This week, the world remembers the devastating genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Around 800,000 people were murdered. Annie Bunio, a young Lutheran from the USA, proposed to friends to wear Purple on Thursday. Purple is a color of grief in Rwanda. This should be a sign of remembrance and call for action against all other genocide and mass murders that are currently happening.
If you want to join her and many others, wear purple on Thursday. You can also join her facebook event.
Please read more about how Annie’s motivation here.
Please wear purple Thursday April 7th- In remembrance of the Rwandan Genocide- This Thursday -April 7th- 2011 marks 17 years from the beginning of the Rwandan genocide. Last year I spent almost 3 months volunteering and doing some research in Rwanda– Here is a reflection I wrote upon my return home– I think this clearly states the importance of this event to me- Participating in remembering this tragedy means a lot to me- I appreciate any support.
April 7th 2010, my location was Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. Sixteen years ago to the day the traumatic genocide that still plagues the country and led to the death of over a million citizens began. Today is national memorial day, and it marks the first day of the week- long national mourning. The mood is somber and everything is shut down- absolutely nothing is open. I attended one of the largest memorial services located in Amahoro Stadium in Kigali. People packed themselves into the stadium until absolutely every seat was full. There were many large men who were helping people find seats. The service started, yet the large men remained in the stadium and moved to the front of each section, clearly they were not simply ushers. Soon enough my curiosity about what these men would be doing throughout the service was answered when a woman in a neighboring section of the stadium started wailing, and losing control, eventually she was carried out of the stadium by a few of these men. As I wrote later that day in my journal: “One man lost it right behind me, it was like a switch was flipped in his mind – like he was experiencing 1994 all over again. His eyes were semi-glazed over and he cried so hard, he was so upset and rigid and had to be carried away like so many others here. I feel like I witnessed a small amount about how awful genocide is and the traumatic effects on people. This image, the people, the sounds from the wailing, constant wailing, will never leave my mind – How did this happen?”
These were some of the things that I witnessed during April 7th through April 14th, genocide memorial week, at the end of my stay in Rwanda. The genocide may have occurred 17 years ago, but it has greatly affected Rwanda, and still continues to have an impact on the country today.
Therefore I am asking people to please wear purple for a few reasons-
1) in remembrance for the 1,000,000 plus people who were brutally killed 17 years ago, within the next hundred days- 2) show support for all those still suffering following such a horrendous atrocity and 3) to represent the importance of putting an end to genocide– One of my largest thoughts during and after my time in Rwanda and the gruesome remains that I personally witnessed is; – When will the phrase “never again” , which has been uttered so many times, actually mean never again…
Thank you for those of you who chose to support! Please feel free to pass this along and invite other friends/family members to join in this important event!