Me, I’ve had it up to here! Everywhere I look or only point my head, this name assaults my feelings of decency and joie de vivre. The name Rusesabagina seems to be all over; on air, on screen, on paper, online, on-everything. The energy expended on this man – expect my mouth never to utter this name again! – by all these good people and the not-so-good is more than he has used all his cooking life. And his cooking life has been looong. Cooking all the way from the kitchens of Rwanda through to the kitchen of the then-prestigious Kenya Utalii College, from where he came as a chef. After that, now he started the figurative cooking that saw him become manager of Hôtel Diplomate and, much later, nurse feelings of transforming into president of this country. Roller-coasting to the top of this land, my foot! But first things first. In 1994 as the then-government was fleeing, sowing death in its flight and leaving a trail of blood in its wake, he was going to wade through that blood to Gitarama, too, when the cooking bug tickled him. He went to Hôtel des Mille Collines for some looted fuel. On finding the hotel abandoned by its owners, he saw the chance of a true cooking bonanza. What’s out there is that he amassed bags of banknotes and promissory notes from the miserable victims escaping from the Genocide against the Tutsi before admission into Hôtel des Mille Collines, except a few close family friends. That he kept the only international fax line for his cooking designs, denying the victims opportunity for a vital SOS call. That he kept the extremist RTLM radio updated with all victims under his ill-intentioned watch. That he cut water to many who resorted to chlorinated swimming-pool water. All these and more greed-fed and hate-filled betrayals of his compatriots are well recounted by Edouard Kayihura who was the ‘inmate’ of the hotel and dared take time to see what was going on in all parts of the hotel as well as its environs. They are also documented in detail by Alfred Ndahiro and Privat Rutazibwa, from their research. We’ll not go into how, later again, having landed an invitation and a decoration at the White House via so-called heroism cooked in Hollywood, he’d had his ego blown-up to bursting. Hubris which filled his head with visions of himself with the power to lord it over us. He had the dollar-loot from a cooked-up charity organisation and speaking engagements, so what couldn’t he do? He organised to clinch the seat at the helm the way he only knew how; through violence. But that’s sub judice; the alleged terror attacks are shut from our public mention. Suffice it to say the word “alleged” alone drills a hole into every heart of an orphan, a widow, nay, of every peace-loving Rwandan. That aside, because his detailed behaviour in the hotel is from Rwandans who were there or dug up the details, no Western self-appointed expert on Rwanda would wish to throw a glance at them. They do not reflect the alternative “reality” of their liking. They’ll never consider this government’s will to overlook all the barbarities of the time in the spirit of building a united Rwanda, either. Nor will they want to hear the details of a man from their land who sets out to be faithful to his subject. Theirs is to jump on the chance of glorifying “their hero”, as per Hollywood, and use him as a springboard to vilify the person of President Kagame for his independent character. Mr. Joshua Hammer and others of his respectable kind who give a faithful portrayal of the Rwandan situation are anathema to them. Hammer has written such captivatingly detailed analysis, as a man who has been on the scene a number of times, that the rest of the cacophonous crowd must be crying in shame – if shame can feel another shame! Honest Hammer, please do not quote this lounge (group) of lizard scavengers in the name of objectivity or balance. Personally, mention of any of their names turns my guts. Because quoting the true hero of Rwanda’s recovery and rise in the same breath as a man suspected of sponsoring terror and his retinue of insult-hurlers has an underlying sense of moral equivalence. Yet the rap that these Snows, Wrongs, Kurts, Thomsons, Péans, Birrels, Ronnays, the whole murky catalogue, have been copying and pasting from one another since 1994 is the same. “Disappearances”, “murder”, “mysterious deaths”, “tyranny”, “threats”, “intimidation”, “imprisonment”, on and on, all put at the doorstep of Kagame. Tell me, if any semblance of truth were to be associated with 26 years of this ugliness, wouldn’t these 12 million souls happily breathing this Rwandan fresh air have met their maker long ago? The terror-sponsor suspect of their adoration must be laughing at them in his heart, seeing how he was among the first to get the Covid-19 vaccine. In Belgium or USA that he so craves, his name would be somewhere near the bottom of the line!