July 25, 2021

In Kigali, Emmanuel Macron hopes for the “gift” of forgiveness from genocide survivors

Finally, the time has come. The truth sometimes calls for a slow and painful maturation. Twenty-seven years after the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda, Emmanuel Macron gave a speech for history, Thursday, May 27, in Kigali, in the grounds of the Gisozi Memorial.

A speech to bow to the dead, greet the survivors, designate the executioners, and above all recognize the ” responsibility “ of the French state – a word repeated four times – between 1990 and 1994, in support of the Hutu regime. Invoking a “Debt to victims”, the French president expressed the hope of “Get out of this night and walk together again”. “On this path, he added, only those who have been through the night can perhaps forgive, give us the gift, then, of forgiving us. “

Responsibility, but not “guilt” or “complicity”. The memorial dialectic chosen by the president aims to get France out of denial, but not to launch an indictment of his distant predecessor, François Mitterrand. From where many ellipses, in particular on the ideological errors of the Elysee at the time, on the development of a parallel hierarchy between the presidency and the French soldiers on the ground, or on the support in arms brought to the genocidal regime.

“The killers who haunted the marshes, the hills, the churches did not have the face of France, said Emmanuel Macron. She was not an accomplice. The blood that shed did not dishonor his weapons or the hands of his soldiers, who too saw the unspeakable with their own eyes, healed wounds, and stifled their tears. But France has a role, a history and a political responsibility in Rwanda. And she has a duty: to look history in the face and recognize the share of suffering it has inflicted on the Rwandan people by making silence for too long prevail over the examination of the truth. “

Emmanuel Macron visits the “Apocalypse” room of the Genocide Memorial with the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean Yves Le Drian, in Kigali, on May 27.

During the long night flight to Kigali, the president and his advisers refined the most sensitive expressions until the last moment. Word “ excuses » was ruled out, because it implies a request for forgetting and erasure, it is said in the entourage of the president. At the risk of not leaving the trace of a powerful, crystalline expression, summarizing his approach. This is meant to be reconciling and anchored in the long term. “A genocide cannot be erased. It is indelible, declared the Head of State at the Memorial. It never has an end. “

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