Rwandan genocide remembered 25 years later

A crowd of more than 500 people gathered to commemorate 25 years since the Rwandan genocide.

An estimated 800,000 lives were lost during the 100-day massacre which targeted the country’s Tutsi class and moderate Hutus; who refused to participate in the mass killings of the Tutsi.

Ghislain Shema was 7 years old when his father was killed in Rwanda. He was led to freedom in Congo by his father; whom he calls his hero and a visionary.

“I would like to tell him we made it,” said Shema, who organized the commemoration as part of Humura Association; a group of survivors in Ottawa committed to preventing a future genocide in the country.

The estimated 800,000 Rwandan lives were lost 25 years ago in the genocide that many here say robbed them of mothers, fathers and children - Never Again is their message ⁦@ctvottawapic.twitter.com/6WchPeZ69p

— Mike Arsalides (@MArsalidesCTV) April 7, 2019

Shema, joined hundreds of Rwandans who stood side by side, holding signs and sharing stories of survival and sorrow.

“Every single minute, I was expecting to be killed.” said Jean-Claude Ngabonziza, who was 34 at the time of the slaughter. Ngabonziza lost 4 siblings in the 1994 genocide.

“I still feel the pain, can never forget them,” said Félicité Murangira, who lost her mother, cousins, aunts and uncles.

“Today when I see so many people outside to support, to remember I see hope, I know that we will be able to change to forget and to forgive.” said Murangira.

Rwandan-Canadians born after the genocide joined their parents for the ceremony. The crowd grew from 150 people in 2018 to more than 500 Sunday afternoon.

A crowd of hundreds marched, 25 white balloons released outside Canadian War Museum to commemorate 25 years since an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in country’s genocide ⁦@ctvottawapic.twitter.com/M7iAN0Kdog

— Mike Arsalides (@MArsalidesCTV) April 7, 2019

25 white balloons, marking every year since the 100 day massacre, were set free outside the Canadian War Museum; a reminder of the lives lost a quarter century ago.

“My message to the entire world is what happened in Rwanda, it can happen everywhere.” said Ngabonziza.