Macron Proposes Annual Day of Commemoration for Rwanda Genocide

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French President Emmanuel Macron proposed an annual day of commemoration for the Rwanda genocide on Sunday as the African nation marked 25 years since the massacres of the minority Tutsi community.

The French leader expressed his "solidarity with the Rwandan people and his compassion for the victims and their families" in a statement that proposed April 7 as an annual remembrance day in France.

Macron drew criticism from some activists for failing to attend the start of commemoration events in Rwanda on Sunday, instead sending a personal envoy, a Rwandan-born MP Herve Berville who was orphaned in the 1993 violence.

A Rwandan victims' group, Ibuka France, hailed Macron's announcement of a national Rwanda genocide day and said it had suggested the idea during a meeting with the 41-year-old leader last week.

"My reaction is one of satisfaction," the head of the group, Marcel Kabanda, said before adding that he hoped France would now introspect more about its role in the massacres.

"It's not the French population fundamentally, but the political elite that needs to talk about it more. It will take time but it's a new phase," he told AFP.

The genocide has cast a long shadow over Franco-Rwandan relations.

Rwanda's current President Paul Kagame, a Tutsi, accuses France of having supported the ethnic Hutu forces behind most of the slaughter and of helping some of the perpetrators to escape.

On Friday, Macron announced the creation of a commission of historians and researchers that will delve into the French state's archives in a move intended to set the historical record straight.

Comments 1
Thumb chrisrushlau 08 April 2019, 18:42

Germany and Belgium established the "Tutsi", a sub-group of the same ethnic (linguistic) group as the other sub-group, "Hutus", to rule Lakes Region colonies. The "Tutsi"-to-be was chosen if he was taller, or had a thinner nose, or had more cattle.
This was class warfare.
"But what were they all so angry about?"
"They" should be even more angry now, at the way Europe has ignored the crucial detail: this was not tribalism, as Europeans love to diagnose the African malady, since Tutsis and Hutus are the same tribe, the same language, the same history until Germany and then Belgium set up this class system.
Paul Kagame is a good friend of Israel, whose mineral interests in the region shape recent events. After Kagame's death, he will be immortalized as Rwanda's eternal president, just as Ariel Sharon is Israel's.
Walt Disney has created an "animatronic" Kagame to receive delegations and set policy, "ensuring stability and security well into the millennium".