A quarter of a century ago, in Rwanda, you stood a higher chance of getting flowing blood instead of running water if you opened a tap. That is, of course, if you were in one of the few areas that had access to piped water infrastructure. Elsewhere, poverty, pain and disease festered and the horror of death lurked, awaiting to claim the next victim. And there were many of them! Many stories of the suffering endured during this period are yet to be told in full, and many more will never be told in full for they bring into question the entire concept of humanity itself.
Regardless, a quarter of a century ago, a people decided to defy death, took a stance against an ongoing genocide and fought for freedom, dignity and prosperity. The Rwanda that is familiar in popular imagination today – environmentally clean, economically growing and politically stable – is the result of the sum of all the people who have chosen to be makers of their own history, not bystanders singing redemption songs to a selfish and disinterested international audience. It is a country that has vowed to never again go through the pain and suffering it did, losing over one million lives to ethnic chauvinism. It is also a country that, in building the future it desires, has come under severe criticism at best, and under serious attacks, some of which are – in fact – a threat to national security.