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“I’m not Rwandan” – Rusesabagina’s last straw in the court of Rwandan public opinion


On the 17th of February 2021, the trial of Paul Rusesabagina and his 21 co-accused began before the High Court Chamber of International and Cross-border Crimes in Nyanza. It is already public knowledge that all the accused are members of the terrorist group National Liberation Front (FLN). Under undue harassment from the western media, “human rights” organizations and a bunch of western officials that have come out in support of terrorism under the guise of demanding “a fair trial”, Rwanda had decided to take the matter before the people in a public hearing broadcast live on national media and streamed worldwide through  YouTube channels. But public deliberations ended when, facing accusations of terrorism, the Hollywood ‘hero’ played what he thought was his best card:  “I’m not Rwandan. I’m a Belgian,” he claimed, in a warped move that put paid to any hope he might have had to win the popular jury.

By rejecting Rwandan citizenship, Paul Rusesabagina revealed many things about his character, some of which we already suspected.

First, from whatever angle one may look at it, he is now a traitor to an entire nation.  To the country that he sought to destroy, to the survivors and families of victims of the terror attacks and, ironically now, to his accomplices whom he seeks to throw under the bus by demanding preferential treatment. For Mr Rusesabagina,  he should be treated preferentially in view of his “superior” status as a man who extricated himself from the “savage” condition of the natives and has been elevated among the “civilized”. Moreover, by claiming the [white] privilege to terrorize Rwandans (read Blacks) with impunity, Rusesabagina’s contemptuous message is loud and clear: “I’m untouchable”. A provocative message that the popular Rwandan jury will likely be compelled to punish.

Second, Rusesabagina is a coward with no principles whatsoever, the kind that would never sacrifice themselves for any cause beyond their own survival. Obviously, no genuine freedom fighter, not even Mandela, would have renegaded on his identity, his cause, his partners and principles just to escape the wrath of the courts. This is unfathomable for those who believe in the justness of their cause.  Surely, this lack of conviction from Hollywood fiction stems from the fact that Rusesabagina is neither a freedom fighter nor a hero. The idea that this man could have risked his life to save other people is preposterous. Indeed, we should believe the wide range of witnesses including the survivors of the genocide against Tutsi, the commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) force and others who were present at the Hotel Mille Collines and have been telling us that the myths around Rusesabagina’s heroism are just what they are: Hollywood myths.

Third, Rusesabagina is the epitome of the cognitive dissonance affecting most African ‘democracy activists’. While they agitate against what they indiscriminately refer to as “African dictatorships”, they implore the global dictatorship, which is accountable to no one, encouraging them to meddle in African sovereign matters.  The fact that these agitators are willing to support the white supremacist global structure of oppression in exchange for juicy political positions in Africa is a stark reminder that they are opportunists eager to take advantage of any grievances, perceived or real, which Africans may have against their governments. For Rusesabagina, “the struggle for the human rights of Rwandans” was just a veil behind which he was willing to use illegal methods to achieve personal ambitions. Now that he has been caught, he is imploring – by invoking proximity to whiteness – the global dictatorship to interfere in an ongoing judicial process.

But most importantly, between the popular Rwandan jury and the western jury, Rusesabagina has made his choice clear about which jury he values the most. The Rwandan government, on the other hand, confident in the justness of the values and principles it stands for and in the strength of the evidence at its disposal, has sought legitimacy for its actions by inviting the people of Rwanda to the trial.

In a recent interview with the popular CNN journalist, Richard Quest, President Paul Kagame reminded Rwandans in particular and Africans at large of what was at stake behind the undue harassment and the constant interference around this case.

“If you are telling me that everyone has to conform to what the West tells us to do, I’m not one of those people,” President Kagame told Quest.

But Quest was adamant that this case would tarnish the image of the Rwandan president in the western audience, the only audience that presumably counts. Quest’s message was crystal clear: the global dictatorship has the power to tarnish the image of anyone it deems unruly. Similarly, it has attempted to whitewash the image of its stooge, the anointed ‘hero’ whom it intended to impose on Rwandans.

Indeed, this is a confrontation of two worldviews. One weaponizes freedom to terrorize Africans into submission to the global dictatorship; the other is a pan-African liberation journey that started 30 years ago and which conceives freedom as a constant quest to uphold the dignity of Africans. The choice for Africans should be obvious, as obvious as the fact that Rusesabagina has renounced any dignity and, by that singular act, has also lost his trial.




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