Happy Fourth of July.

We stand on the cusp of a new day, a special day. As tomorrow dawns, so begins a day of remembrance. A date that serves as a memorial, lest we forget.

Tomorrow, on the 4th of July, Rwanda will celebrate Liberation Day. It will be 15 years since the events of 1994 erupted into racial violence. 15 years ago, more than a million individuals were murdered in the course of a hundred days. In the span of three months, as neighbour turned on neighbour, a million unique people ceased to be. And the world watched, rapt with horror.

As international leaders found themselves unable to act, racial hate fanned into the flames of genocide. As men debated the sovereignty of nations, other men became murderers. Some enjoyed it, many others were subsumed by the bloodlust of their so-called brethren. Men became killers or risked their own death, in a society burning down to reveal the primal behind the façade.

As we remember the genocide, let us question ourselves. How could any hate be so great as to blind a man to himself? How could a matter of race, a matter of ethnicity, a matter of wealth or power be enough to drive a nation to destruction? How could enough men hate enough to tear a nation asunder?

And as we consider the weakness of irrational mankind, of how great his folly is, let us also remember a little more. Back to 1945, and to Dachau. Today, there stands at the camp a simple engraving; Never Again.

And we ask of ourselves, why. If we said Never Again, then why? Has our memory failed us, or our resolve? As the world watched the camps, liberated one at a time, through newsreels and reporters, it recoiled in horror and shock. Did we make ourselves hypocrites in 1994?

And yet, everything goes on, as it must. Each new day brings with it fresh headlines; of suffering and of devastation, of joy and of hope. The world keeps turning, it’s just up to us to write the story. The story of humanity is a long and chequered tapestry; we can choose to let this latest thread be of justice and goodness, of charity and goodwill. We can be the ones to bring the headlines of hope, to see a future worth making a cause of.

It’s the choice and prerogative of every one of us six billion people on our lonely planet to make the very best of it, to put on all the virtue we could hope for. Like the Bard put it,

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;

Just over six billion parts, waiting to be played, each in their unique circumstances. Some with more responsibility, some with less, all with their varied roles. The actors are about and the production is afoot; will it be comedy, tragedy, or something else completely?

Happy Independence Day.


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