Every April 7, Rwandans honor over a million victims of the Genocide Against the Tutsi. And for most of those who witnessed and survived the horrors, 29 years ago still feels like yesterday.
Unfortunately, we are seeing a growing trend, particularly on social media where people are distorting the facts and spreading disinformation with the intent to not only deny that the genocide happened but also promote genocide ideology.
This is akin to killing victims and survivors a second time. This underscores the importance of revisiting history to reinforce how the Genocide Against Tutsi was planned and executed, particularly to an increasingly young generation that never witnessed it.
We have a duty to preserve the memory of all victims and their suffering. We owe it to those who perished in the genocide, we owe it to the survivors, and we owe it to our future generations.
While the government recently started using innovative ways to share information about the Genocide including sharing information on social media targeting the young generation, it will take more than creating social media content.
More needs to be done including developing a compulsory curriculum for all students including elementary levels. This would force students to study the subject. It is also important to provide research grants in different schools to motivate academic institutions to study genocide as a subject.
Perhaps more importantly, we know that unless people take it upon themselves to recognise and learn about the Genocide Against the Tutsi, history will continue to be distorted and the deniers will have a walk in the park distorting facts.
Protecting our history should be everybody's business, and an interconnected approach among all age groups is necessary, but for the sake of historic preservation, engaging young people is key to sustainability.
However, raising awareness among the youth should take place in an environment that encourages dialogue rather than just preaching. In practice, it means exploring opportunities with and for young people to discover how the Genocide Against the Tutsi was planned and executed independently.
Moreover, the digital sphere offers endless opportunities for young people to communicate how they are engaging with their history. In particular, social media offers real opportunities for the broad-based dissemination of facts about the Genocide.
It is of key importance that youth is actively involved in Genocide Commemoration activities so that they can build commitment and strengthen action in favour of preserving our history.
Thus, efforts employed today will benefit not only the present generation but also the generations of the future.