“Give us the gift of forgiveness.” Macron asked Rwandans to forgive France for its role in the 1994 crises

French President, Emmanuel Macron, on Thursday during a state visit to Rwanda recognized France’s “political responsibility” towards the events of the 100 days-1994 genocide in Rwanda but maintained that France “was not complicit” in the genocide. 

In a speech, Macron said he went to Rwanda “to recognize our [France’s] responsibilities,” in the 1994 genocide.  His visit to Rwanda, the first since 2010 by a French President, came following two reports in March and in April that examined France’s direct role in the 1994 genocide. 

“France has a role, a story, and a political responsibility to Rwanda. She has a duty: to face history head-on and recognize the suffering she has inflicted on the Rwandan people by too long valuing silence over the examination of the truth”. Macron said. 

While he seemingly battled with the guilt of issuing an apology, Macron went further to stress that only those who had survived the horrors “… maybe forgive, give us the gift of forgiveness.”

In 1994 close to a million people, mostly Tutsi were killed in the 100 days of genocide in Rwanda. France, Belgium, and America among other Western nations are  accused of contributing to the event leading to the genocide and took no steps in bringing it to a stop. The international community equally shared blame for its deliberate inaction to bring the genocide to an end. 

President Paul Kagame, who on Thursday welcomed Macron in Kigali, has long been unapologetic to the French, West, and international community for their actions and inaction in the genocide. Kagame at one point broke the relationship between France and Rwanda. The return visit by President Macron is seemingly set to pave a new start of a “good relationship” between France and Rwanda, analysts opined.

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