Rusesabagina case: The Belgian authorities are said to have been informed but didn’t say anything to the family.

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Three weeks have already passed since Paul Rusesabagina’s kidnapping , however the mystery and the grey zones still remain as to how the hero of “hotel Rwanda” landed in Kigali. Moreover, he himself would have been vague when Belgian diplomats, according to a single source, interrogated him on this subject.

The last contact with his family goes back to Thursday evening on August 20th by phone while he was in the United States. He will then travel to Dubai for business reasons. Following that evening it was radio silence. He reappeared 4 days later on Monday morning on a picture published in the media, handcuffed and in the front page surrounded by two policemen in Kigali.

His family was never notified despite the fact that the embassy of Belgium, had been informed as soon as he arrived on Rwandan soil, as states the rules for individuals with the Belgian nationality. It should be remembered here that he obtained the status of political refugee before his naturalization, so he only benefits from the Belgian nationality and not from the double nationality (Belgian/Rwandan). Which would be understandable, if not, without a well-founded request for extradition. The silence of the Belgian authorities on his case left more than one individual perplex.

According to the RIB (Rwanda Investigation Bureau) he would’ve gotten back in the plane from his own free will. Which is hard to believe because Paul Rusesabagina was aware that he was wanted by Kigali. Indeed, after having awarded him the Condorcet-Aron prize, following his role as a protector during the events of ’94 at the Hotel des Milles Collines in Kigali, he was congratulated by the regime of Kigali who later even solicited him to work with him.

He declined the offer categorically, preferring to denounce a bloodthirsty regime rather than taking advantage of his freshly acquired notoriety. He was thus among the first to shake publicly the official propagandist version of Kigali. This became very embarrassing for Kigali, due to Paul’s role as saviour of the Tutsis in 94, the RPF regime could not accuse him of genocide as it is customary in their country when a person does not accept their advances. He was then considered the number one enemy of the Kigali regime. After this, he will continue to work for peace as well as for real reconciliation as a human rights activist through associations.

The non-respect of the most fundamental human rights, the lack of openness of the political space, harassment of opponents, the press, political assassinations and arbitrary arrests do not leave the Rwandan opposition with little choice but to use force. Some even go as far as to prepare military pressure.

But it is especially after Paul Kagame the President of Rwanda, torched with the constitution to run for a third term, that the feeling started to grow amongst Rwandan exiles who were extremely determined to support the armed fight through the FDLR group (Forces Démocratiques de Libération – Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda), FLN (Forces de Libération Nationale) or the FDU (Forces du Rwanda), FLN (Forces de Libération Nationale) or the FDU (Forces Démocratiques Unifiées).

This is the case of Paul Rusesabagina who founded the MRCD. (Mouvement rwandais pour le changement démocratique) with its armed FNL branch, quoted above. According to the current context is it really condemnable? Yet he is accused of terrorism. After all, this is what the RPF had done in 1990. Taking up arms to claim rights that they felt scorned. Yet at that time it did not seem to bother the international community. Why would it be different for others?

The word “terrorist” is overused in this context, it is only evoked to intimidate and stop this dynamic revolutionary movements that are beginning to win over the Rwandan youth in exile as well as those from the inside of the country. Once again the barrier between terrorists and freedom fighters is defined according to interests.

It should be noted that at the time of delivery of Nelson Mandela’s swearing in as South Africa’s first black president, his Party, the ANC was still on the list of terrorist movements and this would remain long afterwards. That didn’t stop him from continuing his fight until victory and later receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment to reconciliation of a population that had been torn apart by apartheid for years.

From a terrorist to a Nobel Peace Prize winner, this particular case demonstrates although the term terrorist is quite relative in the political reality. One cannot help but think of the famous quote of Voltaire: “No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking”. Or Martin Luther King’s: “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws”. Kamugisha

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