During the cold war, the Americans, French, British, and Russians intervened in other countries using coups, civil wars, and targeted assassinations.
The Americans attempted to assassinate Castro 76 times yet he never sought to attack the USA, just to be independent of it. After 9/11, the America government adopted a policy of preemptive war to any threat anywhere. The American state has carried out coups, assassinations or sponsored civil wars and terrorist activities in Iraq, Syria, El Salvador, Guatemala, Cambodia, Angola, Mozambique Afghanistan, Pakistan, Grenada, Vietnam, Libya etc. Would Wrong accuse any U.S. president of being a violent psychopath because of this?
This is the problem I have with many Western scholars, journalists and diplomats. When something is done by their countries, they focus on the national policy that informs the decision, not the personality of the leader who made it. They can criticise the policy but rarely do they attribute it to some mental or psychological pathology of the leader.
When the same thing is done by an African leader, they ignore the circumstances that informed such a decision and accuse the individual leader of madness or psychopathy. I hate to use the word racism. But if this is not racism, what is it? Wrong quotes Keregyeya’s well-articulated explanation for Rwanda’s extraterritorial operations. Yet she ignores that explanation and presents such policy as the product of a Kagame’s psychopathy.
Wrong goes a notch higher. She claims Rwanda’s growth figures are distorted and that IMF does not respect them. All she needed to do is visit the IMF website or contact its Africa department. When highly respected world political leaders like Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, George Bush etc. religious leaders like Pastor Rick Warren or business leaders like Bill Gates and Howard Buffet or world renown academics like Michael Potter and Paul Farmer hail Kagame, Wrong claims it is because of guilt about the genocide or ignorance of basic facts about Rwanda.
Yet across the globe, celebrities from Hollywood, leaders of China and India, leaders of other African nations, the world’s leading sports stars, authors, prelates and intellectuals all marvel at the achievements of Rwanda under Kagame’s leadership. Many Africans I take to Rwanda are awed by its transformation. To Wrong all these people are stupid to buy Kagame’s propaganda, ignorant or guilty. Jesus! Only one person in the world, with a small army of human rights Taliban, and whose source of information are enemies of Kagame, knows the truths about that country – and that is Michela Wrong.
By abandoning journalistic principles of truths and accuracy, fairness and balance, Wrong relied on Karegyeya, Kayumba Nyamwasa and many other enemies of Kagame to tell the Rwandan story. In the process, she denied her readers basic facts about Kagame and post genocide Rwanda.
On so many issues – from how Karegyeya and Kayumba fell out with Kagame, their claims that they asked for retirement, on the issue of the exploitation of Congolese resources, on the issue of Karegyeya’s daughter’s visit to Kampala and getting a Ugandan passport, on how Kayumba went to study in the UK in 2001, on the killing of Seth Sendashonga, on the election of Kagame as chairman of RPF, Wrong reproduces fabrications, distortions and outright lies.
Wrong even claims that it is Karegyeya who advised Kagame to “sponsor” my newspaper, The Independent, when the facts were in front of her. Karegyeya fell out with Kagame in 2004 when I was employed by Daily Monitor with no plans of establishing my own newspaper. I left Monitor in 2006 to go to Stanford University and returned in 2007. I resigned from Monitor in August of that year and The Independent was born in December 2007, after Karegyeya had escaped from Rwanda to exile.
Space does not allow a detailed demonstration of the lies and distortions she indulges in. I reserve that for another article. In all, Wrong’s `Do Not Disturb’ is not a work of journalism but a propaganda hatchet job no Western publisher would have entertained about a Western country. She did it because she knew she was writing about Africa where Western publishers do not care about the factual veracity of the work.
This is not to say that Wrong is wrong in every claim she makes against Kagame or that the Rwandan president is without weaknesses. Rather, anyone who knows Kagame and Rwanda would agree that his many weaknesses pale into insignificance when set side by side with his contribution to Rwanda’s reconstruction of genocide to sustained growth.
At the funeral of Africa’s political and intellectual giant, Kwame Nkrumah, one of our continent’s greatest revolutionaries, the great Amilcar Cabral, reminded us of two African proverbs which Rwandans should note. First is that no man’s hand, however big, can be used to cover the sky. No number of books by anyone can be used to hide the gigantic achievements of post genocide Rwanda under Kagame’s leadership. Second, that those who try to spit at the sky end up spitting in their own faces. In trying to tarnish the name of Kagame, Wrong has soiled her own reputation.