By Carolyn Conte | The Duquesne Duke
“On April 6, 22 years ago tonight, a plane was shot down,” recalls Carl Wilkins, the only American who stayed in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide of ethnic Tutsi population.
Wilkins spoke at Duquesne Wednesday as part of the Walk to Remember, a memorial event for the 1994 Rwandan genocide. He joined two Rwandan Duquesne students on a panel in the Union Ballroom to share his perspective on the tragedy.
The event was hosted by Gerald Boodoo, professor of African studies at Duquesne and director of the Center for African Studies, who sponsored the event.
Wilkins founded World Outside My Shoes, a non-profit organization whose aim is to educate on undeserved populations across the world.
He said Rwanda has still not recovered from the mass killings.
He said he thinks about God, himself, prayer and daily life differently now. He decided to stay through the crisis simply because he “couldn’t leave knowing with quiet certainty [his] neighbors would be killed.”
Mireille Muhoza, a sophomore physics major, said there is much more to the country than its tale of tragedy.
“I don’t want people to continue to say Rwanda [and think of] genocide.”
Muhoza also said commemoration week is an important time for the youth of Rwanda to understand their history.
“It is our duty as individuals to fight for a better world,” she said.