Sunday, April 22, 2007

Rwanda teetering

Reuters reports on the bitter controversy surrounding Paul Rusesabagina, described by some as the Oscar Schindler of Rwanda. The hotelier was featured in the book We Wish to Inform You We Will All Be Killed Tomorrow With Our Families and was the object of the Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda.

Rusesabagina has sparked outrage with warnings of another genocide, this time by Tutsis against Hutus, and for claims that war crimes by Tutsis during the 1994 conflict were being overlooked by biased traditional courts.

Hypersensitive strongman Paul Kagame, never one to react well to the slighest criticism, and other critics say he is profiting from the victims' misery and rewriting Rwanda's history for his own gain.

"Publicity hound, genocide revisionist, promoter of ethnic hate speech ... shamelessly banking on the genocide and endangering the survivors," are among the attacks directed at him.

He shrugs off such critics. "If I really wanted Tutsis killed, I could have done it at the time," he noted.

Speaking of Rwanda, US News and World Report has a rosy series on the country.

While it's nice to read a more-or-less optimistic piece on an African country in the US media, it's ironic that they chose Rwanda. 10 years ago, most people were willing to give Kagame the benefit of the doubt, only a few years after a hideous nightmare. But given the regime's expansionism, its hypersensitivity to all criticism and general dubious human rights record, the regime's free pass expired long ago.

Update: The New York Review of Books also has a piece on the tension in Rwanda.


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