How a tasteless gesture can shift internation consideration towards a State: case of Rwanda and Saudi Arabia.

By Valentin Akayezu

A small, tasteless gesture can be the cause of a change in international policy towards a country whose undignified behaviour is gradually becoming embarrassing. Not only are misunderstandings between states the main cause of the attitudes that some states adopt towards other states, but individuals sometimes trigger very serious inter-state disagreements.

Who would forget that the First World War was born out of a diplomatic crisis between two states after the assassination of the Austrian prince!! In the last two years, the world has witnessed a radical shift in Western opinion towards the Saudi kingdom following the murder of journalist Omar Gashogi. Saudi Arabia, which had become the darling of the West, was quickly sidelined and lost its position as the preferred interlocutor of Western powers. Because of a single journalist, the kingdom is now portrayed by its former loyal allies as a ruthless human rights state, becoming a friend to be avoided.

The organised kidnapping of the famous Rwandan humanitarian, Paul Rusesabagina, is another interesting case that has opened the eyes of the Western world to the actions of its adopted regime, the most sponsored in African history: that of the darling Paul Kagame.

The very spoilt child who once received all sorts of praise as the western Daddy’s well-behaved son, a son who was sung about everywhere as the inspiration for the younger generation of leaders Africa needs, a son Western Daddy loved to the point of tolerating his ignominiously inhumane misdeeds. This is Paul, once so praised and glorified, has now become the bête noire in the eyes of his “Papa and Godfather West”, and this, as a result of the simple fact of having kidnapped Rusesabagina. The American and British newspapers that used to sing his praises have already become the loudspeaker of his incessant and scandalous blunders in terms of human rights and international law.

This is how the face of international politics can be turned against old friends by a single tasteless act against an ordinary citizen.

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