Sunday, November 26, 2006

Temperature rising

In the wake of the French judge issuing warrants against several senior Rwandans and the expulsion of French ambassador, there is a real buzz about the affair. The Rwandan “Sunday Times” had about 4 pages allocated to it. We spent the week-end in Kigali and quite a few people talked to us about it. One was a guard at some shops – he said “the French killed our people during the war”. We missed the demonstration in the capital, but apparently there was also one in the streets of Kamembe on Friday afternoon.
Of course, there are individual repercussions for the diplomatic spat. French-funded aid projects may be closed, the Franco-Rwandan Cultural Centre and a French-funded school in Kigali have been closed and the guard told us his sister, a student in Paris, had been expelled from the country.
All in all, it has been a reminder of how volatile things can be. It has also been remarkable how the country has united against France. This shouldn’t be too surprising – I have been trying to get a Rwandan perspective on this. The nearest I can come up with is this – imagine in the 1950s if Rwanda had accused de Gaulle of war crimes against the Germans. It would of course be unthinkable that France would even entertain such a suggestion. The “New Times” claimed that the events even had a racist tone to them and I can see what they mean.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Hi Dad, have found reading your blog very interesting - it is good to get your perspective on the things you face. I can't believe Madeste lives so far away! What is his house like?
Was good to read what you had to say on the political situation with France re Rwandans. It is crazy how volatile things can be.
Anyways, I should go as I have a lot of work to get on with.
Love you lots,
Jen xx