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Memories Kept Alive by Rwanda’s post-genocide guide – RWANDA



Source: (Reuters)


Every weekday, Aline Uwase Turatsinze gets up, washes her face and rides a motorbike to the site where more than 60 members of her family were buried after being murdered.

Aline Uwase, a Rwandan genocide survivor stands near the pictures of victims donated by survivors inside the Genocide Museum in Gisozi within Kigali, Rwanda April 3, 2019. REUTERS/Jean Bizimana

The quiet woman with the long braids is a guide at Rwanda’s genocide museum, a memorial to the killing that claimed 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu lives after the then-president’s plane was shot down on April 7, 1994.

Uwase, who turns 25 on Friday, was two days old when the bloodshed began.

“I lost a lot of people,” she said.

“It’s a responsibility to be standing here … I am protecting the memory but as well putting the ‘Never again’ slogan in action so that it might not happen anywhere in the world. Not in Rwanda, not anywhere in the world.”

The Gisozi Memorial site is the final resting place of more than a quarter of a million people killed during the 100 days of genocide. Uwase wants visitors to see the memorial as a place of respect and learning, not bitterness or recrimination.

“We have reconciled,” she said, echoing the line of a government that strongly discourages any talk of ethnicity. “It doesn’t matter who I marry, the son of a survivor or the son or a perpetrator. The future is brighter.”

Each day, she walks through the memory room filled with the photos of children who were killed, accompanied by details about their favorite toys and the manner of their deaths. UNICEF estimated more than 300,000 children were killed. Most were hacked or beaten to death.

“You never get used to this,” she said, with tears in her eyes. “Every time I enter that room, I am never the same person when I get out.”

For a long time, Uwase avoided the videos of bodies floating down the river and of Hutu militias killing people with machetes because it makes her think of the father she never knew, a designer and painter whom she feels still watches over her.

“I don’t know how he was killed, but I imagine his death resembles this video. The murderers had machetes. Clubs…” she tailed off.

Other rooms contain an exhibition of genocidal violence around the globe, and Rwanda’s search for justice through an international tribunal and traditional local courts.

After the killings ended, shattered communities had to rebuild themselves as survivors sometimes returned to live next to those complicit in the killings of their families.

As the country recovered, some opposition leaders have criticized the government of President Paul Kagame for keeping a tight reign on the media and politics. Kagame won nearly 99 percent of the vote in 2017 polls on a 96 percent turnout.

Uwase dismisses such criticism, pointing out that Kagame ended the genocide when he fought his way to the capital at the head of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) rebel force.

“I should have been dead like any other person but I am here because of the RPF,” she said. “I can tell those critics: you can’t talk about something you don’t know.”

Now Rwanda is focused on the future, she said. While some of its neighbors stagnate in corruption, the small east African nation stands out for its ease of doing business and rising investment. Although there is still poverty in parts of the country, downtown Kigali is full of new buildings lining its clean and well-kept streets.

Many visiting business people come to the memorial, Uwase said. One recent visitor was Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who stars in the television series “Game of Thrones”.

“Every person who comes here has questions to ask … Every time someone comes here it challenges them,” Uwase said. “I have something to teach the world about what happened to Rwanda and my family.”

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24 Hours Across Africa

Ten and thousands of Hong Kong protesters flood city streets in largest rally in weeks



Source: AFP- A sea of democracy activists flooded the streets of Hong Kong Sunday in a defiant show to the city’s leaders that their movement still pulls wide public support, despite mounting violence and increasingly stark warnings from Beijing.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters carrying umbrellas poured across the heart of Hong Kong island defying torrential rain and a police order not to march from a park where they had gathered earlier for a rally.

Weeks of demonstrations have plunged the financial hub into crisis, with images of masked black-clad protesters engulfed by tear gas during street battles against riot police stunning a city once renowned for its stability.

Sunday’s action, which organisers the Civil Human Rights Front said drew more than 1.7 million in the largest rally in weeks, was billed as a return to the “peaceful” origins of the leaderless protest movement.

“It’s been a long day and we’re very tired, but to see so many people out in the rain marching for Hong Kong gives strength to everyone,” said Danny Tam, a 28-year-old graphic designer.

The unprecedented political crisis was sparked by opposition to a plan to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

But protests have since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city.

Anger has been sharpened among protesters by the perceived heavy-handedness of the police who have used tear gas, baton charges and rubber bullets in incidents that have pinballed across social media.

“The police are doing things that are totally unacceptable,” said Yim, who like many of the protesters gave only one name.

“They are hurting citizens, they aren’t protecting us.”

AFP / Manan VATSYAYANATorrential rain failed to dampen the enthusiasm of protesters in Hong Kong

Communist Party-ruled mainland China has taken an increasingly hardline tone towards the protesters, decrying the “terrorist-like” actions of a violent hardcore minority among the demonstrators.

Despite the near-nightly clashes with police, the movement has won few concessions from Beijing or the city’s unelected leadership.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Samson Siasia ban for life by Fifa



Former Nigeria coach Samson Siasia has been banned for life and fined $50,000 by Fifa for agreeing to ‘the manipulation of matches.’

Siasia was coach of Nigeria between 2010-2011 and for a spell in 2016 but the time period when Fifa believes he committed his infractions is unclear.

He has also served as coach of the country’s Under-20 and Under-23 sides.

In a statement, Siasia was found ‘guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches.’

The sanction stems from an ongoing ‘large-scale investigation’ Fifa is conducting into the behaviour of Wilson Raj Perumal, a convicted match-fixer from Singapore.

He is the third African to be banned by Fifa for his links to Perumal after former Sierra Leone FA official Abu Bakarr Kabba and former Botswana FA official Mooketsi Kgotlele were suspended in July for five years and for life respectively.

A former international, Siasia won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria, for whom he played over 50 times while scoring 16 goals.

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