Last week, the doyen of American journalism, The New York Times, ran an Op-ed by David Kampf, the communication director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Titled ‘How Rwanda
threatens its future’, the piece written by the gentleman (whose two-year stint in Rwanda makes him an ‘expert’) regurgitates the usual spiel. Rwanda is guilty of fueling conflicts; under the surface ethnic and political tensions simmer; there is a lack freedom and there is a “repressive media environment, little protection for human rights and the sideling of political opponents”.
Funny enough, when I read his charge sheet, guess what country comes to mind? The land of the ‘free’ and home of the ‘brave’, the United States. Lets look at each indictment.
Rwanda is guilty of fueling conflict? Really? It isn’t the country that invaded an independent nation without provocation and contrary to international law and creating a sectarian imbroglio that poor Iraqis have to deal with? Don’t even get me started about Egypt, Iran and Libya. He says that Rwanda has simmering ethnic and political tensions? Really? I mean, between the Trayvon Martin case, the Birther nuts, Occupy Wall Street, the Newport shooting and the Detroit bankruptcy, there are enough political, class and racial tension to pass around.
Rwanda has a lack of freedom and a repressive media environment? Maybe. But at least we pretend to give EVERYONE the semblance of due process. One might complain that the courts are unfair, but at least they try people. And if they are found innocent, they ARE released. Unlike the poor people chaps in Guantanamo Bay. Many of these men have absolutely no evidence against them, but they are still stuck on the fortress, unable to go home and reunite with their families. Things are so bad that they are now refusing to eat (of course they are now being force fed by the ‘caring’ prison wardens).
And lets talk about media freedom. Despite the First Amendment that protects free speech, the US is doing all it can to muzzle journalists. Do you think that David Miranda, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner, was detained in Heathrow airport for nine hours under Britain’s anti-terror laws, without the US’s knowledge and tacit go ahead? To do so would be naïve. Greenwald was the first journalist to report Edward Snowdon NSA leaks. In fact, the White House spokesperson admitted to knowing beforehand that the Brazilian native was about to be detained.
Lets not even talk about human rights. Rwanda isn’t in the news almost on a daily basis for assassinating opponents, bombing wedding parties and using Predator drones in the most inhumane possible. So, as a certain Galilean once said, “don’t remove the speck from your brother’s eye before removing the log from yours”.
Honestly though, I’ve stopped getting outraged by the hypocrisy that I find my beloved nation besieged by. What really got my goat was the Kampf’s belief that the international community has treated Rwanda with kid gloves. Well, if we are being with kid gloves now, I wonder what harsh treatment would be like? Aid has been cut over and over without warning, patently unlawful indictments have become a mainstay, different international groups have built their CV’s on our backs and so have know-it-all individuals. Still Rwanda hasn’t been pressured enough. Kampf is advocating sanctions. Egypt’s generals mow down hundreds of unarmed civilians and life goes on. In fact, more than a billion dollars in US military aid continues uninterrupted. But Rwanda should get sanctioned because of unproven allegations. That doesn’t make a lot of sense. But as I’ve learnt, sense is a rare commodity these days.