What is going on in the world? The mighty European Union might bite the dust if its leader’s don’t find a way to save their common currency. The on-going nomination process for the Republican Party presidential ticket for next year’s election includes candidates who actually believe that the world was created in seven days and that global warming is a myth. Iran seems likely to become a target of a bombing campaign from Western powers despite the Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan debacle, leaving me to wonder whether people ever learn. And now it’s not safe to walk the streets of continental Europe.
On Tuesday, Rwandans living in the France and Belgium were formally warned by none other than our Foreign Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, to be careful where they go and who they hang around with. In other words, she was telling Rwandan citizens to be careful because crazed individuals might harm them simply because of their nationality. Who would have ever thought that the Minister would ever have to make such a warning? I mean, aren’t these capitals supposed to be safe?
By the way, did I mention that this warning from our country’s top diplomat was a direct result of the firebombing of our embassy in Paris with home-made Molotov cocktails? Thankfully no one was hurt and the only damages inflicted on our mission by the attack were broken windows and shredded curtains.
Commenting on the possible motives for the attack, the Foreign Minister said that the French Security services suspected Congolese citizens disgruntled with the recently concluded presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo; an election in which incumbent Joseph Kabila has recently been declared winner. “These same Congolese have been blaming Rwanda for supposedly supporting a candidate who’s not of their choice. If that’s indeed the truth, it’s unacceptable to our Government and we expect the host countries to protect our citizens at all costs”.
In fact, this stunt allegedly conducted by Congolese rabble-rousers was followed by similar illegality in London, where a group of more than 200 DR Congo demonstrators caused the emergency evacuation of Oxford Circus Tube station in central London after setting off a passenger alarm on a train they had boarded following an earlier protest.
Notwithstanding the utter scandal that this attack on our embassy was (the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, stipulates in Article 22 that ‘the receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity) I have some major issues with what transpired in Paris.
Firstly, I cannot even begin to understand how people yielding home-made firebombs were allowed to get within throwing distance of our embassy. Where was the security? While I agree with the foreign minister when she called the attack “unusual”, surely it wasn’t totally unexpected especially when one remembers that some members of the Rwandan community were targeting by Congolese nations during the President’s official visit to France. The vitriolic campaign by some members of the Congolese community in Europe surely should have raised a red flag.
Secondly, other than in The New Times, did any of you read about the attack on the embassy? Isnt it extremely hypocritical that when, for example a Rwandan national loses his life in another country it becomes a stick to beat the government with, yet when our diplomatic premises get firebombed there is nary a peep? If such an incident happened to a US embassy there would be an international incident.
Thirdly, and this question I ask my Congolese brethren. When will you stop blaming all and sundry for the issues and challenges in your nation? Eventually you must stop looking for foreign scapegoats and finally admit that the solutions to your issues are all home-grown.