KIGALI, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Rwanda on Friday paid tribute to the youth killed during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi at a forum held in the Gisagara district, Southern Province.
The event drew more than 1,000 young people, government officials, and genocide survivors who gathered to remember the slain young people.
Officiating the event, Rwandan First Lady Jeannette Kagame conveyed a message of strength to those who lost their parents, relatives, and friends, and encouraged them to be resilient and rebuild their lives. She urged Rwandan youth to actively combat those who distort the country's history, particularly regarding the genocide.
"Reflect on your role in protecting and preserving what has been achieved and consider how to utilize digital platforms to present an accurate depiction of our country and the truth of our history," she told the youth at the forum.
She emphasized the importance of utilizing available technologies to access education as a catalyst for development. She, however, cautioned against being misled by the plethora of information found on the internet.
"Youth, you are the promise and unwavering strength of our country. As parents, we hope that in the future, you will look back with joy at your contributions to preserving the legacy of unity," she said.
Speaking at the event, Abdallah Utumatwishima, Rwandan minister of Youth, expressed his bewilderment and questioned how conscious individuals could mercilessly engage in the killing of children, parents, neighbors, and young people.
He attributed this phenomenon to the long-standing promotion of hatred in schools and families, stressing the importance of counteracting such teachings and ensuring that young people are not influenced by hate.
Utumatwishima urged the youth to denounce anyone attempting to revive ethnic divisions among Rwandans, emphasizing that the true enemy Rwanda faces is the one who seeks to dismantle the unity of its people.
The event aimed to provide the youth with a platform to discuss their responsibility in safeguarding and maintaining the accomplishments made thus far, as well as promoting "Ndi Umunyarwanda," which means "I am Rwandan" in Kinyarwanda, an official language of Rwanda, as a shared identity among them.
Rwandans on April 7 started the commemoration activities to mark the 29th anniversary of the 1994 genocide under the theme "Remember-Unite-Renew."
The activities will continue until July 4 to mark the 100-day calamity, during which more than 1 million people, mainly Tutsi and moderate Hutus, were killed in 1994. ■