Reflecting on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Kagame shared how Rwanda lost ten percent of its population in three months due to a government’s directive to exterminate the Tutsi. Despite the immense tragedy, Rwanda has emerged as a peaceful, flourishing, and united nation, serving as a poignant reminder and a warning to the world.
Kagame explained the challenges faced in rebuilding a country after such a devastating event, emphasizing the importance of preventing the transmission of hatred to future generations. He recounted his own experiences, driven into exile at age four and growing up in refugee camps until 1990, when he returned to liberate Rwanda from ethnic dictatorship.
Stopping the genocide posed immense challenges, with survivors facing the impossible task of swallowing their anger and bitterness. Kagame acknowledged the need to break the cycle of violence, turning the urge for vengeance into a national program of unity and reconciliation.
Notably, the death penalty was abolished, and survivors were asked to forgive, a difficult yet crucial step in rebuilding the nation.
Despite progress, Kagame cautioned that the genocide ideology persists in the region, urging the international community to remain vigilant. Reconciliation, he emphasized, is an act of faith, envisioning a nation free of hatred and injustice and working towards that vision daily. Kagame also stressed the role of leaders in building trust and promoting unity, asserting that healthy nations prioritize reconciliation in both large and small matters.