SECRETARY BLINKEN: I just want to express appreciation for visiting the Rwandan Genocide Memorial. This is an incredibly powerful reminder of man’s inhumanity to man, and also a very, very powerful incentive to do everything in our power (inaudible) this can’t happen again anywhere. It’s so important to be reminded of that on a regular basis because we continue to see conflict, major conflict, in parts of the world and the potential for the past to be prologue.
But what I find so powerful about this memorial is how it has taken something that’s very hard to get your hands around – a million people in such a short period of time – and it takes it down to the individuals, the men, the women, and the children whose lives were cut short, eradicated, their stories ended, all because of hatred and genocide. It makes it real. It makes it palpable. It makes it human. And in so doing, I think this is not just a memorial, as vital and as important as that is; it is living history because it inspires us in the present and for the future – any of us to make sure that we do our part so that man’s inhumanity to man does not come to the fore and carry the day.
So I’m grateful for this opportunity to be here and to see this memorial. It resonates strongly with me as well because of my own family background. My late stepfather was a survivor of the Holocaust. We see how profoundly connected these two events in our history are, and we can only hope that as people visit and as they come here, they’re able to fully appreciate the human dimension of this horror and fully resolve not to let it happen again.