Opinion: Western activists who weaponized Rusesabagina should get used to the embarrassment that came their way

In normal circumstances, as soon as Rusesabagina backers learned that he had boarded that plane in Dubai, they should have just called it done; but they generally hate to see their white savior plans get wrecked.
Photo: Sam Ngendahimana

Rusesabagina appears to be another instance where non-Rwandans are involved, consciously or unconsciously, in the facilitating of terrorism.

When news broke of his arrest, the house of cards fell and US-based “freedom and democracy activists” went into overdrive calling for his immediate release, as if they were worried he could accept a plea, switch up and snitch on everyone like 6ix9ine.


Indeed, considering their panicked PR campaign, like a drowning swimmer splashing around in the water, there is a legitimate suspicion of these foreign activists colluding with Rusesabagina terrorist activities.


In normal circumstances, as soon as Rusesabagina backers learned that he had boarded that plane in Dubai, they should have just called it done; but they generally hate to see their white savior plans get wrecked; and when it happens, rather than recognize their mistake and shut the shop down, they turn to misinformation and blame natives, like saying that President Kagame is taking them for fools.


According to almost all western democracy and freedom activists, Rusesabagina is a victim and the Rwandan government is the aggressor. The aggression of the Rwandan government aims to disrupt the “political activities” of MRCD/FLN launched in 2018, as per Rusesabagina 2018 New Year message, to liberate the people of Rwanda.

From the day Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) announced Rusesabagina arrest, western media, American activists, and Rusesabagina publicists – unsurprisingly almost all of them of Caucasian tribe -, have been heard and seen condemning his imaginary kidnapping or abduction, and outright denying his charges, including disputing without any basis the authenticity of a video showing Rusesabagina announcing the beginning of a military campaign to overthrow the Rwandan government.

In an article of The Economist titled “What the arrest of a hero of the genocide says about Paul Kagame’s rule” of September 3rd, 2020, the author painted Rusesabagina as “a hero of the genocide”, and minimized his crimes arguing that calling for an armed struggle against the regime was just “a terrible idea”.

Other than that, for the sponsors, there is nothing else to say, except that Rwanda is illegally detaining a Belgian citizen and a US resident for being a Kagame critic.

A Washington-based consultant of “Rusesabagina Foundation” published a tribune in The Hill describing charges against Rusesabagina as “a tale about criminalizing and silencing opposition voices”.

What the world is yet to see are protests with slogans like “We are all Rusesabagina”, and calls for his release to allow him to resume his “humanitarian” activities in the Nyungwe National Park.

One question that one cannot help but ask is why Rusesabagina backers and sponsors didn’t withdraw their endorsement and support, but rather kept on stubbornly referring to him as “a humanitarian”, even after he solemnly declared war to overthrow the Rwandan government and pledged his unreserved support to FLN rebels; and after western foreign offices revised their travel advisory on Rwanda in December 2018 citing "military incursions that killed civilians near Kitabi, on the edge of the Nyungwe National Park", which attacks were claimed by FLN linked to Rusesabagina.

Similarly, why the stubborn media campaign today trying to come to the rescue of their “hero”, instead of the hard realization that his last trip to Rwanda was the last dance of their maneuvers?

It is typically western media and US-based so-called pro-democracy activists who don’t understand the importance of respecting African’s pain and their right to justice. Rusesabagina’s story of “heroism” and recent condemnation of his arrest and trial in Rwanda are one footnote to this larger narrative.

Indeed, their hysterical reactions are an attempt to mask some panic and shame. More than anyone else, the backers of Rusesabagina are worried about how his declarations could be damaging.

It is known that Rusesabagina traveled to Rwanda with his phone, computer, and his notes; perhaps they are terrified of the WhatsApp chats, records of money transferred through him, his family members, and his Foundation to militia groups, and the content of files retrieved from his phone and computer.

Rusesabagina and his backers seeking to destabilize the security of Rwanda were warned that they are going to face it rough. Rusesabagina is a testimony that President Kagame was not making empty promises or idle threats when he warned that the Rwandan government was going “to raise the cost on the part of anybody who wants to destabilize our security, [and] the cost is going to be very high”, he said.

The lesson the Caucasian tribe could draw from their Rusesabagina episode, it is a reminder that terrorism cannot be camouflaged behind ‘promotion of democracy and freedom’ as a sword, wielded to impose impostors recognized by western activists and promoted by their media and publicists.

Another lesson Rusesabagina backers should learn is that they are not amphibious creatures, no matter how much they may believe they are unsinkable; Rusesabagina is a living proof that in the business of “promotion of democracy in Africa”, western marionettes have to be on top of their game, all the time, otherwise, sometimes they appear to be winning, and sometimes they are on the plane going back home.

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