It’s all hands on deck for a face-off with the Titans

As I’ve said before, I urge everybody, interested in the details of the Genocide against Batutsi and feeling they know them, to read Gil Courtemanche’s book, A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali. The story was based in Hôtel des Mille Collines but actually the hotel was a microcosm of life in pre-Genocide Rwanda.
 Pan Butamire
Pan Butamire

As I’ve said before, I urge everybody, interested in the details of the Genocide against Batutsi and feeling they know them, to read Gil Courtemanche’s book, A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali. The story was based in Hôtel des Mille Collines but actually the hotel was a microcosm of life in pre-Genocide Rwanda.

Rwandans be warned, though, that love scenes are described in terms that are offensive to your cultural sensibilities. Otherwise, Gil (RIP) goes at the story hammer and tongs.

Using real first names, he tears down the officials supervising a horror that’s building to an explosive climax but also finds time to sympathise with its attendant victims. Conspirator and victim, all regularly gathered at the hotel: government workers, business buffs, aid workers, diplomats, UN loafers, prostitutes, hotel workers, the horde. Thus, a keen ear could pick up all of Rwanda’s goings-on from this hotel.

Through Gil’s eyes, who uses fiction probably to distance himself from blame of not doing all to help, you are able to relive the drama of how the Théoneste Bagosora cabal is in cahoots with the French and, to a lesser extent Belgians, to see the Genocide enterprise through. In the lead up to the explosion, everyone at this hotel was privy to the “secret” that the cabal was planning to create the trigger that’d set off the “final apocalypse” – the death of then President Habyarimana.

The book opens your eyes to a frightening realisation: Western powers knew what was going on down to the smallest detail. The preparations and the final macabre drama were an open book. But then again, it’s not as if those embassies wouldn’t have got those details in other ways.

Those with a knack for minor detail will recall how we used to see satellite pictures of plate numbers of the RPF/A’s few vehicles, when this fledgling guerrilla force was still ensconced in the northern fringes of Rwanda. We were in Nairobi then and rumour had it that the pictures were downloaded in the Air France offices at Nairobi’s international airport. Rumour, which was given a boost when the airline sacked one of its employees. He was a Rwandan refugee living in Kenya.

But that was not all. Just after the Genocide, we remember how it was reported that a group of Rwandans on the run in the DR Congo had disappeared – this was during the only time that Rwandan soldiers entered the country to repatriate refugees held hostage by Genocide fuguitives. Later, when the group of refugees was sighted emerging from some dense canopy of the jungles, nothing was said of them again.

Times were different then. These powers and their organisations knew where the genocide fugitives pushing further inside DRC, with their dwindling hostages, were. They also knew where Rwandan soldiers were.  But with the guilt of having watched the perpetration of Genocide without intervening still gnawing at their conscience, they had not yet found the courage to spin fabrications.

However, when Rwandans got collaboration with some Congolese and together they pushed their way up to Kinshasa to remove the protector of the génocidaires, late Mobutu Sese Seko, all that changed and the din rose. By the time Rwanda forgot the remnants of her fugitives and pulled out, the din was at a crescendo.

Unknown to Rwandans, though, they’d handed the powers the triumph they’d been looking for. The powers had got Rwanda’s Achilles’ heel (the din) and so, they’ll never let up.

Yet from all the above, it’s clear that they are truly spinning fabrications. They have a bird’s eye view of whatever is going on. They have the facts. There is not a single soldier or gun, leave alone troop movements or arms consignments, that can go into DRC and escape their hawkish watch. Rwanda, nay Africa, is under a 24-hour, 7-day, satellite (sometimes drone, too) gaze.

Therefore, when these powers resort to amateurish forgeries of identity cards and uniforms that even a kindergarten kid scorns at, it’s because they must deliver on a project. For being capable of walking to Kinshasa and for standing up to Western powers, Rwanda must be recreated.

And the project – “Project Demonised-Rwanda?” – is shaping up well. Today, any Western news outlet that mentions Rwanda will of necessity qualify her with “autocratic”, “free-speech gagging”, “Tutsi-dominated”, “M23-supporting”, whatever in their vocabulary describes Dracula. To make “M23-supporting” more satanic, M23 is qualified as rapist even when it’s not associated with any raping.

For their very survival, Rwandans must fight this project if it’s the last thing they’ll fight. It’s a project pushed by the powerful of the world and Rwandans will need all hands on deck – every single one of those hands.

That’s why it’s saddening to hear some Rwandans say their government is too prickly. The moment Rwandans let any false accusation, distortion or lie stick for a second is the moment they’ll be face to face with the monster of 1994.

Understanding the total ramifications of this project and how to fight it begins by knowing the details of how 1994 came to stare Rwandans in the face. Reading books like ASunday at the Pool in Kigali is one step, however small, in this effort.

Rwandans, now more than ever, it’s a call to “touch where it used to be”; defend your patriotism!
                      
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