The Genocide Flame Stirs Memories: A Scene From Kwibuka 20


Rows of human skulls sit in glass cases near the red brick Catholic church here. Some are cracked in half; holes are punched in others. Hundreds of arm and leg bones lie nearby. To the left is a table of tools: rusty shovels, hoes, pipes, and a machete — the weapons of genocide.

Down the hill 10 miles (15 kilometers), thousands of Rwandans gathered under spittles of rain to watch the arrival of a small flame, symbolic fire traveling the country as Rwanda prepares to mark 20 years since ethnic Hutu extremists killed neighbors, friends and family during a three-month rampage of violence aimed at ethnic Tutsis and some moderate Hutus.

Rwanda puts the death toll at 1,000,050. Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, speaking at a memorial event in London this week, called the genocide “the most brutally efficient killing spree in human history.”


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