Rwanda‘s President Paul Kagame endorses SHOOTING DOGS:
"The film as such is going to be a continued part of our memory relating to the genocide and I think that memory needs to be kept" President Kagame
A report by Arthur Asiimwe (Ely Times & County: Land of the Trees Local News Leader)
A new film on Rwanda‘s genocide reduced many survivors to tears at its premiere in Kigali but President Paul Kagame said on Tuesday the movie would help to ensure memories of the mass murder were kept alive.
Survivor Claudine Nyirumwiza emerged from watching the film on Monday night with tears rolling down her face.
"I hate a machete. I hate seeing a machete anywhere because it reminds me the pain of slow death that my close relatives went through," she said.
Her two brothers, sister and father were among 800,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus shot, hacked and beaten to death by extremist Hutu militias in 1994.
Despite a heavy downpour, the premiere of "Shooting Dogs" drew some 1,500 people to Kigali‘s Amahoro stadium, where thousands sought refuge during the 100 days of killing.
The film‘s title refers to the way UN troops shot dogs eating the corpses that littered the streets of the Rwandan capital.
A genocide survivor group has accused the film-makers of causing fresh trauma to many survivors who worked as extras.
But Kagame defended the film, one of several recent accounts of the bloodletting.
"The film as such is going to be a continued part of our memory relating to the genocide and I think that memory needs to be kept," he told reporters.
Shot in Rwanda and starring British actors John Hurt and Hugh Dancy, the film depicts the story of a Roman Catholic priest and a teacher caught up in the genocide.
Kagame said it was the events of 1994 that caused pain, not films about them.
"If it is a film built on what happened here in 1994 naturally it recreates the scenes that affect people," he said.
"I think it is not the film that traumatizes them but it‘s what happened to them."
The film portrays the massacre at Kigali‘s Ecole Technique Officielle, run by priests and home to Belgian U.N. troops.
At least 2,500 Tutsis took refuge there during the initial days of the genocide. But when UN soldiers pulled out, Hutu Interahamwe militias quickly overran the school and within hours most of the men, women and children were dead.
"The film should be a reminder of the mistakes made in our history by Rwandans but also by international community because they had a responsibility one way or another in which they failed," Kagame said.