Thursday, April 15, 2010

Paul Kagame blames you and free speech, on the 16th anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide

On April 7th, 2010, in his address at the Kigali Memorial Center, Rwandan President Paul Kagame blamed "you," a conveniently flexible and expandable category, and all those calling for political space and press freedom, for the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, in which a million Rwandans died. This is the English language section of his English and Kinyarwanda address particularly concerned with press freedom. For the entire English language section of the address, click One week after this address, on April 14, 2010, Kagame's "High Media Council" shut down the independent African language newspapers that most Rwandans depend on. See

1 comment:

  1. On April 6th, we Rwandans started remembering with great sadness the horrible tragedy of genocide that befell our nation in 1994. The current Rwandan government are probably the ones that sparked the entire genocide by killing two presidents, a chief of army and several cabinet members on that day, which immediately sparked the mass killings. So, as a result, the current government and its sponsors choose April 7th as the remembrance day.

    Still, very high on my priority list for last week, I wanted to hear what the nation's self-proclaimed president would say in his speech for that day. I was expecting a focus on remembering the innocent victims, encouraging reconciliation among Rwandans, and what steps the government is taking to ensure that “Never again” becomes reality instead of simply a political slogan.

    I am afraid that I was extremely disappointed by his speech to the nation on that day. As the video clip shows, the speech was belligerent; it was un-statesmanlike and was in my opinion a dishonor to the victims. The first half of his speech indeed rightfully remembered the victims and was uplifting in his description of how we can look ahead to a better future. Unfortunately, the second half of Kagame's speech deteriorated in both content and decorum. I feel so ashamed and hope that very soon my nation can have a president worthy of that title.