Dearest young compatriots, I write this open letter not only to console you on your loss of a loved one, but also to express my utter admiration for your courage and determination to seek justice and truth of how your Papa left this planet.
Unconvinced by the official explanations that your Papa passed on in an accident, you have petitioned President Paul Kagame to conduct an inquiry to determine how and when your father’s life was taken away from him.
Let me tell this. You, four young people, petitioning Rwanda’s head of state and informing diplomats, human rights watchdogs, and informing the world that the death of your Papa, may very well have been stage-managed assassination, is the bravest thing I have witnessed in the last five years.
What I have seen in the past five years is a Rwandan nation overcome by fear of the all-powerful regime that has intimidated 12 million people into total silence. Twelve million Rwandans dare not say a word, whatever happens to their loved ones – whether a relative is mysteriously killed, imprisoned, or just disappears. We accept all forms of brutal acts by the police state and move on. The abnormal has become normal in our Rwanda.
But you, brave young people, refused to succumb to the Rwandan desease of fear. This is what you wrote to the gentleman that rules Rwanda with an iron-fist: “We the family of the Late Rwigara Assinapol write to you requesting that you commission a detailed investigation in circumstances under which our parent died on the night of February 04, 2014.”
You, brave young Rwandans told Kagame of what you saw on that fateful night. This is what you told Kagame: “Some of our family members arrived at the scene shortly after the accident but despite people arriving at the scene immediately, emergence services took long to arrive. When Police arrived, it spent an hour or so towing the vehicle of our father from the road using a breakdown instead of rushing our father, who was still in the car and breathing, to a nearby hospital.”
Dearest young compatriots, what you have done is the bravest and revolutionary thing that will prove to be the turning point in the struggle against the Rwandan dictatorship.
The Assinapol Rwigara’s children are Rwanda’s David against the Kagame Goliath. All you young people had was a pen, against Kagame’s security machine, and you defeated him by demanding justice openly. You young people rejected the cowardly acts of hiding under the bed and accepting official big lie.
Dearest young compatriots, I love you so much. You are amazing. I salute you from the bottom of my heart. Let me conclude my letter with a story.
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old African American woman who worked as a seamstress, boarded a bus to go home after work. Soon all of the seats in the bus were filled. When a white man entered the bus, the driver, following the standard practice of segregation, ordered all blacks to give up their seats so that the man could sit there.
Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. She was arrested. Sparked by Rosa Parks’ action, African Americans boycotted the buses for over a year until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the segregation law unconstitutional. The Bus Boycott that Rosa Parks initiated was the beginning of a non-violent mass movement that changed America forever.
The moral of the story? The brave act by Assinapol Rwigara’s children should encourage all us to reject cowardice, and in our own ways fight back non-violently to discredit the already morally-bankrupt regime in Kigali.
Most Rwandans seem to believe that someone else will somehow free them from the current nightmare. Stop it. Follow Rwigara children’s example and courage. Tame your fear. And please go and watch the movie Selma to see how by not rejecting fear you sustain the bad regime in our homeland.
God bless you Assinapol Rwigara children.
Uncle David Himbara
March 17, 2015