Remember Rwanda!

There is palpable tension in the land. Of late, ballistic verbal missiles of ethnocentric proportions have been flying across both sides of the Niger. Threats of war, eviction notices and other hubris that tend to undermine our national security are increasingly becoming part of our socio-political reality this moment.

Unfortunately, apart from playing semantic gymnastics, nothing concrete is being done about the whole caboodle by the authorities and the situation is getting worse by the day. Hate messages are being spread with reckless abandon on the social media. Otherwise decent and respectable men are joining the fray with divisive and vitriolic statements. Before it is too late, the “combatants” should be called to order.

Apart from the abundant lessons in our unfortunate Civil War, the 1994 genocide in Rwanda provides an easy reference. A former colony of Belgium, Rwanda is a Central African country populated chiefly by two major ethnic groups which the Belgian colonists exploited to deepen division. Rather than work together after Independence, political actors exploited the colonial legacy and polarised the country further to their own advantage.

There had always been ethnic tensions between the Hutus and the Tutsis, which escalated in the early 90’s.  Then, where there are tensions, people only wait for a trigger and that was what happened on April 6, 1994 when President Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane was shot down in the capital, Kigali.  The violence was instantaneous.

For a period of 100 days, from April 6, 1995 to July 16, 1994, it was genocide throughout Rwanda. The world was horrified as a terrible campaign of bloodbath overtook the whole country. On the average, six men, women and children were killed every minute of the entire period. About 20% of the Rwandan population were killed, mostly the Tutsis. The President was from the majority Hutu.

The media being used to stoke ethnic tension need to also remember Rwanda. The media especially played a very bad role in instigating the violence that engulfed the country. At the beginning of the disaster, the RTLM broadcast to the Hutus to “cut down the tall trees”, referring to the Tutsis. The Tutsis were also branded by the same media as cockroaches which the Hutus were charged to crush. As many as 70% of the Tutsis living in Rwanda then were slaughtered in cold blood.

According to statistics, one in four households in Rwanda is headed by children, the eldest sibling. Today, 70% of the Rwandan population are female and 20,000 children were conceived through rape. Though the scars of that conflict are healing fast especially with the measures being taken by the to unify the country and rebrand the nation, surviving victims of the atrocities still struggle to heal their memories. The genocide is part of the nation’s dark history that cannot be forgotten.

For Africans and Nigerians especially, the tragedy of Rwanda should always be borne in mind as a bloody page of our history. Those who beat the drums of war should think twice because war is not mathematics. As Martin Luther memorably said, “War is the greatest plague that can afflict humanity, it destroys religion, it destroys states, it destroys families. Any scourge is preferable to it.”

The evidence of this plague, this awful scourge, is glaring in South Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and other places embroiled in large-scale conflicts. It is not reasonable to tread that path but to explore peaceful means to address our grievances in order to avoid the looming disaster. This situation requires and bridge-building. Someone has to steer the Titanic away from the iceberg ahead.

If Nigeria slips into a major crisis, who are the beneficiaries? The beneficiaries will be the foreigners who will be meddling in the situation, the manufacturers of weapons, and the ubiquitous relief agencies that would swarm Nigeria like vultures. We make ourselves mince meat.

The time to drop the metal and pick the petal is now. There is no alternative to peace; any scourge is preferable to war.

Related Posts

38 Responses

  1. Folorunso Fatai Adisa

    Wars are no picnics. It is a game of death—you shoot me, I shoot you. The person who wins is the first to shoot accurately.
    Besides, anyone who staunchly believes any religious or socio-cultural organization is genuinely after their interest must be a case study in delusion.

    Notably, all these organizations are merely out for their own financial, economic and political interests. If people could use their utterances to set this country on fire, those who love it should always counter speak to quench it. And they must know that to put out fire is more difficult than starting it. We have a duty to speak life into every area others speak death.
    In the end, violence benefits nobody.
    Like you noted above(Remember Rwanda), I’ll second it by saying- See Somalia.

    May Almighty Allah reward you abundantly for this timely ‘gbere ipako’ . thank you.

