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On Nov. 18, Rwandan President Paul Kagame inducted seven thieves without borders and one medical doctor into his “National Order of Outstanding Friendship,” presenting them with medals for “exemplary service” to the nation, meaning himself and his ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Kagame is a modern day exemplar of French King Louis XIV’s theory of government: “L’état, c’est moi” (“I am the state”).
I answered some heartbreaking calls from Dr. Léopold Munyakazi phoning from an Alabama jail this week. Dr. Munyakazi is a gentle Rwandan born scholar, with a PhD in linguistics and further advanced degrees in French and African linguistics. He has lost his immigration case in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and will all but certainly be deported to Rwanda to face prison or worse.
The U.K. Foreign Office called on the Rwandan government to lift the ban on its BBC broadcast in Rwandans' native language. The government banned the native language broadcast after the BBC broadcast “Rwanda’s Untold Story,” a documentary which upends conventional belief about the Rwandan massacres of 1994.
International argument over “Rwanda’s Untold Story,” the BBC documentary that upends widely held belief about the Rwandan massacres of the 1990s and discredits the authoritarian regime of President Paul Kagame, continues in the European, African and U.S. press. Earlier this week, Belgium canceled 40 million Euro in development aid because “Rwanda continues to fail to make any progress in the areas of press freedom and good governance.”
The government of Rwanda has established a Commission of Inquiry to indict the BBC for the crime of genocide denial. In its recently aired documentary, “Rwanda’s Untold Story,” the government and its supporters have accused the BBC of bias and speaking only to one side. This week, however, when Belgian scholar Filip Reyntjens offered to speak to the commission in response to those attacking him for what he told the BBC, they refused to speak with him.