The thing is, Rose, you’re in my mind constantly, I keep thinking about you being held prisoner in France in some kind of, what they call, “Safe House”, surrounded by French Secret Service agents.
I hope, at least, they are polite and respectful to you and are treating you with the dignity a person of your stature requires. The Director of Protocol, the President’s ‘right hand man’, one could say, and they arrest you.
In my own personal analysis, this can look like a direct attack on the President himself; it speaks volumes for the underlying implications, unless they show some quick moves to resolve this disgraceful situation.
Yes indeed, I do worry about the racist thing, as I have been a direct victim of it myself. When I first met the Rwandan people in 1980 in Brussels, through Valerie Gahongerwa Sebatasi with whom I became co-founder member of her Asbl, La Petite Colline”, I was totally ostracized from the Belgian society I was supposed to be part of.
“Que est ce qu’elle va chercher chez ses bougnoules”, (What is she looking for among those apes). I realize this is very crude, but there it is, that’s the sad reality of it. Funny enough, the philosophy of the Petite Colline, was the bringing together of people from different ethnic backgrounds, Rwandan, Irish, Belgian.
Moreover, these people were supposed to be among the “avant guard” of things, writers, people in theatre, communications, the media; just goes to show you, doesn’t it! It’s unbelievable that at this day and age of satellite communication around the world, we humans still remain so incredibly backward and prejudiced.
The indifference of the white world towards the Rwandan genocide is symptomatic of this syndrome. When Bill Clinton, at the end of his mandate, dared to stand up in the Kanombe airport in Kigali and say something like, “Oh, we up there in our big offices are sometimes not aware of the situations in faraway places”.
I thought to myself, “What a gall that bloke has”, and I wrote in The New Times that same week, “Well come on now, Bill, do you really think that anyone is going to buy that garbage. Did you not have an Ambassador right here at the time whose job it was, to keep you informed?”
Then we can ask what about General Dallaire, literally screaming his head off to the UN headquarters begging them to send him more troops, begging for the right to intervene, which, as we all know, was refused him.
When asked by a BBC journalist at the time, “Well, General, tell us what we can do for you”, he replied, in desperation, “More troops, send me more troops”. He did not get any more troops; He became so depressed he had a nervous breakdown following this horrendous genocide.
He has always appeared to me as a great soldier, and a very brave commander. He cared about what was happening here, but he was powerless, he knew he could have stopped it; given the means.
All he got was orders to further reduce the UN troops and the carnage continued before his very eyes. Very often, Rose, I reflect on what it must have been like for you the RPF soldiers marching across the country from Mulindi to try to stop the butchering of the Tutsis. The following is one of the verses from my poem “Ode to Paul Kagame & Inkotanyi”.
Rwanda’s hills were bloody red
And strewn with bodies of the dead
The air was filled with dreadful stench
As thrown they were into common trench
And some into latrines deep down
To suffocate in filth and drown
Many forced to dig their graves
Were buried alive by these knaves
Babies into troughs were thrown
And mashed to death with hate unknown
One young man was crucified
Like Jesus on a cross, he died And on they hacked and maimed and killed
No pity for the lives they spilled
Mothers, fathers, babies all Sisters, brothers, none to small
Young girls they took in savage rape
With Aids they would contaminate
And some impaled on wooden stakes
Left desecrated in their wake
And horror spread, like rampant fire
That only foul mind, could inspire
This is what you stopped, Rose, you and all the others. Many lost their lives in battle as you marched across the country to overcome and stop these monsters from butchering your people.
You were the only help that Rwanda found, as if humanity had indeed gone aground and now it appears to be continuing with this farce they’ve conjured up.
Like my daughter said to me the other day on the phone, “C’est le monde à l’envers”.(It’s the world upside down). How can there be logic in protecting those who perpetrated the genocide and arresting, or wanting to arrest those who stopped it?