1. During a memorial ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, performers at the Amahoro Stadium in Kigali reenacted events of the 1994 massacre, in which 800,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis, were slaughtered over a 100-day period.
3. Dozens of actors dressed in gray and white played dead on the football field, as cries echoed throughout the stadium.
6. As survivors recounted tales of violence, “bloodcurdling screams” abounded throughout the crowd, the Associated Press reported. Psychological counselors were present to help mourners and survivors who were triggered by the emotional events.
9. Some attending recalled the horror of seeing their whole families slaughtered before them.
The memorial’s manager Honore Gatera mentioned all the orphans the genocide created, and all the Rwandan people who continue to suffer from both physical and psychological wounds.
“After the genocide Rwanda was really a destroyed country, destroyed society. There was this feeling of being hopeless to people,” he said. However, he continued: “Rwandans got to know the dangers of humanity, meaning, in a positive way, now Rwanda knows how to educate ourselves, our children, our neighbors and our friends,” he said.
12. Rwanda’s minister of foreign affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, was among the many world leaders present. “Twenty years ago today our country fell into deep ditches of darkness,” she said. “Today, we are a country united and a nation elevated.”
14. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, was also in attendance. She said that the genocide was a “devastating reminder that nightmares seemingly beyond imagination can in fact take place.”
During the genocide in 1994, hundreds of mass graves were dug to bury the victims of a premeditated killing spree in which Hutu attackers wielding machetes burned down churches with hundreds of Tutsi’s inside, killed children, and left many survivors with deformities.
18. The memorial ceremony marks a three-month period of mourning.
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