- Excellencies Heads of State and Government;
- Excellency Secretary-General of the United Nations;
- Excellency Chairperson of the African Union Commission;
- Former Heads of State and Government;
- Distinguished Government Officials from around the world;
- Esteemed Guests;
My Fellow Rwandans:
”Your sacrifices are a gift to the nation. They are the seed from which the new Rwanda grows. Thank you for allowing your humanity and patriotism to prevail over your grief and loss. Thank you very much.
Historical clarity is a duty of memory that we cannot escape. Behind the words “Never Again”, there is a story whose truth must be told in full, no matter how uncomfortable.
The people who planned and carried out the Genocide were Rwandans, but the history and root causes go beyond this country.
People cannot be bribed into changing their history. And no country is powerful enough, even when they think that they are, to change the facts. After all, les faits sont têtus (facts are stubborn)
The most devastating legacy of European control of Rwanda was the transformation of social distinctions into so-called “races”. We were classified and dissected, and whatever differences existed were magnified according to a framework invented elsewhere.
The purpose was neither scientific nor benign, but ideological: to justify colonial claims to rule over and “civilize” supposedly “lesser” peoples. We are not.
The colonial theory of Rwandan society claimed that hostility between something called “Hutu”, “Tutsi”, and “Twa” was permanent and necessary.
With the full participation of Belgian officials and Catholic institutions, this invented history was made the only basis of political organization, as if there was no other way to govern and develop society.
However, Africans are no longer resigned to being hostage to the world’s low expectations. We listen to and respect the views of others. But ultimately, we have got to be responsible for ourselves.
In Rwanda, we are relying on universal human values, which include our culture and traditions, to find modern solutions to our unique challenges. This is why I say to Rwandans, let’s not get diverted. Our approach is as radical and unprecedented as the situation we faced.
Managing the diversity in our society should not be seen as denying the uniqueness of every Rwandan. If we succeed in forging a new, more inclusive national identity, would it be a bad thing?
To our friends from abroad:
We ask that you engage Rwanda and Africa with an open mind.
We want you to know that we appreciate your contributions, precisely because we do not feel you owe us anything.
Rwanda was supposed to be a failed state. But we made three fundamental choices that guide us to this day. One- we chose to stay together. Two, we chose to be accountable to ourselves. Three, we chose to think big.”
The full speech can be found here:allafrica.com