Last Wednesday’s (24.03.10) edition of The New Times bore interesting headlines on its first page. The first was “FDU’s Ingabire attempts to flee” and, bellow it, “Top FDLR commander surrenders”.
Colonel Rashid Ngoboka, erstwhile head of training in Rally for Unity and Democracy (RUD – Urunana), a faction of Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), had earlier handed himself over to the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) and was last Tuesday received by officials in Rwanda.
Did this have any bearing on the strange behaviour last Tuesday of the fire-spitting president of the hitherto-unregistered Forces Démocratiques Unifiées (FDU – Inkingi), Ingabire Victoire Umuhoza? Remember, there is a healthy scattering of those Forces Démocratiques that are unified under her motherly tutelage.
So, what is it with our saviour that she should cut and run? And to think that Ingabire is leaving us – poor souls that she came to deliver from fear – high and dry. Well, maybe time will tell – if it is not already telling faster than is good for anybody’s comfort.
This, however, is not to engage in any exercise of discovering what ails what a friend calls “that girlfriend of yours”. I have already used too much of The New Times’ ink on that effort. Right now, there are so many troubling puzzles that there is no time to “indulge sentiments”.
For instance, why did so many Americans give their president hard time over his quest for universal healthcare? You’d think that every patriot would hail a government that seeks to take care of the health of everyone on its soil. Yet, it seems that the “fear” digs deeper than we ordinary souls can ever comprehend.
It is not the fear alluded to by the likes of Ingabire in their attempt to hoodwink those in the West who are too gullible to see through their ruse, but the “fear of the minority”. The main reason for the resistance to healthcare for all, it seems, is this “fear of the minority”.
The rich in America who resisted that healthcare did not do so because they didn’t want poor Americans to be taken care of. In pretending to fight a tendency to socialism, those Americans in reality did not want minority immigrants to benefit from such facilities, because they take the country to belong to no one else.
And that impulsive tendency is not necessarily exclusively American. It informs the behaviour of all societies, much as only we in the third world feel its influence from the developed world. That is why a government in the third world is not judged by how well it manages its citizenry and resources but by the individual who heads it.
Take the 52-year-old British-born Chritiane Amanpour of CNN. She is an accomplished and world-renowned journalist and a brilliant interviewer by all standards. Yet, in spite of being of Iranian-British parentage, she seemed to display that impulsive tendency during her interview with President Paul Kagame.
She acquiesces to the many good achievements that the government of Rwanda has attained under the leadership of President Kagame, but makes sure they are mentioned only in passing. It is obvious to her that these many things cannot be achieved by one man in 11 million Rwandans, but no, “opponents say” it’s that one man.
What forms the gist of her interview, after that, is what those “many people say”. Pressed to name those “many people”, she is at a los but still goes ahead to sing the refrain of “many people say”. In fact, she repeats it ten times in the interview, betraying the fact that she is not prepared for the President’s patient elucidation effort.
That’s why, to me, her behaviour smacks of a manifestation of that impulsive tendency. It has always been claimed that the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) constituted a large chunk of Rwandans who lived in Uganda for a long time, ever since late Habyarimana branded them invaders from Uganda.
Add to that the fact that Western anthropological ‘findings’ fixed the origin of Batutsi firmly in Ethiopia, even if some of their families can trace their ancestries in Rwanda back more centuries than anybody can theirs. Then there is the fact of having a president from this so-called minority ethnic group.
Put all that together and voilà: “Sixteen years after the slaughter of 800 Tutsis, Rwandan opposition leader Ingabire has dared to discuss the grievances of Hutus who, though a majority, are excluded from good jobs and political power”, to quote a similarly biased paper. I can see your incredulous blinking, if you have not seen that statement in that paper.
That, believe it or not, is picked straight out of the page of the respected Mail & Guardian newspaper, when illustrating an interview with her! The paper has not bothered to establish that the number of genocide victims is slightly over 1.2 million. Nor has it bothered to check out who is in power, even if everything is online.
Of course, what is shocking is not that a newspaper can present such ridiculously gross inaccuracies about Rwanda to its readers as news. What is shocking is that the newspaper’s reporter was in Africa, Rwanda to be exact. Talk about wholesale importation – even importing the “fear of the minority”!
Calamitous does not begin to describe our situation.