him with death.”
Black has stated that “a member of the Rwandan National Congress in Canada told him last month there is ‘credible and reliable information’ that the Rwandan regime has ‘sent a team to Canada in order to assassinate five people here,’” including him.
According to the Toronto Star (April 11, 2015), “Black is a controversial figure who holds strong views that challenge accepted wisdom on war crimes. He has argued the innocence of accused war criminal Slobodan Milosevic and attacked former international prosecutor Canadian Louise Arbour for halting an inquiry into the downing of the plane that killed the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi in 1994 — the incident that triggered the genocide.”
The Toronto Star adds:
“His view of the [Rwandan] genocide is far from the accepted narrative. He alleges that the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front and [President] Kagame, then military leader, are also responsible for mass killings of political and military opponents during the genocide.”
This opinion, which many genocide deniers also constantly practice, remains one of the primary thrusts every April to cheapen the murder of over one million Rwandans. Twenty-one years has passed. Twenty-one years of recurrent heartfelt grief, and still the hate continues.
Yet today, Rwanda should be proud of itself. According to The World Bank, “Rwanda has achieved impressive development progress since the 1994 genocide and civil war. It is now consolidating gains in social development and accelerating growth while ensuring that they are broadly shared to mitigate risks to eroding the country’s hard-won political and social stability.
“These goals build on remarkable development successes over the last decade which include high growth, rapid poverty reduction and, since 2005, reduced inequality. Between 2001 and 2014, real GDP growth averaged at about 9% per annum. Recovering from the 2012 aid shortfall, the economy grew ‘7% (year-on-year) in 2014, 2.3 percentage high than in 2013’ ”
In addition, The World Bank states: “Women in Rwanda have made significant strides towards equality in the past few years and the country now boasts more women in parliament than any other country in the world.”
As Jews we stand shoulder to shoulder with Rwanda. For we also understand the meaning of hate, intolerance and genocide denial by our enemies. We will never forget our Rwandan brothers and sisters, nor the 300,000+ children who were also murdered.
We will remember you.
(Photo credit unknown)
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SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”