Eighteen years ago this month, a spasm of genocide in Rwanda ended.
As a generation approaches adulthood unburdened by memories of the conflict between ethnic Hutus and Tutsis, Rwanda plans to rebury hundreds of bodies on public display at the Murambi genocide memorial. But the plan is provoking debate about how future generations will commemorate the atrocities of 1994.
Murambi technical college sits atop a hill in rolling green countryside; children play outside the school gates. Gilbert Sezirahiga is managing director of the memorial center established here after the civil war.
“When the genocide started, the old authorities demobilized all the Tutsis from the province, sending them to this school. They killed them everywhere; in the garden, classrooms, dining rooms, everywhere. There were so many,” said Sezirahiga.
Today, in the 24 red-brick classrooms, where desks and chairs once stood, the contorted, semi-mummified corpses of about 1,000 men, women and children are stacked on wooden frames.
Exhumed from mass graves and preserved in lime, these are just some of the 45,000 Tutsis massacred at Murambi on the night of April 21, 1994.