September 28, 2012 by soniauwimana
We get it. You hate Rwanda. That’s fine. We can’t force you to like our country, let alone love it in the way we do. Each to their own.
Now, I know what you’re saying.
“Hang on there!” I can picture the wagging finger as you say this, “We don’t hate Rwanda as a country or Rwandans as a people; we just hate your government” although you will probably use the term regime instead of government, with all its sneering, racist, delegitamizing undertones.
But, you know what, I am not going to grant you your precious distinction between despising Rwanda per se and merely despising its government. Allow me to explain why.
When a Rwandese villager in a border community who criss-crosses into the DRC and back every day decides to support M23 as a way of defending their Congolese kin, you don’t make the distinction between people and government. Far from it. You gleefully point to that unremarkable event as evidence to damn Kigali, and you make no effort to draw delicate distinctions or overlay your narrative with context. So, frankly, you can’t really expect anything else in return.
By your words and deeds, you are a hater of Rwanda and that’s that. Once again, there is nothing particularly wrong with that. To be honest, I hate certain countries quite a lot too. Take Belgium, for example, which is a boring but self-important country full of bland but simultaneously really, really obnoxious people with a shameful colonial past about which they remain insufficiently ashamed.
Seems to me everyone is entitled to hate a country or three, and this applies to you as much as anyone. You chose Rwanda, which kind of puts you at odds with me, but c’est la vie.
And yet, here’s the thing: you are a reporter. More than that, you are probably a surviving member of the last generation of foreign correspondent before the tremendous, cleansing social media tsunami renders you as outdated as the floppy disk.
In the meantime, can you at least pretend to do your job, by which I mean reporting news?
The European Union did not — has not and probably will not — suspend aid to Rwanda. I know you want them to. I know you hope every last cent of overseas development assistance is ripped from Rwanda’s clutches until we are left as battered and broken — as gratifyingly African to your mind at least — as the DRC.
But wishing it does not make it so. There was no suspension. No freeze. A deferred discussion is all. That’s it. Postponed chat.
And, while we’re at it: Bosco Ntagnda is not the leader of M23. I gather they don’t even like him much. You have worked so hard to turn Ntaganda into Kony 2.0, and I appreciate you have invested a lot of energy in propagating the whole “unspeakably evil African warlord” storyline but this Terminator thing is just juvenile silliness and it embarrasses everyone concerned. Stop it.
And just stop distorting reality to suit your preferred worldview, at least in the news pages. The people who read your stuff know even less about Africa than you do and they are liable to believe what you tell them, however terrifying that concept is to me.
By all means, pen all the opinion pieces or editorials you like. Slam Rwanda and its leaders to your puny heart’s content. Go nuts. But please — I am almost but not quite begging now — please stop knowingly, wantonly, constantly lying and dressing it up as something other than the partisan, baseless drivel it is.