On September 8, Paul Rusesabagina was at it again when he launched a supposed “Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Rwanda” in Chicago. This was after his attempts to blackmail parishioners from Wheaton Church, Illinois were uncovered. But, maybe due to his much-publicized accolade with US President George W. Bush after the latter awarded him a medal for bravery, he managed to lobby some prominent personalities, some of whom share his views about modern Rwanda.
As if it would add credit to his diatribe against the current regime in Rwanda, Rusesabagina brought along a former US Ambassador to Burundi, Bob Krueger, who appears to have swallowed his allegations. “I am here to tell you that I have seen it on both sides. Hutus have killed Tutsis and Tutsis have killed Hutus,” he said during the event. He added: “I want you to know that there was a broader genocide. The killing did not end with RPF victory in July 1994.”
Rusesabagina and Krueger argue that Rwanda is still torn by resentment, hatred and vengeance as a result of the Genocide. Rusesabagina told the audience that “President Paul Kagame is a ruthless dictator who would do anything to stay in power.
He and a small clique of Tutsi elite control the political, economic and military power.” He explained that many Hutu intellectuals and businessmen are afraid to go back to Rwanda for fear of being killed or imprisoned.
Rusesabagina’s misrepresentation of Rwanda manifest the colonial legacy, which give erroneous demographic figures that Hutus represent 85 per cent of Rwanda’s population and Tutsis a paltry 14 per cent. But he is unable to reveal the current ethnic demographic statistics because the current government abolished them in the country’s constitution.
It is truly unfortunate that such people keep trying to drag us back on a path Rwandans are daily striving to get out of, the antagonism between Hutu and Tutsi.
We are pained to continue using those words as we rightly consider ourselves as only Rwandans, especially when we know what calamities befell our beloved country because of the same usage of those words and discrimination. Rusesabagina knows very well what he is doing and nothing would stop his ideology or ambitions.
His new website, Ihumure.com, displays a piece by Sarah Krueger, 17, the former ambassador’s daughter.
“In 1996, a member of Military Intelligence drew a pistol, threatening Paul, whose outspokenness had made him a target for elimination. Paul’s list of offenses is long, his outrage strong. In recent meetings with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other lawmakers, he made the following claims: Paul Kagame, after ten years as dictator, was ‘elected’ president with 95 per cent of the vote in rigged elections; 90 per cent of government officials, including teachers, today are Tutsi, though they constitute only 15 per cent of the population. Local Gacaca courts run by near-illiterate Tutsi villagers have become tools of ethnic intimidation.
They charge and judge Hutu villagers, who are denied legal counsel with crimes from petty theft to Genocide; prison facilities designed for 10,000 house 100,000 inmates, some awaiting trial for over ten years; the silent suppression is maintained by a sinister intelligence agency that brings charges, engages in kidnappings, and is responsible for thousands of ‘disappearances’.”
This is the kind of rubbish Rusesabagina has been feeding unsuspecting well-meaning people like this seventeen-year-old American, who left the Great Lakes region when she was four years old.
But who is Rusesabagina to see the situation so differently from foreigners and Rwandans themselves living in the country, when he himself has been thousands of kilometers away overseas for eleven years?
Krueger continues to say that “I doubt that Paul Rusesabagina, who risked his life for those of different ethnicity in 1994, is making false charges against the new government when he says today, ‘we have only changed the dancers, but the music remains the same.’”
But she would be mortified to know that Rusesabagina exaggerated his behaviour in the film Hotel Rwanda by claiming that he saved more than 1,268 people at the Hotel Mille Collines. His claims have been rebuffed by the Genocide survivors who were in Milles Collines, including those portrayed in the movie. Rusesabagina did not help people survive at the Mille Collines.
He simply helped some of his friends to get to the hotel and then extorted money from many others for their own survival.
But why can’t Rusesabagina come to Rwanda like so many other American citizens have lately and see for himself how it is here?
I can assure him that he would be welcome like anyone else is in today’s Rwanda. But I bet you would never in your life want to meet him, unashamedly using the Genocide for his own personal financial and political benefits.