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Remembering the Rwandan genocide 30 years later

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A group of Calgarians gathered Saturday for a memorial event hosted by the Rwandan Canadian Society of Calgary to mark the 30th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.

In 1994, 800,000 Rwandans, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were killed by militia groups dominated by Hutus and members of the Rwandan army.

Saturday’s event involved survivors who relocated to other parts of the world after the genocide, who have spent the ensuing three decades trying to recover from the trauma and grief of that event.

Clementine Msengi, the author of Spared: Escaping Genocide in Rwanda and Finding a Home in America, was the keynote speaker.

“It is very difficult for me to comprehend or even explain, the suffering is so deep, and it goes beyond just surviving,” said Msengi. “Because you're there, and then all the sudden you are in hiding.

“But I can say," she added,  "that I've been able to rebuild by God's grace and the good people in my life.  So I'm here today, sharing that story.”

Calgarians attend memorial event marking 30th anniversary of Rwandan massacre on April 13, 2024 at Mount Royal University.

Msengi is now a visiting professor at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.

She was asked what the world can learn from what happened in Rwanda 30 years ago.

“I hope by learning how this can be (that) has had such bad consequences, we can find a way to live in peace and continue to promote peace and love,” she said.

“Kindness goes a long way.”

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