    View Comment
    Reply
  2. Folorunso Adisa Fatai
    Folorunso Adisa Fatai

    Wars are no picnics. It is a game of death—you shoot me, I shoot you. The person who wins is the first to shoot accurately.

    Besides, anyone who staunchly believes any religious or socio-cultural organization is genuinely after their interest must be a case study in delusion.

    Notably, all these organizations are merely out for their own financial, economic and political interests. If people could use their utterances to set this country on fire, those who love it should make it a duty to always counter speak to quench it. And they must know that to put out fire is more difficult than starting it. We have a duty to speak life into every area others speak death.
    As noted above(Remember Rwanda), I’d like to second it by saying ( #See_Somalia).
    May Almighty Allah reward you bountifully for this timely ‘gbere ipako’. Many thanks sir.

    View Comment
    Reply
  3. Festus Ogunyinka
    Festus Ogunyinka

    Each time l read about wars, my blood runs cold, my heart skips beats and I feel more blood racing round my brain.
    It was Churchill who said in the lron Curtain speech that World War 2 could have been prevented ‘without firing a single shot’
    …just imagine the eventual carnage!

    View Comment
    Reply
    • Mahfouz Adedimeji
      Mahfouz Adedimeji

      Honestly, that is the way many of us feel, especially with the gory images of beamed to our living rooms from various theatres of war in the world. It is therefore sensenumbing that some people get fascinated by war the same way a snake fascinates a bird – a silly little bird.

      View Comment
      Reply
  4. Adebayo Abdulrazaq Laro Sinatra
    Adebayo Abdulrazaq Laro Sinatra

    We humans never, & will never learn from history. Ironically history has been deleted from schools syllabus hence the inability of the present & coming unborn generation to know how, when,why, what & who were responsible for the events of the past. A big pity.

    View Comment
    Reply
    • Mahfouz Adedimeji
      Mahfouz Adedimeji

      It’s quite unfortunate, Dr. Cicero said something to the effect that to stumble twice over the same stone is a proverbial disgrace. But since we have people who do not know the meaning of disgrace, they prefer to stumble 20 times over the same stone without learning any lesson.

      View Comment
      Reply
  5. Idiaro Hanafi Babatunde
    Idiaro Hanafi Babatunde

    The memory of the civil war lingers on and its implications is part of the reasons for our current turbulent. Those that can facilitate the secession among them are dining and winning with people of other regions. I pity the unknown and the poor among them.

    View Comment
    Reply
  6. Bakreen AbdulRazaq

    Thank you sir for the dip into history as we must learn from it. My concern lies with the style of conflict journalism we have across the globe. A special case of Africa and Middle East that are clearly tensed with socio-cultural dichotomies cum pressures, shouldn’t both local and international news media champion a constructive and peaceful journalism? I don’t believe peace journalism neglect reality, even if there is violence or tension in the land, I am convinced that constructive and investigative journalism tailored towards peace-seeking, peace-making and peace-keeping would go along way forestalling violence and restoring tranquility. On the other hands, war war war!!! it isn’t cheer making scenario even as the perpetrators kick as though it were a melody, when it comes the stone thrown at the market could set the thrower’s home on fire. Family is decimated, legacies are truncated and the living smiles on child’s face disappears while that agony and dread replaces. Haven’t we seen the Syrian child? Don’t we want the joy of a Chinese boy who create and plays with robotic inventories? Nigeria and Africa must ignore the call of war and embrace the path of peace. We must discern the recurring colonial demons that lurk our tracks, we must fight it head-on and bring home harmony to the diverse quarters. I believe in diversity there is many opportunities to reach greatness.
    Thank you.

    View Comment
    Reply
  7. Olayiwola Muyideen Olalere
    Olayiwola Muyideen Olalere

    War!!! Hmmmm!!! They should remember Riwanda, think Somalia, ask Sudan and Southern Sudan. Shallow thought is the source.
    Biafara!!! Millions led to grave and the Hero jetted out. The leader recorded no casualty from his nuclear family.
    Naija ronuuuuuuu

    View Comment
    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Follow

Follow this blog

Get a daily email of all new posts.

Email address