Remember, unite and renew: Regina Rwandan community commemorates 1994 genocide
On Saturday, and for the past 20 years, Rwandans around the world commemorated and remembered the victims of a dark time in Rwanda’s history.
In 1994, Rwanda was the scene of a heinous, three month long genocide directed at the Tutsi population.
This year's commeration follows the theme: remember, unite, and renew.
“When you unite as one, you gather everybody from across the world,” said event co-organizer Yves Ikobe. “Everybody from Rwanda and wherever you're from together. You heal and reconcile from there.”
Annually, the Rwandan community in Regina walks from city hall to the provincial legislature.
It’s clear from the annual event that Rwandans do not want the world to forget what happened in their small African nation 28 years ago.
They want to educate the rest of the world, so it may learn from it's past transgressions.
“People don't know what happened in that country,” said Francois-Regis Kabahazi, Vice President of the Rwandan Community of Canada and event organizer.
“What happened in that country can happen anywhere in the world.”
Kavahazi spoke to those attending the walk of remembrance on the steps of the legislative building in the rain.
“In Rwanda, the months of April and May is the rain season,” he said. “So we are actually commemorating in the real sense of what was happening then.”
Political leaders from both sides of the aisle attended the commemoration in solidarity with the Rwandan people.
Regina-Qu’Appelle Conservative MP Andrew Scheer, Regina-Rosemont NDP MLA Trent Wotherspoon, and Regina-Coronation Park Sask. Party MLA Mark Docherty all speaking of unity.
The Rwandan people see the next generation as a renewal and are hopeful young people will continue to carry the torch of education and remembrance.
“They will know there is no more Hutu, Tutsis or Twa in Rwanda anymore at this point,” said Ikobe. “Everyone is Rwandese and everybody is one.”