When the RPF started the struggle in the bush, most youth joined against their parents’ advise. Some were locked up in the family house, others reported to the police; by their own parents. There was rarely any good bye my son, vaya con Dios; most young people ‘escaped’ their parents to join the struggle. While many of the parents eventually joined as they saw the tide turning, some are still stuck in Belgium, convening every evening at the usual bar in Matonge, to very intellectually dissect Rwandan politics, and the future return of the King…
In the little knowledge I have of it, the struggle was a generational revolt.
– You don’t know what you are doing kids, they were told;
– Look at you, you can’t defeat Habyarimana militarily…
– Let the UN help us, let us negotiate; etc.
They were partly right -the parents. But the foolishness of the same youth; their boldness: that’s what brought us back home. I believe that same boldness; that’s what will transform our country today
By blogging again I am betraying my father, my Aunt Gogo, my family and my friends who love and fear for me. Forgive me y’all, I know you love me, but I am not doing it for you; I am doing this for my son, my daughter, my nephew and other children; our future.
I am doing it also because I am unable to live here, if I can’t contribute they way I know. I can’t see a beautiful thing in my country and not feel warm or an injustice and not feel angry; All that so I can live for 1000 years and have ten houses – you all say to me…
I am not preaching against respect of the elders; I am African. The elders that I spend time with – Respect: you know who you are – tell me to do. do. do. They even offer to assist;
They never speak to me about the injustices of the world, their suffering in exile as a way of dissuading me from being proactive. They tell us about their childhood dreams, their youth adventures and their love for their country, as a way of making us jealous so that we can write our own history.
I think what our parents call experience, what they call love: is fear! It is up to us – and I will be leaving youth-hood very soon – to dare; to take a leap of faith; but most importantly not give in to fears.
Rwanda is new, so are we. we need to look at each other with no background, to hear what we say to each other with no fear. Lets try new things too; That’s what will consolidate us in our faith, by comparing it with others’. Your parents; our parents, will tell us to insulate ourselves to protect our faith; I say to you that is propaganda. Hear me out; hear yourself out too.
The fact that people fear for me, some out of reflex, others out of experience is indeed the reason I feel compelled to continue, because someone aught to do it. At the same time, it is only here, in my homeland that I have a say; or should have a say. And I am not the only one. There are a few of us, trying, pushing; this blog is a shout out to y’all; Utmost respect!
See, we are not even fighting the system; we love the system; we don’t forget where we came from. We are doing what we think is right to contribute to it, we do not need to ask for permission; it is our right! With all due respect to our elders, by labeling us they are putting us on the spot, dis-empowering us. Yet you won’t always be there; One morning you will be gone and we’ll have no one to tell us what to do. So what do we do now? – and me I sharpen my teeth like a wild wolf, for it is with them that I’ll be fighting, when you’ll be gone…
The last couple of days have been quite eye opening for me; I may have lost my innocence. I also discovered how lonely it could be to speak and act differently from the mainstream; However I learned that many people think differently, but they have learned to suffocate their own thoughts. Sadly some of them have such amazing thoughts, transformational thoughts. But they are shy to express them…
There is a fundamental problem when a leader of a registered opposition party is no longer invited to weddings by his own family; to a birthday party by his best friend! That he can’t find a lawyer when he has a case in court. Some lawyers because they were told, others because they just don’t want problems.
That’s when the life of a man becomes as Thomas Hobbes described it: ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.’ – Leviathan (1651)
Friends have resorted to talking nonsense when they see me; with dramatic hand gestures to make sure everyone sees, because they imagine someone is looking…
I also saw how absurd the whole thing is; how contradictory, how counterproductive. Oh I saw deep inconsistencies; I met true believers and non-believers, all considered as half-believers. I saw real and imagined fears – mostly imagined.
We all agreed this could be easily addressed, if everybody cooled off; that’s right, everybody cool off, it’s all gone be ok.
Sorry Dad, next time they ask, say you did what you could, I didn’t listen – and to them: you are looking for enemies in the wrong place, we are on the same team: TEAM RWANDA!
Now let me hear you sing: ‘Always look on the bright side of life, tutu, tutu tutu tutu…’