Wednesday 19 June 2019

CorkHi14°| Lo

Cork Independent


Genocide survivor marks 25 years in Ireland

Wednesday, 10th April, 2019 4:52pm

A Rwandan national who sought refuge in Cork after fleeing her home country in 1994 has said that time has not healed her wounds.

Chantal Mutesi’s family was devastated during the 1994 genocide which saw close to a million people slaughtered in what is known as the 100 day war. It was the fastest killing spree in recorded history.

Surviving the atrocity, which claimed the lives of her husband, four brothers, a sister, her mother and other members of her extended family and friends, a 26 year old Chantal escaped with her three week old baby and made her way to Ireland.

Recalling her horrific experience in 1994, Chantal said: “I was 26 when it happened. I was there. I lived through it. I survived it with a baby who was only three weeks old when it started. Memories don't fade despite people saying time is a healer. It’s not really, you just learn how to cope.”

Rwanda was plunged into violence in April 1994 within minutes of an aircraft carrying the country’s president and the president of Burundi being shot down as it flew into Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali.

“Memories are still fresh. Seeing the next morning was a bonus. I lost my husband, my brothers and my sister, my mom, my grandmother, my cousins, my aunties, my best friends. The whole life was changed overnight. Commemorating, remembering our loved ones today and the same time acknowledging what’s happening; the courage, the faith and the progress we've made, I couldn't be prouder,” said Chantal.

Ms Mutesi’s daughter, who was three weeks old when the genocide happened, grew up in Cork and will soon visit her homeland for the first time.

Fellow Rwandan genocide survivor and Cork resident Egwyge Roussard traveled with Chantel last weekend to attend a gathering to mark the atrocity’s 25th anniversary in Limerick as guests of aid agency Bóthar.

The solemn gathering at O’Brien Park saw the planting of a birch tree, a symbol of hope and new beginnings, to mark the event.

The two Cork residents made a special tribute to the Irish public for its response to the humanitarian crisis post genocide.

“Really, thank you for everything you have done for us and for the families who are now able to send kids to school,” Chantal said.

ePaper Service

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8
Desktop, Tablet & Smartphone friendly
Cookies on Cork Independent website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Cork Independent website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
How does Cork Independent use cookies?
Cookies enable us to identify your device, or you when you have logged in. We use cookies that are strictly necessary to enable you to move around the site or to provide certain basic features. We use cookies to enhance the functionality of the website by storing your preferences, for example. We also use cookies to help us to improve the performance of our website to provide you with a better user experience.
We don't sell the information collected by cookies, nor do we disclose the information to third parties, except where required by law (for example to government bodies and law enforcement agencies).
Hide Message