Liberation day is one of my favorite holidays in Rwanda. If there were only 3 holidays to celebrate in Rwanda,  July 4th would definitely have to be among my top 3. The Liberation day is the day Rwanda embarked on a new journey to rebuild itself after its horrific and past history. It is the day a few visionary Rwandan leaders envisioned a new inclusive and united Rwanda, free of discrimination. It is a day Rwandans decide they had had enough and were going to build a beautiful strong and peaceful Rwanda. It is the day Rwanda started its new path founded on unity, diligence, and patriotism. Every Rwandan, no matter where they are, home and abroad, should celebrate this day and reflect on what they can do to contribute to their nation’s peace and sustainable development while remembering men and women in uniforms who fought for this freedom that you and I enjoy today as Rwandans.

On this Liberation Day, we honor the courageous men and women who sacrificed their lives so that we enjoy Rwanda that we have and see today.

On this day, we honor our heroes who fought to liberate our country from the oppressive government that was killing her own people, men and women, young and old, sons and daughters, poor and rich.

On this Liberation Day, thank all the soldiers in the Rwandan Army, especially veterans.

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A design poster for the 2016 Rwandan Liberation Day displaying the Rwandan Flag and a July 4th monument at the Rwandan Parliament Gardens.

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A monument showing a soldier paying tribute to the fallen comrades in the Liberation Struggle.

On this Liberation Day, we celebrate the end to one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century.

On this day, we remember the end of 100-terrible days, that ripped our beautiful country apart, leaving hundreds of thousands of innocent lives dead, leaving thousands and thousands widows, as well as orphans.

By July 4th 1994, the Armed forces of RPF declared a massive and a decisive winning battle over the oppressive government at the time, after conquering the whole country of Rwanda and its capital city, Kigali. This remarkable win overthrew the power of the (then) oppressive government and marked the end of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi people. This meant that the oppressive government was no longer in charge, but rather the new Rwandan Patriotic Front was.

On this day, the RPF started a long process of restoring peace in the whole country and ensuring that no one was no longer getting killed for who they were or where they came from. On this day, the RPF liberated our country, our people, and our sense of self as Rwandans. In my opinion, this is why we celebrate Liberation Day each year on July 4.

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New Face of Downtown Kigali Today; the capital city of Rwanda.

 

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Kigali has been praised for to be one of the most beautiful cities in Africa.

On this day, it is very important to learn from our past while building a strong, prosperous and peaceful Rwanda; recognizing that Freedom is indeed earned and fought for, and not handed out for free. We have to recognize that still today there are some negative forces that want to undermine this freedom that many of our fellow countrymen and women fought for. These forces must be neutralized for the benefits and the overall greater good of our society to ensure the prosperity of our beautiful nation, Rwanda.

We need to continue strive for peace and security for our nation, promoting inclusiveness for all Rwandans home and abroad, recognizing that we should be unified by all the common things we share as Rwandans, and ignore all the small differences among ourselves. As our ancestors would say: “Icyo dupfana kiruta icyo dupfa”.

On this day, I encourage you to reflect on what this day means to you and what you can do to make a more peaceful and sustainable Rwanda, that is truly, liberated. Thank our heroes who served our country and sacrificed their lives so that we can enjoy a beautiful Rwanda that we have today. Without their hard-work and sacrifice, Rwanda would totally be a different place today. It is very hard to imagine what Rwanda would be like today if it was not for their courage and patriotism. There are many soldiers, fellow Rwandans, who lost their lives in battle; who got severely injured physically and emotionally, and have had to endure lots of after-war trauma so that me and you live and enjoy the peaceful Rwanda that we have today. THANK YOU, heroes.

As we celebrate this liberation day, let us not forget that the struggle is still ON. We still have to fight against any form of genocide ideology that still presents itself even today: divisionism, segregation, and any form of discrimination. Let us send a clear message to those who still want to instill hate among Rwandans that we are a unified Rwanda. Let us tell them that we will never look back and waste our time on those who are stuck in anger, revenge and hate.

-Let us be a truly unified society by moving beyond our ethnic backgrounds and appreciate the fact that we are Rwandans. We share an amazing a set of cultural values, traditions, an amazing language, and a wonderful and a beautiful country: The country of a thousand hills, Rwanda.

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The Kigali Convention Center, this marvelous piece of Architecture will host the African Union summit starting next week: July 10-18, 2016.

 

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The most popular roundabout in Kigali, and probably Rwanda.

-Let us continue to liberate ourselves by fighting against poverty.

-Let us continue to liberate ourselves by working hard to ensure a sustainable economic growth, which will lead us to the economic prosperity of our nation.

-Let us notice that the struggle continues. Although we have achieved a lot, we also still have a long way to go. We are not where we want to be and we will never stop until we reach the promise land. We will NOT settle for less. Let us CARRY ON.

To my fellow young generation, the future and the strength of Rwanda:

-Let us continue to build on the foundation laid down by our current leaders.

-Let us notice that any form of separation is detrimental and damaging to our nation’s prosperity.

-Let us notice that we are stronger when unified and together we can win and prosper.

-Let us use our knowledge and skills to transform Rwanda into a self-reliant, middle income country.

Perhaps most importantly, on this Liberation Day, let us all notice the best people we can truly rely and depend on, is OURSELVES. We cannot rely on anybody to solve our problems and challenges we face today or tomorrow, we can only DEPEND on ourselves. We are the ANSWER to our QUESTIONS and the solutions to our own problems. After all, “Ak’imuhana kaza imvura ihise”.

Fellow Rwandans, brothers and sisters, Happy Liberation Day. #Kwibohora2016

Once again, Let us win and prosper together.

Until then, Peace and Love.

Didier Champion

References

[1] Fighting against Genocide Ideology, by Didier Champion

[2] Happy Liberation Day, Rwanda

[3]  Kwibohora 2014

[4] Kwibohora 2015

 

 

 

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