French President Emmanuel Macron this Thursday, during an official visit to Rwanda, recognized the European country’s “overwhelming responsibility” for the 1994 genocide that killed more than 800,000 people, despite stressing that Paris was “not him” was an accomplice “to the massacres.
“I am at your side today with humility and respect to acknowledge the breadth of our responsibilities,” said Macron, who stated before boarding the plane to Kigali that the goal was to “create a new side of relations with Rwanda and Rwanda.” put together. ” Africa “.
He stressed that those responsible for the genocide “did not have the face of France that was not an accomplice”. “The blood shed did not dishonor their weapons or the hands of their soldiers, who saw the unspeakable with their eyes, healed wounds and dried their tears,” he defended.
“France, however, had a role, a history and a political responsibility in Rwanda. It has a duty to face history and recognize the part of the suffering it has caused the Rwandan people by being silent for too long.” testing the truth, “pointed out.
In this way it has stressed that “France, in joining a conflict in the 1990s it was not in before, did not listen to the voice of those who warned it or overestimated its strength when it thought it was can stop what is already. ” it was in progress, “says the transcript of his statements from the Elysee.
“France has failed to understand that France is actually stepping on the side of a genocidal regime by trying to avoid regional conflict or civil war. By ignoring the warnings of the clearest observers, France sustains a situation where this is the case , an overwhelming responsibility. ” led to something worse, something that was carefully trying to avoid, “he said.
Macron stressed that France “along with Africans thought that peace had been achieved” with the Arusha Conference in 1993, which, after three years of civil war, resulted in a peace agreement between the government and the Rwandan rebel Patriotic Front (RPF) .
“His officials and his diplomats had worked to convince that compromise and distribution of power could prevail. Their efforts were commendable and courageous, but they were carried away by a genocidal mechanism that did not want an obstacle to their monstrous planning,” he complained.
The President also noted that it took the international community “three endless months to react to the start of the genocide”. “We all leave hundreds of thousands of victims to this hellish detention,” he said.
In this sense, he stressed that “although the French officials later had the clarity and courage to describe what had happened as genocide, France did not know how to draw the appropriate conclusions”. “After that there was 27 years of distancing, misunderstanding, sincere but unsuccessful advances,” he said.
Macron has “highlighted the silence of more than a million men, women and children who are not here to remember this endless eclipse of humanity” and highlighted the importance of what survivors said to speak about what happened . “These words speak of a tragedy that has a name: genocide,” he said. “Genocide cannot be compared. It has a genealogy. It has a history. It is unique,” he said.
“The murderers had nothing but a criminal obsession: the Tutsis, to exterminate all Tutsis. Men, women, parents, children. This obsession won everyone who wanted to get in the way but never lost their goal,” he said. told.
In this sense, he has recognized that “a genocide comes from afar, he is preparing, he is methodically possessing the spirits in order to abolish the humanity of the other”. “It is installed through daily humiliations, separations and deportations. After the absolute hatred, the mechanics of extermination are revealed,” he said.
“Genocide cannot be erased. It is indelible. It never ends. We do not live after genocide, we live with it as we can,” he said before emphasizing, “in Rwanda it is said that the birds don’t sing on April 7th “. “In the name of life we have to say it, give it a name, recognize it,” he said.
Macron declared that “there are 27 years of suffering for those whose intimate stories remain struck by the antagonism of memories” and promised to “continue the work of recognition and truth” to determine what happened in the African country around which he was asked the “open file”.
“The recognition of this past also and above all continues the work of the judiciary. We are committed to ensuring that no suspect of genocidal crimes can escape the judiciary,” he said after criticizing Kigali for the obstacles to the extradition of the alleged perpetrators .
He also said that “recognizing this past, responsibility, is a gesture that seeks no counterpart.” “It is a demand on ourselves, a debt to the victims after so many past silences, and a gift to the living who, if they accept it, we can alleviate their pain.”
“This journey of recognition through our debts, our donations offers us hope to get out of this night and go together again. In this way, only those who have spent the night can perhaps forgive and give us the gift to forgive ourselves . “, he emphasized.
Macron also pointed out in a message to the “Rwandan youth” that “another reunion is possible” and stressed that “the possibility of a respectful, clear, supportive and mutually demanding alliance between the youth of Rwanda and the youth of France consists” “.
Macron’s trip to Kigali came about a week after Rwandan President Paul Kagame declared that “there is a basis for developing a good relationship” between the two countries after the “Duclert Report” was published in France, in which the Role discussed by Paris during the 1994 genocide.
Kagame said in an interview with France 24 and Radio France Internationale that both countries have “the opportunity” to maintain this relationship “as it should have been in the past”. “The rest we can leave behind. You can’t forget, but you can forgive and move on,” he added.
The Rwandan head of state emphasized that although the “Duclert report” did not find France’s complicity in the genocide, “the most important things were covered”. “The great and overwhelming responsibility of France has been recognized. It is enormous and it says a lot,” he argued.
With that in mind, he claimed that the report “is a big step forward” adding that “the truth has been established by two commissions, one French and one Rwandan”. “For the first time there is convergence,” he applauded.
“I can adapt to the conclusions of this report,” he said. “I’m not the one who should say what you should have brought to your conclusions. You are two independent commissions of inquiry, although I have my opinion having lived through these events,” decided the one who was chairman of the RPF and president the militia prevailed. After an offensive to end the genocide.
Around 800,000 Rwandans, the vast majority of them Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were killed by Hutu extremists for about three months in 1994. Mass graves are still being discovered today, especially since convicts who have served their sentences were given information about the place where their victims were buried or abandoned.