How could Lantos Foundation call Genocide survivors ‘absurd’ and ‘petty’?

Following a demonstration at the Lantos Foundation Main Offices in Concord, New Hampshire by Genocide survivors, the President of the Foundation, Katrina Lantos Swett issued a press release calling the survivors “absurd” and “petty.” The survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi were protesting against the upcoming event on November 16 in Washington, D.C. to give self-styled hero Paul Rusesabagina a humanitarian award.
Willis Shalita
Willis Shalita

Following a demonstration at the Lantos Foundation Main Offices in Concord, New Hampshire by Genocide survivors, the President of the Foundation, Katrina Lantos Swett issued a press release calling the survivors “absurd” and “petty.”

The survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi were protesting against the upcoming event on November 16 in Washington, D.C. to give self-styled hero Paul Rusesabagina a humanitarian award.

The mean-spirited and insulting press release goes on to accuse the survivors of having an agenda to tarnish Rusesabagina’s “good name.”

This follows weeks of trying to inform and educate The Lantos Foundation

by the survivors about Rusesabagina’s known and provable schemes to deny

the Genocide against the Tutsi, as well as his hate speeches and affiliation to the FDLR. But all these pleas fell on deaf ears.

Oblivious to the truth and facts, the Foundation has in essence become Rusesabagina’s new propaganda machine, crediting him with trying to establish democracy and reconciliation, but not willing to vet the man’s

sinister political agenda to destabilize Rwanda.

Were Katrina Swett not “a child of Holocaust survivors” as she points out, the press release would not be as hurtful and insulting. The Lantos Foundation was after all founded in memory of the late Congressman Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to the U.S. Congress.

The press release trivializes the survivors’ stories of survival against great odds, adding ‘This script is at times absurd and at other times

petty.” And all the survivors ever did was exercise their right to free speech.

Swett has found her Schindler in Rusesabagina, but the last laugh is on her.

Abandoning their role of speaking out against abuse of human rights and genocide, the Foundation has turned into a machine with a political agenda aimed at spreading un-truths about Rwanda and defending those outside the country planning to sow divisions and political turmoil

The press release does not deny that Rusesabagina charged those who sought shelter at Hotel Mille Collines, but adds in a new twist. The money fleeced from the survivors, the release claims, was to buy them food and pay the INTERAHAMWE to spare them. Swett goes on to say, “At the end of the day, it seems that his real offense in their eyes, is that he has been outspoken in defense of democracy in Rwanda even in the face of determined efforts to silence him.”

The Lantos Foundation has categorically refused to review all evidence available that shows that Rusesabagina is not the ordinary man he claims to be, and far from being a humanitarian, and stuck to the script Rusesabagina has concocted for them.

All this begs the question: how would the Lantos Foundation react were a Rwandan survivors’ group to entertain and glorify a Holocaust denier? May be Tutsi blood is not as precious.

Willis.Shalita@calbar.ca.gov

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