Washington D.C. March 11, 2018
Subject: Blackmail to France by demonizing the army and some political leaders
Diplomatic speculation is rife that President Emmanuel Macron will be visiting Rwanda this coming April, 2018.
Mid.Febraury 2018, President Macron’s Minister of Sports, Madam Laura Flessel-Colovic visited Rwanda, and stated that there is much to learn from Rwanda’s “developmental model”, and that President Kagame is “indispensable” on matters of Africa.
Before her on 15 January 2018, former President Nicolas Sarkozy made a sudden and un-announced visit described as a “business trip” to promote investment in Rwanda. Earlier in 2010, during his pilgrimage to Rwanda, President Sarkozy offered France’s indirect and half-hearted mea culpa in his nation’s role in the tragic events of 1994.
If President Macron’s anticipated visit was part of normal diplomatic relations, it would be much cause for celebration. After all, who would not wish to receive the President of France, the nation so prominent in history, influential in contemporary world affairs, and a pillar in the European Union?
President Macron will visiting after the publication of the so-called Muse Report, and Kagame’s repeated threats to indict French political and military leaders accusing them of collusion in the 1994 genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda. He will be stepping into the footsteps of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and form U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair and many other apologetics in the Western world who have become President Kagame’s protectors and champions on the world stage.
The problem is that France-Rwanda relations are far from normal diplomatic relations but an anomaly. The problem is rooted in history, especially the pivot of 1994. It is a history dotted with changing actors, guilt, self-interest, and yes, even racism. Five French Presidents (Francois Mitterrand, Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy, Francois Hollande, and Emmanuel Macron ) have had to deal with Rwanda like a thorn in France’s flesh, partly self-inflicted, and largely imposed by President Kagame.
The one permanent feature of the last quarter century in Franco-Rwanda relations is President Kagame and the false narrative of the Front Patriotic Rwandaise/Directorate of Military Intelligence (FPR/DMI). The essence of the Kagame-FPR/DMI false narrative is that the extremist Hutu assassinated their cheer leader, President Juvenal Habyarimana, in order to start the genocide against Tutsi. The narrative asserts that France was part and parcel of this conspiracy, and therefore an accomplice in the Tutsi genocide.
For President Kagame and his FPR/DMI, any attempt to shed truth on the assassination of two African Presidents, French citizens and top leaders of Rwanda and Burundi on April 6, 1994, and on the full accounting of the tragic events that followed (including the genocide against Hutu) is an existential threat that must be fought with every resource available. It is a profitable business model that has served the regime so well since 1994, and there is absolutely no possible way to change course until it is rendered obsolete through a creative destruction process.
In this regard, President Kagame has weaponized his narrative by aggressively manufacturing reports that regularly try and convict French political and military leaders as genocidaires( Mucyo Report, 2008; Muse Report, 2018); banishing French as a language of instruction in Rwanda for almost 100 years; expelling a French Ambassador to Rwanda; paying fortunes to academics, media, and civil society organizations to amplify the false narrative; vilification of the French Socialist Party and French institutions (especially the military); mobilizing Tutsi against France as their eternal enemy; and pointing to dark spots in France’s imperial history (Algeria, Indochina) to galvanize anti-French emotions in Africa and beyond.
Any French leader who fails to recognize this basic lesson will ultimately put himself/herself on the wrong side of history, and risk being judged harshly by future generations of Rwandans, French and humanity in general.
The fateful mistake of France in Rwanda before, during and after 1994 is not that it committed genocide. Our organization Ishakwe-Rwanda Freedom Movement firmly believes France is not an accomplice in the Tutsi genocide.
France’s notable and grave strategic miscalculation in 1994 and since then is that it was unwilling to correctly read a historic moment, abandon a toxic relationship with a genocidal and reactionary political force (MRND/CDR), and align itself to the progressive forces of the future. It is this unenviable trap that Belgium, United States and the United Kindom have imprisoned themselves in at different times of Rwanda contact with the Western world.
The Kagame-FPR/DMI Tutsi minority regime is the recent, and more deadly, mutation of MRND/CDR Hutu majority regime. President Kagame’s relentless offensive against a weakly defensive France has generated one of the three responses: reckless indifference and silence, appeasement to Kagame-FRP/DMI Tutsi power in the hope that the thorn in the flesh will fade away, and a minority of French elements who still nostalgically hope to re-establish Hutu power in Rwanda.
When President Macron visits Rwanda during genocide commemoration week this April, he will not be stepping into a void. He will be stepping into holy grounds, beneath which lie millions of dead Rwandans (Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa). He will be shown skulls of the dead, and told that it is the Tutsi victims of genocide.
We tell President Macron: do not be fooled! Those skulls include many unacknowledged remains of the Hutu victims of genocide, perpetrated by his hosts, the Kagame-FPR-DMI. Skulls of our slain mothers and brothers have become part and parcel of Kagame’s callous self-marketing strategy as the sole hero of a fake Rwandan Singaporean miracle story.
President Macron will also be stepping into a historical and political minefield in Kigali. Fortunately, Mr. Macron is young enough to extricate himself from the baggage of the past, and to dream with creative imagination at least the contours of a new future Franco-Rwanda relationship in a post-Kagame era.
A sustainable, transparent, open, mutually beneficial, and authentic Franco-Rwanda relationship must be anchored on the interests of all Rwandan and French citizens. Silence, appeasement and nostalgia cannot be the solid strategic ground to anchor a long term relationship.
Both France and Rwanda have to reckon with their past by being truthful within and among the two nations as a strategic objective. That will have to wait for a post-Kagame – FPR/DMI regime.
France is a nation very much familiar with greatness in culture, philosophy, science and technology. It knows the promises and broken expectations of human social revolutions. It knows that even great nations have moments of stumbling, weakness and defeat. It knows when nations great and small need and get help in their greatest hour of need. It is this enduring spirit of equality, liberty and fraternity that President Macron was elected to carry forward.
Rwanda is at such cross-roads that France has faced in its past. Yes, even small and impoverished nations can be rich in culture and bear the torch of enlightenment. Citizens of Rwanda can also imagine the true meaning of liberty, equality and fraternity. They can live for it, and die for it.
We are building Rwanda’s future by acknowledging the trauma we have inflicted on each other in order to begin to heal, reconcile, and build a just, free, equitable, broad based, democratic, peaceful and prosperous Rwandan society. The Kagame – FPR/DMI regime violently stands in the way. It will come to pass like every other evil human construct.
Will President Macron be part of this vision of Rwanda’s future, expressed in bold and innovative Franco-Rwanda relations grounded in truth, but not hostage of the past?
Or, will he do more harm by being silent, appease Kagame by sacrificing the truth, nurse nostalgic emotions about a dead era, and thus condemn himself and France to a harsh judgement of history?
It will be President Macron’s moment to choose wisely.
Ishakwe-Rwanda Freedom Movement
Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa