Of barking dogs, trains and treason

Former US President Ronald Reagan famously divided the world into good and bad guys. This is, of course, only part of the picture. The majority of the world’s population are neither one or the other. They are indifferent. Reagan was correct in one sense, though.

Former US President Ronald Reagan famously divided the world into good and bad guys. This is, of course, only part of the picture.

The majority of the world’s population are neither one or the other. They are indifferent. Reagan was correct in one sense, though.

The good guys and the bad ones play a disproportionate role in the world. But even these play their role differently. The good guys do their bit quietly, without fuss. The bad ones (Reagan called them evil) are quite vociferous. They want to influence events by the sheer weight of their noise and the amount of venom in their views. .

Rwanda has had the experience of these two types..On July 4th  the country awarded medals to  some of the good guys for their contribution to the liberation of Rwanda and for their continued support of her development.

In characteristic fashion, the people recognised for their contribution sought to downplay their role, giving the credit to Rwandans instead. President Paul Kagame remarked that their self-effacing modesty was a result of the recognition that they were doing what was expected of any decent human being.

That is the distinguishing feature of good people. They do whatever is necessary to improve the human condition without demanding or expecting credit for it.

On the same July 4th  the country also celebrated the defeat of the bad guys. Their supporters, however, remain active (at least in terms of the din they make) in the hope that they can derail the progress Rwandans have made in the last sixteen years.

Talking about derailment, President Kagame had a very apt remark for the association of evil drummers. Asked by journalists whether he was not concerned by the increasing cacophony from individuals and groups opposed to his government, he retorted: a dog will bark at a moving train, but will not stop the train by its barking.

He could have added, but did not, (he left that to people’s common sense) that it is common for dogs to run in a pack and bark at a moving train or other vehicle until they tire and stop.

They will wait for the next train and repeat their running and barking all over again. All the while the train chugs along unaffected by the noise of a single dog or a pack of them. The dogs, too, never seem to learn about the futility of their action.

Of course, all this is amusing to the passengers on the train. They laugh at the foolishness and waste of energy and time by man’s best friend. A few of them are moved to pity and wish that all that energy would be used more profitably.

The Rwandan train is moving ahead, chugging along very nicely, the discordant noise from outside regardless. Rwandans on the train are amused, but not distracted, by the noise. Instead they are happy to work to make the train profitable.

Still the noise remains. The latest addition is the voice of Vincent Magombe. Writing in The Independent on July 2nd , Dr Magombe, supposedly an expert on African affairs, said the problems in Rwanda today can be explained by a power struggle between two Rwandan clans that were reported to have held power in pre-colonial Rwanda. The same power struggle has now resurfaced according to Magombe’s analysis.

How he comes to this conclusion is not clear. Clan politics in Rwanda at this point? It seems he must have stumbled upon some account of 19th century Rwandan history as he wandered through the archives in London looking for something that would make him relevant.

He must have read something about clans and power in the Rwanda of more than a hundred years ago and lifted it to explain the country today. And on the basis of this “discovery” he predicts doom for Rwanda.

The prediction seems to me to be more a projection of his dark intentions than a realistic assessment of the situation in Rwanda today.He is not alone. He is part of a group of so-called African intellectuals who make it their business to run down the countries they left for whatever reason.

Another one is Terkastan (she of the forged signatures fame. Remember her?), allegedly a human rights activist and “expert” on Rwanda. She is now the chief cheerleader of all those making the loudest noise about Rwanda’s sins. She has done one decent thing – let the mask of human rights fall and revealed her true colours. And reader, they are not very attractive.

In the midst of all the noise, there was a whiff of treason in the air. Our leading dissidents (this is how they are touted by the the noisy groups and handlers) have found solace in words of comfort and commiseration from foreign security agencies.

They have got more – information on government to government communication. Are these coincidences? There may have been other contacts even before the fugitives (that’s what they really are) fled from justice as was suggested at the president’s last press conference.

On a lighter note, a combination of barking dogs and trains that they will not stop, and treason are so intriguing a Hillywood film maker might find them suitable material for a thriller. Natives of this hilly land may then get wonderful relief from their otherwise serious business of getting the train to its destination.


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