The Rwandan President Paul Kagame's visit to Sacramento State was replaced by a four minute YouTube video, and was plagued with technical problems leading to hundreds walking out during the Third International Genocide Conference Thursday.
Despite the technical issues, the horror of genocide reigned above political, social and economic troubles at the convention with the memory of late Alexandre Kimenyi at the forefront.
Protests were prominent this year, with a small amount of demonstrators from Congo and Rwanda, along with other United States civilians raising signs bearing such words as "Kagame Killed Africans."
The work of Kimenyi led to the International Genocide conference being held at Sac State for the third time since its founding in 1998. The second in 2005 also saw the visit of Kagame and protesting.
Kagame's visit came through YouTube this year, but the audience was still able to witness a four-minute video covering the negatives of genocide.
"There is no excuse for genocide," Kagame said during the video.
Thoughts on the sheer "evil and horror" of genocide were delivered by Elizabeth Minnich, senior scholar, American Colleges & Universities; Queens University, who was key speaker at the unofficial opening on Nov. 2. The theme was reiterated by the documentary film "Rwanda - Beyond the Deadly Pit."
The film itself looked at the "greatest personal failures" of former President Bill Clinton as it followed Gilbert Ndahayo, a survivor of the genocide on a journey back to Rwanda to attempt to rebury all 52 of his immediate family who were murdered before confronting and giving forgiveness to the murderer of his father.
The coverage of the negatives of genocide were evident, however, some audience members were left frustrated by the non-showing and technical problems. Jacob Mendoza, sophomore pre-med student, was disappointed by not seeing Kagame in person.
"I have traveled over 30 minutes to view a pre-recorded YouTube video," Mendoza said. "The technology issues were a embarrassment to Sac State."
The embarrassment in "poor organization" was also felt by Olivier Martinez, student of Butte Community College, who made the two hour trip from Chico to discover the Aesop Rock concert she had come to see was being played at the same time and next door to the screening of the "Rwanda - Beyond the Deadly Pit" documentary.
Deng disagrees technology ruined the effectiveness of the conference saying the problems were "overcome efficiently."
"The event was clearly well planned; the hard work, sacrifice, dedication was there for all to see," said Deng.
"It was a pleasure being surrounded by individuals who strive for truth and justice."
Tim Barraud can be reached at email@example.com