Rwanda - Day 19
Today was the conference which was basically the entire point of the trip. My notes are really all I have to say about it, other than that Yannick gave a fairly inspiring speech.
The most exciting part of the day was the party, from which Audrey is still hungover. It was a fun party, but most interesting was the talk between James Smith and Audrey which I listened in on. Audrey was asking about support for the aid workers. She doesn't want to get married or have kids, but both Megan and James were saying she shouldn't think like that, as it's important to have someone to support you in your life, especially in this work.
So that was essentially most of the update, but I'll now try and summarise the notes from the conference! Freddie
- Youth make up 67% of Rwanda.
- Genocide ideology is still taught in schools (and through parents),therefore it must be combatted through education.
- "We can't turn the clock back, but we have the power to determine the future and make sure what happened never happens again" - Kagame.
Emmanuel, for Aegis Students RwandaAudrey
The Aegis Trust was founded in 2000, and Aegis Students in Oxford, 2005. Aegis Students work through petitions, demonstrations, movie showings.
Aegis Students Rwanda were founded in 2007 and have since held marches and rallies.
Aegis Students are a part of the Aegis Trust.
- Education is a tool to question parents/adults, through thinking for ourselves.
- Leaders must support organisations of education.
- In the future, we must remember today
1. Genocide Ideology and Effects on Youth - from the National Commission Against Genocide.
- Elaborate strategies to fight genocide ideology.
- Prevention through education + discussion.
- The population must have an active role in fighting genocide.
- We cannot tough ideology we can touch acts from ideology.
- People found guilty of genocide ideology can be jailed for 10-25 years. Prevention is better than punishment.
- Notes sent anonymously to students suggesting genocide ideology still strong in schools.
- Vice mayor's children found calling people cockroaches.
- Youth must have a critical mind.
"Genos" - the people
"cide" - killing
- Education must come in three parts: From parents, peers and places of work.
1. What are strategies to fight ideology where perpetrators have fled?
- Should be similar to other countries.
- Rwanda cannot force country to set a law against genocide.
2. Supporting youth organisations.
- Commision wants to work with people like Aegis Trust.
- Between 1995 and 2008, 156 have been killed: 36 witnesses, 120 survivors. 79 men, 63 women, 14 children. This shows that ideology is still prominent.
- 2008 in Butare: People used electrogaz uniforms to get into a house and kill the household. The offenders were youth.
- Most killings have occurred in the South and West - probably because of the French zone created in 1994.
- Highest killings in March and April of 2006. 2002 was the start of the Gacaca trials.
Ministry of Youth
- Youth is 14-35. Kagame was only 37 in 1994.
- If we don't succeed, it's because we weren't willing to work for the country.
- 64% under 25s have no mother and father, 22% have no father and 4% no mother.
- National Youth Service - youth should be trained and well-informed.
Dr. James Smith
- Military intervention is secondary prevention - when a crisis is already underway.
- Primary prevention - dealing with the root causes.
- Genocide ideology is like bacteria, in that it can't be seen but it can be felt.
- Genocide ideology: Denies history, where Aegis reteaches it.
It dehumanizes people, where Aegis rehumanise.
It excludes and divides, where Aegis create unity.
It also creates fear.
- Individual responsibility: Children aren't responsible for their parent's crimes.
- The head of the UN mission in Sudan in 2003 had visited Rwanda in 1994. He went on the radio because the UN wouldn't do anything, but he wouldnt' ahve felt so strongly if it hadn't been Rwanda.
- It was the youth who brought change to South Africa.
- White Rose Movement: This was a youth movement in Nazi Germany. The youth were executed, but it is not the symbol for Aegis Students. We also have an advantage in that we know where it leads.
- Genocide is a big event made up of small events: How many acts of genocide make genocide?
Mr Yannick Tona, Future President of Rwanda
Discussion group - how youth can fight ideology?
- Do not put off taking action - individual responsibility. BUT, work together to achive this.
- As youth, we are the future leaders. Do not wait until you are in a position of power.
- The ideology is in the parents, not in the youth.
- If people can come together to kill people, why can't we come together to help people?
- As an individual, it's important to talk to everyone, spread the message.
- Don't look to your background, look to your heart.
- Youth groups
- Use of media, theatre, games.
- Getting genocidal history in books, so that it can be retold and taught.
- International conferences
- Community projects not focused on genocide - people working together. Youth as leaders.
- Churches role in teaching.
- Teach about role of youth in genocide.
- Visit memorials, orphans, widows etc.
- Internationally: Create Aegis societies.
-Make links between students.
- If youth have the power to commit genocide, they have the power to stop it.
-> Active clubs
-> Have a vision
-> Active follow up to vision
-> Developing critical thinking
- Role of international youth:
-> Awareness of truth
-> To learn about what's going on now
-> Create links between students internationally, ie. online.
-> Develop Aegis Trust internationally
- Developing active youth community, fight against poverty and ignorance.
- Learn about difference -> Tolerance
- Preserving memorials
- Youth are the foundation of the future
- Youth must testify
- Preconception of differences
-> Education should look at genocides over time
-> Critical thinking
-> Better links between groups
- Summary Who: Me and you
Where: Start from yourself
What: Preventing genocide!
I realise that not all of this is comprehensible, but since it's been so long since the conference, it's harder to translate my notes into real thoughts! If you want something explaining, I'll give it a go :) This is now almost certainly the second to last post from my Rwanda diary.
In fact, it's the last post, but there were thoughts I had during the last few days which I ended up writing up for a talk I did, so I'll probably just transcribe that within the next few days. Hopefully I'll get around to it soon, but lectures start tomorrow! (Me = Excited!)