There are some people who can never change their beliefs or ideologies, however much you show or prove to them how mistaken they are.
And, sometimes, when you engage them, openly, they enjoy the visibility while you lose your valuable time. They constitute such a distraction and, bizarrely, keep snatching the headlines in, even, the most established media organisations.
Such individuals are always eager to derive negative interpretations from whatever one does.
They turn a blind eye to reality and in most cases don’t stand for any values or have any morals to protect. For them, diverting attention and smearing people or an institution’s image is a great achievement. Most of them represent a dangerous ideology. Some call them extremists.
Another category is of people who, while not squarely dismissing everything you undertake or are associated with, they, consciously or not, help create and sustain the extremists.
They are accomplices in one way or another in the attempt to cover up the truth. Here, you find individuals who are so pessimistic that they doubt their own eyes, and are thus highly susceptible to lies and machinations of the extremists.
For lack of a genuine reason not to believe what they see themselves, they are acutely keen to buy into stereotypes. And, because they are obsessed with listening to an opposing voice, with little regard to substance or even basic judgement, they never verify most allegations.
They hardly question any claims by those in the former category yet they (extremist voices) often influence their judgments.
These two groups are present in the international discourse about Rwanda. If you read some of the recent literature about Rwanda and you happen to be in the country, you would probably know what I am talking about.
The Rwanda I sometimes read and hear about has nothing in common with the one I live in, other than the name. Elements in the former category have worked relentlessly to redefine this country’s identity, both her history and present, and prophesied a future that is doom and gloom. Their narrative of Rwanda looks like they have superimposed an imaginary country different from the one we know.
Strangely, some sections of the media – who belong to the second group of the two categories described above – keep confusing the Rwanda in the real world, and the fictitious one.
You cannot judge the real world from Hollywood lenses! It is either fiction or reality. You can marry the two but the outcome cannot be said to be representation of the reality.
Sometime back, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report about an ‘imaginary’ Rwanda, claiming that inmates in a prison in Gitarama had resorted to eating each other’s flesh and that their nails were falling off the fingers because of starvation!
Such is the work of those who choose to look at Rwanda from an unnatural perspective.
Yet those who look at the country without poisoning their judgments with wild imaginations will tell you that Rwanda is one of the few countries where inmates watch live football on Pay-TV channels in their own facilities, let alone enjoying a decent meal.
Such friendly conditions in the country’s prisons informed recent decisions by both the lower and upper trial chambers of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to transfer to Rwanda Genocide suspect, Jean Uwinkindi.
Obviously, it’s unfortunate and disgusting that certain organisations have allowed an obsession to settle their own personal score with Rwanda, and indeed several other nations, to take precedence over professionalism and their own integrity.
Meanwhile, there is a section of Rwandans who call themselves the legitimate opposition. Rather than advance issues and have policy- based debates, they chose to denounce everything, just to tarnish image and attempt to discourage good will.
There’s one individual who calls herself Sandra Munyana, whom I’ve never seen or talked to. Munyana has taken it upon herself to attack my column, through emails, with rants only reminiscent of the language of the pre-1994 Rwandan leaders in the run-up and during the Genocide.
In a recent email, she called two other columnists of this newspaper and myself ‘the Ugandan youths’, a reference to Rwandans who, because of their country’s history and not out of their own choice, were born on foreign soils.
Munyana will go at great length to call you anything as long as you do not share her opinion. Others have even resorted to violent acts and other forms of intimidation against ordinary people with varying opinion.
Strangely, such characters will claim to be the champions of free speech in Rwanda. More bizarrely, they will be regarded by some media sections as Rwanda’s legitimate opposition.
I say nay, they are symbols of desperate, radical elements who are resistant to the positive, all-inclusive transformational process.Follow https://twitter.com/JMunyaneza