Many years have passed since the genocide, but for many it feels like yesterday; although this year’s ceremony at the Genocide Memorial was marked by a low key event attended by President Paul Kegame, his wife, ministers and a small number of diplomatic guests, it was later at the AmahoroStadium where thousands had the opportunity to remember their dead in a candle-lit vigil. On our way to the stadium we met a survivor, SpecioseMukayiramg who lost her husband and three children during the genocide and we visit the school where they first sought refuge in the belief the UN soldiers also stationed there would protect them, only to be abandoned later at the mercy of their killers following the contingent’s withdrawal. The decision that led to the withdrawal was due to the killing of ten Belgium soldiers from UNAMIR, the peace mission operating under a UN mandate and made out largely of Belgium forces.
We drive back towards Kigali and make an unscheduled stop at the Nyamata memorial site in the Bugeseraregion, approximately 35 kilometers from the capital city of Kigali. Nyamata and the surrounding region suffered some of the most extensive devastation in 1994, a result of targeted attacks during the Genocide Against the Tutsi. But amid the carnage and devastation that engulfed the country in 1994 and its legacy, there is a young generation of Rwandans who are optimistic about the future. We meet a a Tutsi man who married the Hutu daughter of those involved in killing his family and today he is the one supporting his wife’s mother out of his reparation money. Back in Kigali we meet Dydine, the young founder of Umbrella, an NGO that enables young people from all backgrounds to come to terms with their experiences and memories through film; and Marcel, a successful young entrepreneur who runs a popular news website in Rwanda. He was one of only two out of 2,000 people who survived a massacre. They talk about their hopes and aspirations for the future of their country. They also reflect on what remembering and justice means to them.
Rain Through Stone is not a film about who is right or who is wrong, who is guilty or who is innocent. Instead the film aims to provide a complex and rounded portrait of international justice mechanisms and the role memory or the absence of it plays in the public consciousness both in Rwanda and the West. Through the intimate and personal journeys of our characters we ask a vital and pressing question: how do we deal with the magnitude of genocide and the passing of time. What will remain engraved in stone for posterity and what will be washed away?
‘Rain Through Stone’ was the working title of the film which then became ‘Justice Seekers’ EDITED 02.06.14