There were dead bodies all around. It was no longer traumatizing, I had become immune to the violence.
On the radio we heard that the RPF, a Tusti-led military group, was heading to Kigali. Hajj, like all the other Hutu in the neighbourhood, started to panic. #Kwibuka27
If the Rwandan Patriotic Front entered Kigali, no one knew what would happen. Many Hutu who were guilty of planning and executing the genocide were fleeing to the Congo, a neighbouring country whose borders were open.
They would leave their machetes in the villages before they fled, but some of the killers, simply crossed the border, refusing to give up their arms.
Hajj had packed a van so that we, like the rest of his family, could also flee. #Kwibuka27
Some Hutu soldiers had held Hajj at gunpoint, and ordered him to give up his van. There was no where we could go. If I had gone to the Congo as a surviving Tutsi, I would have most likely been killed.
On July 15th, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, took over the capital of Kigali.
Marie, the woman who had taken care of us in the hospital, knew that some of my uncles were important commanders in the Rwandan Patriotic Front. She managed to find my uncle Toto, and told him where we were hiding. #Kwibuka27
My uncle believed that Marie had gone crazy, probably traumatized by all the violence. He still decided to go and eventually found me, Mado and Rita. When the genocide ended in July, we were asked by members of my surviving family, who we wanted  to take care of us going forward
The three of us chose to live with our oldest sister Janine, who lived in Quebec because she was like a second mother to us before she moved away. At the time, she was twenty years old, living in a one-bedroom apartment in Quebec City.  (Janine in orange)
Nobody believed she would be able to take care of us, but somehow she did! We arrived in Canada as refugees in November, we were among the first to arrive. The Rwandan community, living in Quebec, would ask us what we had seen.   #Kwibuka27
They were still trying to understand what had happened.
Even though Mado was only 4, she would remember exact details, such as the types of guns the Hutu were using, the songs the soldiers would sing right before they would shoot. #Kwibuka27
We were first-hand witnesses of the massacres. In the space of a few months, we had lost our childhood innocence.
I went through all of primary and high school, not talking about what had happened in Rwanda. By that time, my two sisters #Kwibuka27
Mado and Rita, who were now eight and seventeen, had left to go live with my uncle in France. The girls were having trouble in school and my uncle was a high school teacher who could help them with their difficulties.
Even though Janine had taken great care of us, it was decided it would be for the best.

Alone, I kept the events repressed deep inside of me, not knowing how to process the trauma. I felt like rebelling, but didn’t know exactly why.
I would like to share with you why I have decided to talk about it now
When I was in my late teens, I became more out of control and ended up in bad situations. My past troubles led me to reflect on my life, to ask myself  how I could do good.
What happened to my family and I was tragic, yet, I didn’t want to end up being another casualty.
Talking about my experiences has become a therapy for me, a way to heal from the violence, and to remember those I have lost.
Though it may have taken me some time to  realize it, my older sister, Janine, is my hero, and I want to make her proud. It is with age that I finally realized all the courage it must have taken for Janine to raise us, especially me.
It is also important for me to recognize all that Mado and Rita have accomplished in their lives, like graduating from university and starting a family.
While my sisters and I will never be able to forget what happened to our family, we did not let it define our future
I want to inform people about racism, about intolerance, and how to prevent future discrimination against groups of people.
I also want to help other survivors, and children of survivors, make sense of what has happened to us.
Remembering and refusing to stay silent will help carry forward the message, #NeverAgain! The events that took place in Rwanda in 1994 were horrific, but it wasn’t the first case of genocide. In the past century, there has been numerous Genocides. #Kwibuka27
Even today, across the world, many minority groups are also suffering from targeted acts of violence. Genocide continues to happen. For example: Rwanda, Armenia, The Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia, Syria, The Uyghurs in China, Myanmar and the cultural genocide of the First Nations
Hate comes in many forms, and fed by anger, can dehumanize people from any culture, ethnic group or religion. To not repeat the mistakes of the past, we have to be very careful about how we view and treat other groups. #Kwibuka27
In Rwanda, messages of hatred started on the radio, and they only got louder, echoing across the country. Today, we must be vigilant when it comes to what we share on social media and what we listen to online.
Do I have a solution for the hate and intolerance in our world? No, I do not. But I think it would be a good idea to stop demonizing ‘the other’, whoever that other might be to someone.
They may look different. They may act strangely to you. #Kwibuka27
They may have opinions that may make no sense to you. You can disagree, and you can argue with them. But, you must remember that these people are still your fellow human beings. There is no need to respect their opinion, but there is a need to respect their humanity.
We must all work to accept people from other cultures, religions and sexual orientations. Genocides still happen, and people still watch while others die. Even in #Quebec(Where Chiko lives ) acts of racism and intolerance are common.
Violence against minorities doesn’t only happen in countries suffering from civil war and dictatorships. Ignorance is present everywhere.
I hope you all learn from my story, about why it is important to look into our own discriminations and how we view & treat others.
You can follow @KayabagaArielle.
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