Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Journalists, artistes urged to support youth unity project

Journalists, artistes urged to support youth unity project

A youth contributes during the Youth Connekt dialogue in Kigali last month.

The media fraternity and artistes should use their platform to promote the initiative by the country’s youth, which seeks to promote national reconciliation that is based on trust.

Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Minister for Youth and ICT, made the appeal while closing a two-day YouthConnekt dialogue organised for journalists and artistes that took place at the weekend in Bugesera District.

“Since we have together pledged to take part in nation building, these dialogues and debates should not take a controversial path,” Nsengimana said, alluding to the debate ignited by the youth that Hutus have a moral obligation to apologise because the Genocide was committed in their name.

The dialogue featured debate on Rwanda’s ethnicity, 19-years after of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Speaking on the topic, “The struggle that set us free”, the Minister for Defence, James Kabarebe, said asking for forgiveness is not an obligation.

“Anyone who feels they have the responsibility of asking for forgiveness, especially those in leadership positions, for their role in the 1994 Genocide should do so with honesty,” Kabarebe said.

He said there is no policy in place on how people should ask for forgiveness.

YouthConnekt was initiated by the youth and it is supported by the Ministry of Youth and ICT, Imbuto Foundation and Art for Peace, among other partners.

The dialogues and debates act as a platform for the youth to learn more about their history and how to rebuild society without divisive politics such as that which led to Genocide.

“The person asking for forgiveness will do it on their own terms if it means in a social gathering or family gathering, it’s their choice,” Kabarebe said.

Kabarebe said asking for forgiveness is voluntary and morally right because it helps both the Genocide survivors and perpetrators in the healing process.

These dialogues, according to Kabarebe, are demystifying how ethnicity affected Rwanda.

He said: “The debate about ethnicity regarding being Hutu, Tutsi or Twa is not a way of reviving these identifies. These classifications were used in our history and they negatively affected us. Openly talking about ethnicity in these debates or dialogues shows how it no longer affects us.”

The two-day retreat, like the sessions held in 15 districts before then, was held under the theme, “The Promise of a Post-Genocide Generation.”

Journalists and artistes suggested that the dialogues and debates should be called ‘I’m Rwandan’.

Jean Lambert Gatare, a journalist Genocide survivor, said he was open to forgive whoever apologises for their part in the Genocide.

Artiste Josiane Imani Uwineza, a.k.a, Miss Jojo, said the dialogues and debates should also be extended to Rwandans in the Diaspora.

“The lessons from this retreat about our history are an eye-opener and I believe they can benefit all Rwandans, including those in the Diaspora, to foster unity and reconciliation,” Miss Jojo said.



Journalists, artistes urged to support youth unity project


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