Today marks the 22nd liberation commemoration since the Liberation of our Motherland, a day that will forever decide who we are as a People.
It is not only a day that marks the fall of the genocidal regime, when Kigali fell to the RPF, but a day when good triumphed over evil.
It is a day that succinctly defines that which is good and right. The very essence of the Rwandan spirit.
Men and women of the RPF gallantry put their lives on the line and said enough is enough to evil, and a new Nation was born. But this change did not come cheaply: millions lost their lives, and Rwanda’s sons and daughters paid the ultimate price to curve an island of peace and tranquility in a sea of blood. We must never forget or let their names fade into history pages.
In the words of Nelson Mandela, “courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” Our fighting men and women proved this philosophy valid.
Much as this day is etched in blood, with it came the birth of a new nation where all Rwandans realized that we are one and the same, and mayhem and bloodshed is no way to resolve our differences, political or otherwise.
Liberation Day (not independence) reminds us the we all bear collective responsibility for Rwanda’s prosperity and tranquility, and never again shall Rwandan blood be shed by small thinking and evil minds across the lush and beautiful land of a thousand hills that our forefathers called home.
The international community, that amorphous entity, idly stood by and watched us perish. Liberation Day then surely must rudely remind us, if you will, that never again shall we put our salvation in the hands of others. But it also must remind us that Rwanda’s future lies in our hands, and we will never abdicate this awesome responsibility. Future generations would never forgive us.
This day must remind us of our kith and kin who needlessly perished because of an accident of birth. To them we owe a duty to make sure that “Never again” is not empty rhetoric.
Like it or not, Liberation Day summons us to do that which is not easy: forgive. Our humanity is challenged, but if Rwanda is to rise and shine again, forgive we must.
But, we must never forget.
We are collectively assigned a heavy burden of challenging our minds and soul to not let our past define our future. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “the present is an edifice which God cannot rebuild.”
Indeed, “the present is the living sum-total of the whole past.” The future belongs to those who live intensely in the present.
Happy Liberation Day.