I read the article in the New York Times by Josh Kron, which was published on the 16th May titled “For Rwandan students, ethnic tensions lurk” with utter amazement. While I certainly respect Mr. Kron, I think that his article was so lacking in common sense, good taste and objectivity.
The first paragraph is all about a love gone wrong. I will not presume to say that the lady, was lying, but everyone knows that there are always two sides to a story.
And I’m sorry, but I couldn’t see his side of the story. Therefore to accuse someone of harbouring ethnic prejudices without his side of the story is wrong and unethical.
But let me talk about the so-called tensions at the National University. I am an alumnus of the university; I arrived there in 2002 and graduated two years ago.
I think that that fact gives me a better knowledge of the workings of the student community there. To say that the student community isn’t able to discuss this country’s past, current and future challenges are simply a lie.
To insinuate that friendships along linguistic lines are rare is simply false. I personally had many good friends from both the so-called ‘Anglophones and the Francophones’.
While I was someone who came back to Rwanda after 1994, one of my best friends was a former soldier in the FAR. How would you explain that Mr. Kron? And honestly, I wasn’t even unusual.
It’s amazing how he talks about the reconciliation drive ‘indoctrination’- as if bringing together a community is somehow sinister. He went further to talk about the ingando solidarity camps.
Obviously he hasn’t visited the camp in Nkumba because if he did he’d know that the debate there is quite eye-opening.
To presume that we, the students, who attended these ingando’s were being brainwashed and lacked any kind of personal judgment is paternalistic and insulting.
To somehow find fault with the reconciliation clubs at the university and its warnings about divisionism and genocide ideology is crazy. Does he realise that only 16 years ago, students were killed by their colleagues and lecturers?
While I will not say that everything is hunky-dory at NUR (a few years ago, student guild elections were suspended because of allegations of genocide ideology) I can say with all honestly that I never felt threatened or unable to voice my opinions.
I went to class, read in the library, did the exams, made friends and then graduated. How sinister is that?