Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Paul Rusesabagina is a terrorist? Or, has Rwandan President Paul Kagame's PR team fumbled?

Rwandan President Paul Kagame is often said to have an extraordinary international PR team, as his Global Citizen Award from Bill Clinton, his International Medal of P.E.A.C.E. from evangelical Pastor Rick Warren, and his honorary degrees and eco awards seem to suggest.

However, the Kagame PR team seems to have fumbled this week, when the state run Rwanda New Times reported that Paul Rusesabagina has been accused, with presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, of violent conspiracy with the FDLR militias in eastern Congo: 

Lt. Col Tharcisse Nditurende and Lt. Col Noel Habiyambere, who were senior commanders of the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda), admitted having worked with Ingabire and Paul Rusesabagina to form rebel groups to launch offensives in the country.
--Rwanda: Ingabire Co-Accused Arraigned in Court, Rwanda New Times/AllAfrica.com, 04.30.2010

Rusesabagina, a political exile, may be the best known man of peace to emerge from the horrific 1994 violence that the world came to know as the Rwanda Genocide, despite Kagame's accusations that he, again like Ingabire, is guilty of "Double Genocide Theory," saying that Hutus as well as Tutsis were victims of ethnic violence and crimes against humanity in 1994, amidst the horror that came to be known as the Rwanda Genocide.  Rusesabagina's story of sheltering over 1200 refugees from the violence in the four-star Kigali hotel where he was the assistant manager became the film Hotel Rwanda and his autobiography, "An Ordinary Man."   

CNN recently spoke to Rusesabagina about his advocacy for peace and social justice in Rwanda, D.R. Congo, and Burundi, and Rwandan prison labor in eastern Congolese mines:

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