‘And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.’ – Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
Founded in the nineteenth century at the pick of the British empire, spanning where the sun doesn’t set; in an era of the dominion of one race over another, the Economist might have remained wrapped into an out-of-touch international normativism, which over time has come to be inconsequential to matters of contemporary reality.
As a writer, I was rather astonished in 2017 to see a two hundred years old paper plagiarize itself four times in one month, by publishing the same article with different titles for four weeks in a roll, just loud enough so that people could hear. This was after president Kagame had been elected for a third time. The title: ‘Many Africans see Kagame’s Rwanda as a model. They are wrong’. This title ran as a new column under a different title every week for a month in the economist.
Nobody heard, sadly, and six months thereafter in January 2018, President Kagame would be elected Chairperson of the African Union and unanimously placed in charge of reforming the continental body. Three month hence, he would preside over the signing of the historic African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) treaty, in an African Union Summit held at the Convention Center in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, along with the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), Al-Jazeera would later title: Kagame’s Rwanda is still Africa’s most inspiring success story!
A month after that, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping would visit Rwanda in the same week. A month later, Xi would receive Paul Kagame at the great hall of the People of China in a state ceremony where a dozen of canons were shot in his honor. Kagame would proceed to attend the G-20 meetings, accept the Pope’s apologies in the Vatican for the role of the Catholic Church in the genocide against the Tutsi, then off to France to announce, alongside French president Emmanuel Macron that his minister of foreign affairs, Mrs Louise Mushikiwabo was to lead the French Francophonie, etc.
This article, immodest in appearance, aims to demonstrate that the economist’s activism amounted to nothing – quite the contrary in fact. Kagame got busy, it seems everyone wanted to associate with him.
Yet, here we are again: following the arrest of one Paul Rusesabagina, a self-proclaimed terrorist, See video below:
Paul Rusesabagina was made famous by a Hollywood film; Hotel Rwanda, the economist titled: ‘What the arrest of a hero of the genocide says about Paul Kagame’s rule.’
Out of principle I will not dignify the economist’s article with a response as to whom Rusesabagina really is and what he has done, I will discuss that in another article or for another paper. I will say this: in spite of all the liftings afforded to him by economist, Rusesabagina will be tried in Rwanda for his crimes and likely spend the rest of his life in a Rwandan jail. That, economist or anyone else can do nothing about.
However, neither Rusesabagina nor the economist deserve to define Paul Kagame or his rule. Kagame’s rule is defined by the aspirations of twelve million Rwandans, whose lives he has changed. It is defined by all the young people to whom his rule offers universal and free education and a population to whom it offers universal free healthcare.
Kagame’s rule is characterized by women who make up over sixty percent of members parliament, a world record. It is defined by the dreams of the young people coming from across the continent and further afield to study Business at the African Leadership University, Information Technology at the Carnegie Mellon University – Africa, Agriculture at the Rwanda Institute for Conservative Agriculture, Quantum Physics and Science at the African Institute of Mathematics and Science and Global Health at the University of Global Health Equity; all world leading schools for the continent’s best and brightest, based in Rwanda and partly funded by the ‘Kagame’s rule’.
Most importantly Kagame’s rule has brought up people like myself, who aren’t impressed by neocolonial newspapers such as the Economist, which self-arrogate the right to define other nations’ heroes and villains based on their own interests – at times ignorance.
Asked about his relations with Yasser Arafat, Fidel Castro and Mouamar Kadafi, late Nelson Mandela had this to say: ‘One of the mistakes that some political analysts make, is to think that their enemies should be our enemies… That we can-not and we’ll never do!’
The Rwandan people are iconoclast by experience, having suffered an international conspiracy and lifted themselves out of it, they are forever impermeable to foreign bullies. ‘Stiff necked fools’, as Bob Marley would call them, are free to marvel over Hollywood fiction; that is their business. However they are mistaken if they think they can project their fantasies and vanities onto our reality.