Bob Brown: You’re Welcome to #Rwanda


November 11, 2012 by soniauwimana

Dear Former Senator Bob Brown

You have not been “banned from Rwanda” as you have bleating to your press over the past 24 hours. It turns out Rwanda’s Immigration Service has some doubts about the veracity of one of your answers on the visa application. Rwanda doesn’t permit people who lie on immigration forms into the country any more than Australia does. Not to say you’re lying; Bob Brown is a fairly common name so an administrative error is possible. If that turns out to be the case, you will be allowed to enter Rwanda and welcomed politely by all you meet. If you believe your presence represents a threat to Rwanda’s political leadership, you are in the grip of profound delusions of grandeur .

Mr Brown, Rwanda does not have a policy of barring from entry sanctimonious know-it-alls who want to tell Rwandans what’s good for them. This demographic represents a sizable chunk of our in-bound tourism market. Stopping self-important pontificators like yourself at the border would therefore amount to a self-inflicted economic wound. This is how it works for a small but ambitious country like Rwanda: we tolerate your finger-wagging and neo-colonialist condescension in return for the cash injection brought about by your irksome presence.

Administrative hurdles aside, you are welcome in Rwanda. Please do me a favor, though, and publish your itinerary in advance so I can plan exactly where not to be, and when.

Yours, etc.



2 thoughts on “Bob Brown: You’re Welcome to #Rwanda

  1. Gussucci says:

    Well said Sonia…I follow your tweets and blog avidly. We have in you an able, erudite and articulate ambassador. That you are an environmentalist is the strawberry on the cake. I however feel unhappy about your “a small but ambitious country like Rwanda” which reflects a ‘cultural master narrative and rhetoric” that has insidously crept on discourse on Rwanda and which we have unfortunately subconsciously absorbed. Rwanda with 11 million is bigger than most african and european countries. A country methinks is as big as its ambitions as its people…no one refers to switzerland, belgium or japan as small countries. When Great Britain colonised a large part of the old world, its size or population had little to do with it.
    I believe it is our duty to disabuse this master narrative and affirm who we are. Asante

    please follow me on @Rugusuki or on my blog

    nice weekend

  2. Mwene Kalinda says:

    And contrary to the claim of the error-strewn article on your planned visit to our lovely country, Mr. Brown, Rwanda is not war-torn but one of the most peaceful and secure places anywhere in the world. Your newspapers’ inability to write an article on my country without innumerable errors of fact in each sentence is truly a wonder to behold; the best indicator of a highly insular people totally lacking in natural curiosity about the world which they inhabit. It leaves one wondering whether your “journalists” – for lack of another appellation – have even a rudimentary idea of the geographical location of the country they are writing about. Apart from that, welcome to the land of a Thousand Hills, Mr Brown. Unlike yours, it is not Terra Nullius, nor do we discriminate against people with different skin colour from the majority of our people, as you do in your country, i.e we do not have a Black Only policy equivalent to the still in force, but more covert White Australia policy that your own country practises. Contrary to what my compatriot Sonia Uwimana says, however, please try to practice a little humility when you land in my country; people are more likely to listen than if you come with the usual arrogant Muzungu attitude that you have come to teach correct behaviour to the backward natives. Rwanda existed as a well-functioning organised state before your own ancestors started being transported to Australia’s penal colonies.

    Otherwise, as we say in the Land of Gasabo: Urakaza neza!

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