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On the 30th Anniversary, We Still Remember Rwanda

It's a somber day - April 7, 2024. It's the 30th anniversary of the day when all hell broke loose against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Within 100 days, over one million Tutsis, and their Hutu allies, were dead. Killed. In Rwanda. Please take a moment to remember them with me now.

I am marking this anniversary in Uganda. Next week I will be in Rwanda, visiting memorial sites and learning about the long, difficult road to peace that Rwanda forged after the genocide. In his address, His Excellency Paul Kagame said, “The lessons we learned were engraved in blood…The foundation of everything is unity. That was the first choice – to believe in the idea of a united Rwanda, and to live accordingly.”


"The foundation of everything is unity."  – His Excellency Paul Kagame


The Rwandan genocide is what compelled me to become a peacebuilder years ago. The moral wound on my heart, that some humans could treat each other so cruelly, while others died so heroically trying to protect them, has largely been covered by scar tissue now, but it reopens on days like today. But the much deeper wounds are those on the bodies of Rwandan survivors, and on the soul of every Rwandan: that their families, communities and country ruptured so widely. God be with them, because only a miracle can heal such deep wounds. Yet, miraculously, they have moved forward bravely to become an example of reconciliation in east Africa, and the world.

We cannot become complacent. As President Kagame said today, "Rwanda’s tragedy is a warning. The process of division and extremism which leads to genocide can happen anywhere if left unchecked." We see it in right-wing politics in the west, and the tribalism that still impacts many African countries today. We must heed Kagame's warning to "stand firm against the politics of ethnic populism in any form. ...[O]ur politics are not organized on the basis of ethnicity or religion, and never will be again."

I call this unity the One Global Family. We are one humanity, one family, and we must learn to include others beyond race, ethnicity, gender, class and borders if we are to enjoy a peaceful future for us all. Discrimination leads to abuses that foment discontent and foster conflict. Unity, equality and justice for all are lead to peace. 

Today, I want to dedicate especially the final verse of my poem, Cry, to Rwanda, as it remembers the darkness, while celebrating the light.




Cry for peace, Rwanda

Let justice flow down like rivers

And peace like everlasting streams



We will never forget the lost ones, the lost years

But we will never be enslaved to them again



Proclaim it aloud –

all are equal


Sisters and brothers in one family

Let every life be precious

Let every one be loved



May you know that you are priceless


May you grow into an abundance of love




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