‘My young brother, I can call you young brother because I am slightly older than you, but also because I accept to be called young man by those older than me..
It is indeed disrespectful to speak back to an elder for a reason.
Elders have seen more, their points are informed by experience, acquired in your absence.
Education is very important, it teaches you to be critical, and that is good. But learning is very complex given that there is too much misleading thus alienating information out there that you will come across without having the necessary tools to cut through it. So what the elders are trying to teach passionate youngsters such as yourself is to be humble: to listen, learn; which is probably the most important virtue of a young leader, whom you already are in your own capacity.
Being a person of integrity is not a matter of scholarly education; having a purpose driven life is a virtue learned, not in school, but through home upbringing: by parents.
Don’t forget, Sankara, Lumumba and Macher: uncontested African heroes, weren’t erudite. Nor was Jesus the son of a carpenter.
Your age allows you to be a rebel, to question and make mistakes.
But it must stem from a place of humility and curiosity. In other words, the ability to not be carried away with self-evident truths, that risk putting you in a position of self-contentment, thinking you know it all, now that you have been hooked to one or two well-sounding phrases.
Flatters thrive on their agility with the verb, luring their victims with fables full of demagoguery and bigotry. The trick is to cut through the bullshit, and that is learned through listening to elders
Listening to you gives me both hope and fear. Hope because you will continue to engage, organize and question. Fear because, if you are not ready to listen to your parents, uncles and aunts: the only people who want nothing from you, except your well being, and hence need not flatter you, you might drift into confusion and be prone to slavery – the worst of its kind –mental slavery. By the way, that’s a line drawn from another man with little academic training, yet a genius: Bob Marley.
Academic qualifications you will get, in plenty. After all, you will be asked to parrot what your teachers gave you; but wisdom is just something else; We all write with an agenda: To influence you. Only your parents you can trust
So debate on young man, I encourage you. Just do that while seeking for more wisdom; I guarantee you that you will hardly get any in Towson University in Maryland, but in Rwandan elders.’
That is the comment I rejoined to the article that quoted Jean Michel Habineza as saying that our elders do not allow young people to question them, while African leaders had little education and thus little competence to lead.
Shaking my head I thought: ‘in all likelihood this young man has just discovered democracy, in his latest readings for the debate’. So its best to refocus and encourage him. The whole thing, I thought, will swiftly pass with no fuss – that was without counting on the Kigali pundits – ‘abakunda byacitse’
Next morning, the non-story had made Igihe’s headline, went around the world and back on twitter.
Jean-Michel’s father; Amb. Joe Habineza, had been dragged into the story of his 27 year old son, and was forced to post an explanation on his facebook page; Jean Michel had responded, saying he was misquoted and the ‘Perperdine’s website – hardly a leading news source in Los Angeles, let alone US, had pulled the story off its website.
I was perplexed! What the hell had just happened?! Igihe took a no-news and made it breaking news. Poor thing, ‘Meilleur’ is no longer meilleur – no offence bro, I think you are just ‘bon’ now; we’ll start calling you ‘Bon’!
Why do people here like sensation? Shall we all now ‘speak in the presence of our lawyer’? God, can we be allowed to misspeak? Make mistakes? We all did go through that stage of our lives where we felt clever.
‘ijuru ryamuguyeho’ he isn’t some Machiavelli who made the remarks as part of a complex political strategy, he’s like Dany in The Big Lebowski: he’s out of his element; one of us has to believe in all those propaganda once in a while; why are you lending two brains to a youngman whom, all he wanted was to sound a little Muzungu in muzunguland?
As it emerges, his statement may have been taken out of context – He wasn’t on official duty, he isn’t an official: he is just a passionate Rwandan kid, who needs mentoring. Stop scaring him off; this is circus…
N’ikindi kandi, yabeshye se? Don’t we have this problem in Africa? Only in rare cases do former rebel leaders make good presidents: look at Eritrea, look at South Soudan, CAR, Mali, Guinee, DRC, Burundi, etc. Indeed our president is the exception not the rule, don’t forget that. Ntimugakabye, muzajye mushimira Imana ubundi mwicecekere.
Both the father and the son must be baffled now. Old man was getting ready for his next appointment, and now you are spitting in the soup..
Next time, pick on enemies your size. I didn’t see any of you respond to #SomeonetellKagame, you knew Kenyans would put you right back in your place. Now you are dis-empowering a passionate Rwandan youth?
This is depletion of efforts: You want exercise? Human rights watch has just written a report on ‘kwa kabuga’ transit Centre: react to that. After you do, take a deep breath and leave people the he’ll alone!!