Saturday 11 December 2010

Rwanda genocide - preserving history

An archive of the Rwanda genocide of 1994 has just opened at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in the country’s capital. It includes thousands of documents, photographs and video and sound recordings collected from survivors, witnesses and perpetrators of the mass murder.

It’s a joint initiative by the Rwandan government and the Aegis Trust, which works to prevent genocide and crimes against humanity, and the memorial site is on slopes above mass graves believed to hold the bodies of up to a quarter of a million victims.

The site’s director, himself a survivor of the genocide says that many people in Rwanda still deny the genocide, and that the archive will help ‘fight them with facts.’ The Aegis Trust is also working with the UK’s University of Nottingham to create a comprehensive map of Rwanda’s genocide sites. So far more than 1,000 have been identified in Kigali alone.

The Rwanda genocide, during which Hutu extremists murdered moderate Hutus and Tutsis was the most rapid in history, with 800,000 people murdered in 100 days. (See also my blogs of Jan 23, March 1, 4, 23; April 9, July 16, May 6, Sept 3, 9, 23; Oct 8, 30; Dec 15, 2009, 25 Feb, 2010.)

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