According to those holding the event, about 800 people met on Thursday evening at the Rwandan embassy in the avenue des Fleurs at Woluwe-Saint-Pierre in the Brussels Region.
They were there to celebrate liberation day, which 25 years ago put an end to the genocidal regime in place at the time.
Young Rwandans aged between 5 and 15 living in Belgium sang the Belgian national anthem as well as the Rwandan.
The ambassador Amandin Rugira spoke in memory of the tenor of that historic day. “On July 4 1994, over the course of the afternoon, troops of the patriotic Rwandan army marched into the town of Kigali, led by Major-General Paul Kagame, current president of the Republic of Rwanda. Kigali, typical of the rest of the country, was a ghost town bled of its inhabitants, for out of a population of nearly eight million people at the time, more than a million had just been murdered and two million had fled the country, pushed into exile by the fleeing genocidal government,” he recalled.
“How can a country be re-built after 100 days of genocide without precedent in its rapidity and cruelty? How can one staunch the wounds inflicted on a society after 40 years of propaganda resulting from a genocidal ideology and social inequality?” the ambassador wondered. He emphasised that “Rwanda had risen from a hell from which no one could see it emerging” and laid stress on the country’s economic development over the last 25 years.
There was a minute’s silence following this speech in memory of those who fell in the battle.
The Order of Friends of Manneken Pis was also represented. A replica of Brussels’ ‘little boy’ wore a costume fashioned by Rwandan fashion house Moshions, presented by the embassy on Wednesday. Its wardrobe also includes an ‘Intore’ young warrior’s dress, donated on May 3 1949 by King Mutara III Rudahigwa, on the occasion of his official visit to Belgium.
The Brussels Times