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“No one is perfect, the world itself is not perfect”

An interview about the genocide and the current situation in Rwanda

Background: Mugyenzi Innocent

Mugyenzi was born in Rwanda in 1989, and fled the country with his family during the genocide in 1994. Growing up in Uganda, he attended the United World College of Atlantic, a leading  independent school in Wales. Upon graduation, he started his undergraduate studies at Colby College in the United States.

Background: Rwanda

The East African country of Rwanda, known as the Land of Thousand Hills has won its independence from Belgium in 1962. Most people in the Western world has learnt in name after the assassination of Juvénal Habyarimana was followed by a genocide killing at least 500,000 people in 1994.

Could you please talk a bit about yourself, where you are from,how you grow up, what did your parents do?

My name is Mugyenzi Innocent, I am originally from Rwanda but now I live in Uganda with my family. I grew up mostly in a refugee settlement in Uganda after the 1994 Rwanda genocide forced many people, including my family into exile. My parents were were farmers, taking care of animals (cows, goats, chickens), and since we moved to Uganda they have had small businesses.

How did you survive the genocide?

The genocide took place when I was five. My dad, being a Tutsi, narrowly escaped after being warned by his colleague at work. After the genocide we did not see him for about two years, until  the end of 1996. My mum being a Hutu however, she was able to go through the road blocks without being stopped. My little sister and I were registered on her identity card, that is how we survived.

Could you talk about your story of getting to the US, your current life and plans? Would you like to return to your homeland?

While in Uganda, I was able to go to a local elementary school, and then to a public secondary school. When I heard about the United World Colleges program I applied. After my interview, I was the only one picked from the many other refugee students and I was admitted to the UWC of the Atlantic. From there, I applied to several American universities, and chose to attend Colby College, where I am studying Economics and International Government until 2013. Afterwards, I would like to attend graduate school and work for international organizations in Rwanda.

 Do you have any memories of the genocide?

Of course I do have memories. I lost my grandmother and my aunt, whom I always miss, especially during memorial period. Later, in the settlement where my family lived there were many genocide orphans and disabled people without hands or legs. They constantly remind me of the genocide. Last summer I organized a project in Rwanda with UWC students, during which we visited several memorial centers.


How has the genocide influenced your outlook on the world?

I think no one is perfect,  the world itself is not perfect. A small conflict can lead to something big, a  similar incident was followed by the outbreak of World War One. Just because the president's plane was shot down, innocent civilians did not deserve what they faced. We all share the blame and I feel it is the responsibility of everyone, young or old to fight for justice and to make sure that such evil and selfish incidents do not happen again.


How do you think it is possible to talk about events like the genocide? Can people who didn't go through something like this comprehend it?

People may not really understand what genocide is, but I believe they can learn something from it. Many people with whom I have discussed it got the picture. The more they hear it the more they can comprehend what it is and how to avoid it.


What are you views on the current political situation in Rwanda and the wider region (Uganda, Congo, Kenya, Tanzania)? What chances do you give to democracy? Do you think that the Kagame regime can guarantee that something similar will not happen again?

My views on the current political situation in the great lakes region? Well, with the exception of Congo, a place for gambling, I must say there is improvement toward peace. Rwanda has worked hard to unite people, Uganda has managed to deal with Lord's Resistance Army and Kony, Kenya's coalition has generated some peace. About Rwanda's future: I can't say that Kagame alone will prevent genocide from happening again. I think it is a collective responsibility among Rwandan people to prevent it. The more they cooperate, they more genocide ideologies will fade away.


What do you think of the recent movements of Nkunda and other events?

Most of the events taking place in Congo are ridiculous. Congo to me has become a battle ground for gamblers. Most of the groups fighting in Congo have no defined goals; once minerals are exhausted, Congo will be peaceful. I would also like to mention that although Congo has become a place for gamblers, the primary people to blame are the MNCs and other big money individuals. These are the people who don't want Congo's war to end because they fear to lose market for cheap minerals. China is the main supplier of arms to most of the African rebels groups, and in return they want raw materials for the industries. Such people do not want the wars to end.

Emberi Jogok Egyetemes Nyilatkozata

Emberi Jogok Egyetemes Nyilatkozata

Elfogadva és kihirdetve az ENSZ Közgyűlésének 217 A (III) határozata alapján, 1948. december 10-én.

A 30 pontból álló Nyilatkozat az élet minden területét felölelő jogokról és szabadságjogokról szól. Elolvashatjátok és megismerhetitek oldalunkon.

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