Be Smart About South Africa

Rwanda Gets the Apology it’s been Longing For

President Emmanuel Macron has asked for “the gift of forgiveness” from the people of Rwanda after admitting for the first time that France bears a “terrible responsibility” for the deaths of hundreds of thousands in the 1994 genocide. The French premier’s visit to the east African country, as well as his words of contrition, will be seen as a major diplomatic success for Rwanda’s veteran ruler, Paul Kagame. Speaking at the Genocide Memorial in Kigali, the capital, Macron said that France had not been complicit in the genocide but had made errors of judgment that had appalling consequences. “By engaging … in a conflict in which it had no prior experience, France failed to heed the warnings and overestimated its ability to stop something that was already under way,” Macron said. “Only those who have passed through the darkness can perhaps forgive, make us the gift forgiveness.” Kigali has long accused France of complicity in the killing of about 800,000 mostly Tutsi Rwandans.


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