Listening to him talk, one can easily think that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki belongs to the Rwandan leadership. Addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, al-Maliki said he had cautioned all the countries in the region that the continued flow and overflow of weapons, money, suicide bombers and fatwas (Islamic religious decrees) inciting hatred and murder will only result in disastrous consequences for the region and the world.
But most importantly, he called for national reconciliation as the only realistic vision that can address problems left behind by insensible governments, and declared that reconciliation is stronger than the weapons of terrorism.
Both in principle and in practice, this is exactly what the Rwandan leadership has been pursuing for the last immediate post-Genocide period, and is still passionate about. Al-Maliki and President Paul Kagame speak the same language about reconciliation because they realize that the complex nature of problems that brought their countries to grief cannot be solved by might and gunfire, as their predecessors thought they could and failed, but through appreciation of one another and dialogue.
The policy of national reconciliation has seen many former FDLR officers and men leave rebel activity in the Democratic Republic of Congo forests and return home to Rwanda to participate in nation building, just as the Iraq government has registered some success in luring over 14,000 former al-Qaida adherents to leave a life of violence and settle down, not only themselves but also thousands of others who would no longer live in fear of their murderous activities.
Al-Malik and Kagame’s similar position would be a great boon to this Great Lakes region that is rife with numerous rebel groups and activity, if appreciated and embraced. Such continued activity completely stops development of any form, and is mostly destructive and never positive. The shedding of human life, destablised social and economic fabrics should never be the continued agenda of people over-consumed by dreams of power and grandeur, or hate.
Everyone, everywhere, should join in persuading the young men and women who are feeding such individual ambitions, to return home and start contributing not only to their own development, but also to the peace of others who have known nothing but fear of insurgents.