Back to my roots blog paints a relatively objective account of events which occurred in Rwanda in 2010 and somehow tarnished the glorious image of its president, Paul Kagame, and the country. I followed closely these events and from time to time let my views known online on my pages at The Rising Continent.
Though the account that is described is at some extent correct, one clarification remains necessary. The author of the posting on Back to my roots misrepresents Ms Victoire Ingabire, Chairperson of FDU-Inkingi, when she is referred to in the following terms: ‘A self-identified Hutu, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza went to challenge Kagame and the RPF for the presidency of Rwanda.’
I think the ethnic background of the leader of FDU-Inkingi became a serious political issue when, on her first day of returning to Rwanda on January 16th, 2010 she visited the Genocide memorial and declared publicly that it would be difficult to have a genuine reconciliation between all Rwandans (Hutu, Tutsi and probably all other victims) if all the victims are not remembered and honoured in the same way. In the following days she visited a hospital in Gisenyi where she found hospitalised genocide convicted prisoners and others who had been apparently unfairly jailed. Unluckly for her, all her prisoners interlocuters happened to be Hutus.
If someone asked me who I am, I will tell them. If it happens that I am against injustices perpetrayed against people I feel closely connected with, I don’t have to identify myself as them (no need of doing so) despite the fact that we may share some connections in terms of injustices they suffer from.
The misrepresentation of Back to my roots about Ms Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza falls in the same narrow loop and politically malicious way of seeing anyone fighting against all forms of injustices committed by Paul Kagame’s regime as ethnically minded or oriented.
I would rather correct the mentioned misrepresentation by saying that injustices that Ms Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza has been fighting against even today while she is in prison, have defined and still define who she is. If it wasn’t about injustices, how would be defined Tutsis, people like Deo Mushayigi, and others who are today in Paul Kagame’s prisons or have been killed by his regime? Let’s not fall in the trap of those we fight against.
Mahtma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and many others like them in the history of our humanity, have never consciously identified themselves from an ethnical/ or tribal perspective. But injustices their people suffered from were so overwhelming that they stood up for them. Then those who wanted to maintain the status quo cried out spreading everywhere that these leaders for change had identified themselves as the ethnically identifiable victims, diverting by doing so the focus of their will for change on ethnicity rather than injustices as such, which is currently the case in Rwanda.
It is important to know that in oppressive societies, victims are so negatively portrayed in the public collective consciousness in such ways that being associated with them is part of the strategies of the oppressors to kill at birth any attempt to speak out for them. Public channels of communication, which are almost in their entirety in the hands of the oppressors are fine tuned to maintain the status quo and perpertuate the oppression, which is not unfortunately considered as such from the perspective of oppressors, but only as their way of life.
Those who don’t want change, most of the time because of the disruption it may cause to their comfort, always look for justification of the statu quo elsewhere, instead of looking at themselses, since they are the ones whose acts call forcibly for change.
In Rwanda there is no doubt that any fundamental political change would possibly and primarily improve Hutus’ condition, more than any other ethnic group, as they have been the main victims of the oppressive regime of Paul Kagame. There is also the fact that them being the main social makeup of Rwandan society, good or bad policies will all times impact on them significantly because of their number. But any positive change in the country will benefit as well all Rwandans, Tutsis, Hutus and Twas who continue to suffer under the hands of the current dictatorship.