King at Kigali Genocide Memorial: We must hold on to our humanity in order to step back from the abyss

08 January 2024

His Majesty King Abdullah delivered remarks during his visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Kigali, on Monday, stressing the importance of learning lessons from Rwanda’s experience in combating the dehumanising rhetoric that fuels conflicts.

“We must hold on to our humanity, in order to step back from the abyss,” His Majesty said.

Following is the full text of His Majesty’s remarks:

“In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful,

This powerful memorial reminds us that behind every individual killed was a world unto itself—a family that lost a loved one, a mother, a father, a child, a dream extinguished, a potential taken too soon.

The brutality that these walls bear witness to is a constant reminder of the terrifying consequences of dehumanising the other, of how fearmongering and disinformation—amid international complacency—can lead to the ugliest and deadliest extremes.

Rwanda’s experience teaches that we must fight the dehumanising rhetoric that fuels conflict.

Your story can be a beacon for us all—how the people of this country took action after this unspeakable crime of crimes, and worked towards reconciliation, to heal old wounds and prevent genocide from happening again.

How many times have we said never again, only to find ourselves facing another conflict rooted in hatred and dehumanisation?

Almost 30 thousand Gazans have been killed or unaccounted for over the past three months. The overwhelming majority, nearly 70 percent, are women and children.

More children have died in Gaza than in all other conflicts around the world this past year. Of those who have survived, many have lost one or both parents—an entire generation of orphans.

How can indiscriminate aggression and shelling bring peace? How can they guarantee security, when they build on hatred?

Without a just peace, on the basis of the two-state solution, the world will continue to pay a heavy price for failing to resolve this conflict, and we will never know true peace and stability in the Middle East.

This Memorial teaches us that we cannot write off any conflict as hopelessly irreparable. It shows us how respect, justice, and compassion can lead to a better future.

And it teaches the world that memory matters, that we must first acknowledge the brutality before we can work towards peace, that complacency can be tantamount to collusion, that we must hold on to our humanity in order to step back from the abyss.”

His Majesty toured the Kigali Genocide Memorial and was briefed on the exhibits that tell the stories of the victims of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, and Rwandans’ experience in overcoming this tragedy and working towards national unity.

The King also laid a wreath at the memorial and signed the guestbook.

His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, His Majesty’s chief adviser for religious and cultural affairs and personal envoy, Director of the Office of His Majesty Jafar Hassan, General Intelligence Department Director Maj. Gen. Ahmad Husni, Minister of Industry, Trade, and Supply Yousef Shamali, Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta and Rwanda’s National Unity Minister Jean-Damascène Bizimana accompanied His Majesty on the visit.