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Flame of Remembrance lit as Rwanda launches Kwibuka20 commemorative activities

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The launch took place at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi, Kigali. It was marked by the lighting of the Kwibuka Flame (flame of remembrance) which will travel through Rwanda’s thirty districts before returning to Kigali on 7 April 2014, the commencement of the national mourning period.

The flame was passed from Elder Eric Nzabihimana, who was part of the resistance movement in Bisesero during the genocide, to two 20 year old youth, a symbol of the light of remembrance and hope passing to the next generation.

At the launch, Minister Mitali said that the 20th Commemoration is special time to reflect on the Genocide and not forgot our history. He also called those who deny the Genocide against the Tutsi to change course.

\”We must continue to fight Genocide denial and uphold historical facts.”

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Louise Mushikiwabo said it is a time to join in solemn remembrance, to reflect on the past twenty years, and to turn our attention to the challenges that lie ahead.

“In the last twenty years, Rwandans have experienced pain and challenges, but we have also seen progress and opportunity’.

She said that since the end of the Genocide, citizens and leaders have worked hard to solidly set Rwanda on a foundation of lasting peace and prosperity, even as it continues to make modest contribution to stability on the continent and in the world.

“So as we look back, we also seek to remember, as a nation, our vision of a better future for all Rwandans and what we need to do to achieve this goal,” said Mushikiwabo.

Minister Mushikiwabo called called on everyone to use website www.kwibuka.rw, a resource designed to enable anyone, anywhere in the world, to engage in commemoration-related activities and organise their own events.

She reminded Rwandans and the international community that it is incumbent upon to us all to recall truthfully the events of 1994 and therefore redouble efforts to bring historical clarity to bear.

’We cannot escape the past, and we should not try. We are bound to our history but, with honest and compassionate reflection, we are not bound to repeat it. In fact, it is only in memory can we find the seeds of renewal.”

As the Flame of Remembrance tours the country, community conversations will take place in each district, offering Rwandans the opportunity to reflect on the events of 1994 as well as the country’s journey since. The Kwibuka Flame symbolises remembrance as well as the resilience and courage of Rwandans over the past twenty years.

Today’s event also included the premiere of the Kwibuka20 ‘Remember, Unite, Renew’ short film.

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