(Translation in English)
- Distinguished guests from neighbouring countries and elsewhere;
- Diplomats representing your countries in Rwanda;
- Members of the East African Legislative Assembly;
- Friends of Rwanda and fellow Rwandans here today;
- Others who are following us:
Good afternoon and thank you for being with us.
Today, as we all know, is a day to remember. We remember for the seventeenth year, as we always do and will continue to remember even over a hundred years from now.
Remembering is necessary because if you don’t remember, you end up forgetting yourself – If you don’t remember, bad history follows you. That is why this day is important.
We remember the truth. We remember to give ourselves value. Especially when we were deprived of our dignity for a long time, at one point allowing others to take it away from us. . But when we say never again, it means exactly that – we should never allow this to happen again.
There is a lot to remember; there is a lot of pain and sadness. But we have to take seriously the meaning of these two words – “truth” and “dignity”. Nobody can give us truth and dignity but ourselves.
You cannot control what others think of you. But you can certainly control what you think of yourself and the value you give yourself.
We sometimes cannot do anything about those who distort our history and deny the genocide – some come from rich powerful nations. However, we are in full control in our own country and can do something about it here. In Rwanda, we are able to reject these forces no matter what direction they come from.
The body of Rwanda was tortured, assaulted, and succumbed but the spirit never died. It is that spirit that should fight on, that spirit will never and should never be defeated. Defending Rwanda’s spirit is within our reach and means.
Forget about the outside world – where so many people have been rightly accused of having stood by when the genocide was happening.
It is still happening because génocidaires continue to roam around the capitals of the world. The same capitals that try to give us lessons about human rights, rule of law and justice are still harbouring these criminals. It’s alright; we can listen, but let us go about our business – the business of giving our dignity back to ourselves. We owe it to ourselves and nobody else.
Forget about the nonsense of international justice. Col Bagosora, the well-known architect of genocide, with a lot of evidence against him, only recently admitted that there was genocide in Rwanda. But he has been on trial for the last 17 years with no conclusion. This is because people who have been part of the history of genocide here in Rwanda have tried to shield him from justice, worried that he might reveal their role in the genocide.
These are the same people who want to give us lessons every day. But it is up to Rwandans to refuse this and treat it with the contempt it deserves. It is the same people who turn these criminals into politicians and allow them to play politics in their own capitals.
Rwandans, our dignity and wellbeing depends on us – we must stop assuming that someone out there will help because they don’t care. That is the importance of remembering, and of valuing ourselves.
Those who peddle lies about Rwanda should know that “if you tell lies about me, that is the exact truth about you.”
Fellow Rwandans, the sadness and pain we have is understandable, but we should draw strength from this to heal ourselves and to build our future. We are on the right track, we have come from far and we are going very far. This calls for a lot of strength.
Let us work hand in hand – all of us, including those grieving Rwandans you hear right now in this stadium. What you hear is our history, what happened here, what we are remembering today.
Let us support them and support each other. Let’s face our challenges together. Let us confront those who look down on us, and lift ourselves up. Let us fight with the consequences of our history and Triumph. Let’s persevere together so that we can build a better future for Rwandans because it is possible – we cannot wait for anyone to do this for us.
The most important thing is truth, dignity, and that enduring Rwandan spirit – the spirit that must never die.
Remembrance, dignity and truth, means that we must never for a moment let those who want to inflict more misery on us break our spirit and see us defeated. We have to fight them. We must do everything possible to succeed. That fighting spirit must reject all that degrades Rwanda. We must achieve the development that we deserve, working in collaboration with friends of Rwanda, our brothers and sisters from the region, and the rest of Africa to earn our respect and dignity.
Today is a day to remember. A day to honour those we lost as well as those who live on but under difficult conditions brought on by the aftermath of the genocide. Let us not leave them to their plight.
Let us keep in mind that those who died lost their bodies but their spirit remains with us. We will use that spirit to help us build our people and our country. .
Thank you and God bless you.