2021-04-07 RWANDA

7 April: International Day of Reflection on the Rwandan Genocide

Every year on 7 April, the International Day of Reflection on the Rwandan Genocide, which took place mainly in 1994, is commemorated. A war conflict, a human drama, in which hundreds of thousands of people died. We do not want to go into the causes of this terrible event already sadly marked, and forever, in the calendar of history.

We want to commit ourselves, as Marists of Champagnat, to the struggle so that this type of situation will never happen again. We join in the efforts of UNESCO, and other groups, to make education a force for change, so that education reminds us of past events and prepares us to approach the future with peace, universal brotherhood, equal dignity of persons. We offer our educational works to be homes of light, which care for life and generate new life. We offer our centres so that never again will darkness take possession of the human being. We cannot offer great resolutions that will prevent existing conflicts, but we can sow small seeds of peace that will become, like the mustard seed of the Gospel, oases of universal brotherhood in the societies where we are present.

We all know that genocide refers to the “annihilation or extermination of a group of people because of any kind of differences”. Sadly, this is a fact that has been repeated throughout history, in different cultures, historical moments and societies.

In this sense, we want to join the speech made by António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, when he said: “Only by recognising that we are all one human family sharing the same planet can we rise to the many global challenges that await us, from coronavirus disease to climate change”.

A group of Marist Brothers wanted to respond to the call of the poorest, the excluded, those whose lives seemed to have lost all value. First six Rwandan Brothers, then four Spanish Brothers. A group of brothers who gave their lives out of love (for God and for the poorest of the poor). We all know the names of the 4 brothers who came from abroad and stayed there: Miguel Ángel, Servando, Fernando and Julio. They left their lives there on 31 October 1996. They gave their lives there, until the end. Our 4 brothers took care of thousands of refugees who were living, passing through, fleeing the Rwandan genocide, and who settled in the camp of Nyamirangwe (Bugobe).

It is up to us today to continue caring for life, to continue generating life among the most vulnerable in this world. But it is also up to us to continue sowing seeds of hope, peace and love among the thousands of children we care for every day. Leonardo Boff, in a webinar on 16 March, told us that as educators we have a great responsibility, because “education does not change the world, but education changes the people who are going to change the world”.

We end our reflection with some words of Pope Francis (Fratelli Tutti 11), which invite us to continue working, every day, because “the good, as well as love, justice and solidarity, are not achieved once and for all; they have to be conquered every day“.


Br. Ángel Diego – Director of the Secretariat of Solidarity


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