Rwanda, 18 years later

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On Saturday, April 14th, the association Bene Rwanda organized a conference entitled “Shared Memory” to commemorate the eighteenth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. The director of the Guarini Institute for Public Affairs, JCU Professor Federigo Argentieri, was invited to participate as a guest speaker; “I am not an expert in African politics”, he clarified, “but as my students know well, I am committed to the cause and I have always devoted much time investigating the issue in my classes; I think that it is our duty to commemorate what happened and awake young people’s awareness in order to avoid the possibility of another such tragedy in the 21st century”. He then went on explaining to the heterogeneous audience – formed of students from Italian high schools, diplomats from various African countries, workers of various NGOs and more – the historical background and the combination of factors which made it possible for the perpetrators to carry on the genocide almost with impunity.

After his speech the floor went to Ms. Yolande Mukagasana, a survivor of the genocide, who recalled the terrible days in which she lost everything: her family, her house, and her job vanished in few months. She has found a new meaning to her life not by forgetting what has happened but, on the contrary, through the restless reiteration of her duty as a survivor to remember and campaign for justice. Nowadays she is working for the Rwandan government to the reconstruction process; her powerful words were very effective and have caused many interested reactions from the audience.

Conclusions were finally drawn by the main Italian union (CGIL) responsible for immigrant workers Roberto Cellini and by Rome Provincial Government member Gianluca Peciola, who linked the theme of remembering the past, seeking truth and justice, to current topics such as racial integration, both abroad and at home, and the importance of building a future based on cooperation.