Kigali Memorial Center or Genocide Museum


How can the capital of such a rugged country be called "country of the Thousand Hills"? Kigali, capital of the "Switzerland of Africa" It perfectly represents a country of subsistence, a country whose main exports are Arabic coffee and tea but which barely lacks resources and minerals of importance and constantly suffers from droughts. Today we know her ...

We went to bed yesterday in the famous Hotel Des Mille Collines, known by the vast majority as "Hotel Rwanda", that great film that highlighted the struggle of a director of this hotel to save the lives of many Tutsis in an unprecedented massacre.

Directed by Terry George in 2004, Hotel Rwanda began with the signing of the peace agreement between Hutus and Tutsis backed by the UN until the courses of the events lead to the assassination of the Rwandan president and a code signal transmitted by radio, premeditated and prepared, begins the indiscriminate massacre of Tutsis at the hands of hutus.

Paul Rusesabagina, director of the hotel, is hutu and backed by his generosity and charisma, based on bribes and contacts he manages to save all the Tutsis that shelter in his hotel, turning that into a refuge. At one point in the movie it becomes clear how the UN evacuates tourists leaving Paul and the population to their fate. Spooky.

Today, the Hotel Des Mille Collines is completely renovated. It is a more than correct accommodation, with a large terrace on the 4th floor where you can have breakfast, a swimming pool, a patio where you can have a drink and even a small disco-bar. A perfect place to rest from the hard experience of the Nyragongo Volcano in RDCongo.

Here we have breakfast, check out and take a picture waiting for Norman and Ali, with whom we will spend the last day of travel.

Last DAY 26 travel at our entrance to Rwanda, we commented as a land whose population hardly differs by its physical features had been divided to such an extent to become an ethnic struggle, because of the former Belgian colonizers and other causes.

All this resulted in one of the greatest killings in the history of mankind, and in our passage through Kigali we were not going to spend the opportunity to approach the Genocide Museum, the Kigali Memorial Center, a place to never forget this painful history of the world. Of course, we drag the biggest "laces" we have ever had because of the descent of the Nyiragongo. Ay ay ay. Thank you, Ali.

Even today there is no exact definition of what the United Nations means by genocide. What is not in doubt is the great genocides committed in the history of mankind. Thus, on the 3rd floor of the museum, reference is made to genocides such as Cambodia between 1975 and 1979 that ended with between 1.7 and 3 million people, the Nazi genocide that ended with between 10 and 20 million or that of Pakistan in the 1971 with up to 3 million people but the colonization of America, those caused by the Church, those caused by Russians, Chinese or Japanese, that of North Korea, the Ottoman Empire or the heinous genocide of Leopold II in the Belgian Congo as we saw yesterday.

The following photos CAN BE VERY HARD and are taken from Google Images (taking pictures inside the museum costs $ 25 USD per camera) but they record what was one of the most heinous massacres of the modern world: the Rwandan genocide.

The ground floor is completely dedicated to recounting the events that occurred both before, during, and after the killing. Everything It began much earlier (perfectly planned and it is estimated that with international funds -134 million dollars-) on April 6, 1994, when the Rwandan president is hit by two missiles and the revolt begins. Five days later, on April 11, Belgium and France had taken out all their nationals, the United Nations peacekeeping mission completely ignored the problem and tens of thousands of Tutsis had already died at the hands of Hutus.

The testimonials are really creepy and leaves goosebumps. Raped women, with their heads in the toilet and raped again. Children badly wounded in mass graves and after days bleeding bloodshot, buried people alive, mutilations ... and the most horrific deaths ever read. They were not murders of 1 million people, but the genocide one by one of the most atrocious ways ever imagined. The machete was the icon and the weapon of Hutus. On May 19 there were already 500,000 deaths.

Only some case of generous peasant hutus who hid workers or families in their plantations, the case of the Rwanda hotel and other isolated, allow you to breathe from time to time.

We have been to museums like the Haunted house in theBudapest getaway 2009, which includes fascist and Stalinist crimes in Hungary, Kilmainhall Gaol in the getaway to Dublin 2009, where is much of the bloodiest history of the Republic of Ireland, and especially in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum at trip to Japan 2008, which tells in a creepy way one of the saddest chapters of World War II, but the impression, the fright and the shudder felt in this Kigali Memorial Center of the Rwandan Genocide is really touching.

East episode ends mid July, when the Rwandan Patriotic Front organized in June in the northeast of the country, and a Tutsi guerrilla called the Rwandan Liberation Army in the West, manage to penetrate Rwanda and force the Hutu government to flee direction Zaire followed by 2,000,000 Hutus creating in Rubber (city ​​we saw yesterday with its United Nations bases) the largest refugee camp in history. It was already late: 1 million dead people (11% of the population), 100,000 orphaned children, 2 million displaced people, psychological damage from rapes and unquantified verbatim, economic structure of the destroyed country ...

We leave the museum, but not before picking up a phrase that leaves you icy and thoughtful: "With the Nazi Genocide, the United Nations said it would never allow such a genocide to happen again. Was it only for some?". And it is that, without a doubt, the worst of the extermination was not even its atrocities, but the impasibility of the world despite the knowledge of what was happening there (the museum contains faxes sent to New York, Red Cross message, missionaries ...)

To find something positive, from the location of the museum we have one of the most beautiful views of the city of Kigali, a city that today reflects what we have been seeing these days in Rwanda, where The sense of fluidity of prosperity is generated by a government that has achieved its reconciliation plan that all people, including the president himself, collaborate in maintaining the country even for a few hours.

There are not many cars, no motorcycles. There are no crowds, no dirt, no cigarette butts lying on the ground, no smell of food. There is no chaos. People dress well. Everything is urbanized and the concept of community is respected. Does not look like Africa. Already at the border there is a sign that makes clear "DEVELOPMENT YES, CORRUPTION NO". Possibly there is the part that we do not see, the Rwanda smuggler to remove the RDCongo materials is an example, but while we eat (6,000 RWF) in a small mall, we buy some gifts (4,000 RWF), or we enter a supermarket to buy some reservations for the return flight (RWF 6,380 per couple) applaud what was achieved in 17 years.

The day does not give us to know much more. It's time to say goodbye. Ali and Norman are sad, they have had as much fun as we did in what was already a team with our "matokarro". !! Until always friends !! (Our Relationship Juve will contact you, hehe)

Kigali Airport is very small. As we arrived we barely see 4 scheduled flights and one is ours. Everything is on time, so we will not have to wait too long. A coffee (1,000 RWF), the last gifts (19,200 RWF) and the wait with the sadness that this is over makes us spend the afternoon. At 20.10, punctually, we took off from Rwanda.

Our plane is an Airbus A330-200 that has just arrived from Amsterdam. He is nine. He has left a few passengers and we got on. About 40 minutes later he lands at Entebbe where he does the same operation again. It is a small technical stop where we don't even get off the plane.

Now, 22.15, we are heading to Amsterdam. It's 8 hours of travel and physical exhaustion is total. We fall asleep. Western civilization awaits us again. !! See you soon Africa!

Paula and Isaac, photo of Kigali (Rwanda), already flying to Amsterdam

EXPENSES OF THE DAY: RWF 13,380 (approx. 16.52 EUR) and GIFTS: 23,200 (28.64 EUR)