Monday, August 10, 2009

Kigali Memorial Centre

Visited the Kigali Memorial Centre today, a memorial for 1994 genocide which killed a million. The centre was small but well installed. History of the genocide development was displayed, was quite unexpected to learn that it was programmed by the Belgium ruler then. In fact the genocide had started years earlier until it was pacified by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) led by the present president in 1994. During this period 2/3 of the populations fled to the neighbouring countries. The majority Hutu tribe set up road blocks in many places, Tutsi was murdered, raped, beaten… Grenades were thrown into the church where women, children and elders were seeking refuge. The notorious radio station broadcasted hatred towards Tutsi meanwhile. UN did not re-act promptly to stop the massacre, they realized too late the severity of this case. The 2nd deployment arrived only after the war was eventually controlled by RPF.

The exhibits comprised of photos and some documentary clips, most of the images were not gory. Thousands of photos contributed by the victims’ family decorated the walls.

Outside the building, there were a few mass graves burying up to 300,000 dead souls. The tidily trimmed garden with blooming roses and wild flowers couldn’t shed off the solemn atmosphere.

Photographing was not allowed inside the building.