Rwanda Genocide Memorial : In 1994, a tragedy of massive killing befell Rwanda.  In just 100 days of slaughter, over 800,000 people were slaughtered by the Hutu extremists as they were targeting members of the minority Tutsi community as well as their political opponents regardless of their ethnic origin. Rwanda Genocide of 1994 was documented all over the world and people and organizations all over the world sympathized and prayed for Rwanda.

Rwanda genocide of 1994 was a tribal conflict between the majority Hutu taking about 85% and the minority Tutsi, the conflict started as a result of the Hutus overthrowing the Tutsi Monarch and this overthrow resulted into over ten of thousands of Tutsis fleeing from Rwanda to the neighboring countries including Uganda. In the April rains to July of 1994, over 1 million people were killed. The Rwanda genocide started as a tribal conflict that later turned extremely bloody, the aim of the majority Hutu was to wipe the land of Tutsi in a bid to purify the land.

The Rwanda genocide of 1994 was so tragic and very scaring that up to today which is 20 years late, the people of Rwanda have not forgotten, today a slogan of “never gain” rings in this small country.

Rwanda Genocide Memorial
Rwanda Genocide Memorial

To commemorate the tragic Rwanda Genocide, genocide memorials were established across the country so that remind both the Rwanda people and visitors of the evil that happened on their land, this evil was not stopped by the UN (United Nations), The USA or any other international forces. It was only stopped by the Rwandans led by their current president Paul Kagame in a movement that defeated the forces of the Nterahamwe who were practicing the ethnic cleansing and the government then.

By the end of July of 1994, the beautiful Rwanda was a shadow of itself, there were dead bodies all over the streets and villages, some of the bodies were washed into Uganda by flowing rivers as far as Lake Victoria. Regardless of history, Rwanda has rose from the ashes of hatred and destruction and in over the last twenty years, it has been slowly but steadily rebuilt.

Some of the genocide memorial sites in Rwanda

Rwanda Genocide Memorial sites are spread across Rwanda and here are some of them

Kigali Genocide Memorial Site

Kigali Genocide Memorial Site is one of the biggest Rwanda genocide memorial centres in Rwanda located in Gisozi, the site is a resting place for more than 250,000 victims against the Tutsi. The genocide is not only a resting place for the genocide victims, it is an educational center educating both the locals and the foreigners about how the genocide against the Tutsi took shape and examines in the 20th century.

Kigali Genocide Memorial Site was inaugurated in 2004, the genocide consists of a wall of names that is dedicated to those who died and is a work still in progress as many of the victims’ names have yet to be gathered and documented, still many victims resting in the graves are unknown. There is the selection of children, the burial site which is covered over with concrete, inside there are letters and pictures of the victims.

Rwanda Genocide Memorial
Kigali Genocide Memorial Site

Kigali Genocide Memorial site is a sacred place to both local Rwandese and foreigners, visiting the site gives one a new perspective on life and things that happened during the genocide. It is also a reminder that good things will always overcome evil and is a lesson in forgiveness and reconciliation to Rwanda and the whole world.

During your visit to Kigali Genocide Memorial Site you get a guided walk through the site, the guide is usually a survivor with his own story to tell, the story is always very moving and meaningful experience.

Gisenyi genocide Memorial Site

The Gisenyi Memorial Site is one of the very first memorial sites to be built in Rwanda, the site is located in Gisenyi, a city on the edge of Lake Kivu close to Rwanda’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo in North Kivu region. The site was built by the IBIKA Survivor Organization together with the Rwandan ministry of sports and culture, Gisenyi genocide Memorial site appears to be a cemetery however the site hosts remains of over 12,000 victims killed during the 1994 Genocide.

Nearby is where one of the infamous Nterahamwe Roadblock was located, between April and May of 1994. The area near the cemetery was called Commune Rouge, there was a roadblock called Corniche which were the Tutsi were identified by their national identity cards and appearance and taken near the center and from the Nyando community to be killed with crude machetes. There is no visitors’ center here yet.

Nyamata church genocide memorial site

Nyamata Church Genocide Memorial site is one of the 6 national Genocide memorial sites in Rwanda located in the Bugesera district, 35 kilometers from Kigali city. The church or the site was desacralized by the Roman Catholic Church on 11th April and transformed into a memorial site to the victims of the genocide. In the period of 14th – 18th April, over 10,000 people were in and around the church and as the genocide these people were attacked and slaughtered. Today, what was once a place of praising and rejoice is silent and just a place of remembrance. There are still bullet holes in the roof and blood spatters on the alter, and all the reminders of dark times in Rwanda. The church has access to the basement in the back, this is now catacomb—filled with rows of skulls, bones and coffins which is a reminder of the senselessness of hate. At the main entrance of church, there is a banner that translates as “if you had known me and you had really known yourself, you would not have killed me”.

Rwanda Genocide Memorial
Nyamatata Genocide

Murambi genocide memorial

Murambi genocide memorial is a very graphic display of the victims that were murdered, though it is easy for some people to deny that genocide ever happened but Murambi with its contorted corpses gives testimony that the Genocide took place. Over an estimate of 27,000 – 50,000 souls have their final resting place as a reminder of what took place in the 100 days of darkness and hell that descended on the Land of a Thousand Hills – Rwanda.

History fact about the Rwanda Genocide in Murambi area

When the genocide reached the Murambi area, thousands of Tutsis fled their homes and sought refuge in the Catholic Church – the Bishop insisted that they move from the church to a technical school in Murambi where they would get protection from the French.

On April 21 19994, the Nterahamwe descended on the school at Murambi and butchered thousands of Tutsis who were there, the few policemen who were there fled before the Massacre leaving the Tutsis who were there with no protection.

Other Rwanda Genocide Memorial sites include The Nyarubuye Church Memorial Site, the Nyanza Genocide Memorial Site, Ntarama Church Genocide Memorial Site, Bisesero Genocide Memorial Site and the Genocide Memorial in Rwanda.

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