As far as France can go? In Rwanda, Macron acknowledges French responsibility in genocide

“I remember,” spoken in the local Kinyarwanda language by Emmanuel Macron. Did the French president find the right words in his speech on Kigali’s genocide memorial? Macron recognized France’s devastating responsibility leading up to the 1994 genocide, an era when France supported a regime where hardliners gained influence. Paris should have seen the peace process unravel, Macron said in a long-awaited speech by a French president, hoping it marks a new beginning after 27 fraught years.

Was the French president right to stop with an explicit apology and follow the conclusions of historians who found no evidence that France was actively participating in the genocide itself?

That is a position often taken by then-rebel leader Paul Kagame, who has ruled Rwanda ever since. This time, he seems content and says the truth matters more than an apology. What is at stake for Paris and for Kigali? What does it mean in particular for the generation born after 1994?

Produced by Charles Wente, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.

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