Sunday 29 September 2013
As Field Marshal Idi Amini Dada, Conqueror of the British Empire, he of the 1971-1979 Ugandan presidency, used to say in his speeches: “I am a man of few words. And before I begin, I end here.” Here being last week where I opined that Rwandan youth shouldn’t entertain sloth and politicians indulge greed in the mistaken belief that, once with a US visa, they’ll be bailed out by the “American dream”.
Short of being born to a king/queen or a man/woman who toiled their backside off, and there are myriad, you’ll only enjoy plenty because you worked for it. Honest, hard work reigns everywhere; there is no shortcut to abundant affluence.
Kindred of USA, Rwandan Diaspora whom I hold in high esteem, don’t get me wrong. I never intended to denigrate any Rwandan for the simple reason of being outside, as some seemed to contend. Many in the Rwandan Diaspora have worked hard to exploit opportunities outside and Rwanda is the healthier for it.
I’ve said many a time that I stand for this: where a united community of Rwandans are, that’s their Rwanda. Rwanda is “sans-frontières”; she’s not bounded by geography. The “voice of reason”, as the sharp-tongued, strictly “mot-juste” Mwene Kalinda is known in some quarters, was my witness. If I seemed to convey the message that all those outside are on the hunt for freebies, I was misconstrued.
Mea culpa which, after it’s done with, doesn’t mean that I necessarily embrace all those outside this, our neck of the woods. There are Rwandans outside for whom I hold extreme contempt and I’ll never shy away from naming names. But mine here, as you are all witness, has never been to cosset politics.
For, when you visit those elements of this society haranguing all about lack of democracy, when they’ve never offered a better alternative, aren’t you wading in the murky waters of what to them goes for politics?
Nay, may I never be counted among those who banter words with espousers of naked greed and a bent for betrayal of their own, in the strict service of their self-centred stomachs! What kind are they, that they’ll abuse their motherland in the eyes and ears of those who find pleasure in seeing traitors talk ill of their own? My breath wouldn’t be worth a-breathing a second time if I were to be counted among such an impure, polluted lot!
But, as I’ve countless times said here and elsewhere, in any yarn I’ve ever span, I’ve never been the story. In any yarn, the story has been this, the Rwandan community, and this, their land.
Otherwise, death is everywhere. That’s why we have men and women, brave souls of our world, who’ve dedicated their lives to seeing that none disrupts anyone’s enjoyment of the comforts that Nature, in her boundless bounteousness, has put at our disposal.
You’ve seen yourself move around unperturbed, valued visitor, visiting Rwandan Diaspora, local long-term resident or citizen of this land. You’ve moved around the streets of Kigali or the upcountry roads and footpaths at any time of day and night, with no hint of disturbance to your peaceful living. If it has happened, it was not by accident.
It was thanks to those braves that have dedicated their lives to your protection. The braves whom, more often than not, you pass without noticing, as they walk along unobtrusively, acknowledging your greetings if you notice them, keeping to themselves if you don’t. But always alert to anybody or anything that’d be likely to go between you and your comfort.
That’s why if any of such braves of Rwanda were to attack an innocent citizen in their care, alarm bells’d go off.
That’s why when in USA officer Randal Kerrick shoots dead unarmed Jonathan A. Ferrell, and it’s not isolated, here it’s seen as if there is something amiss in that security system. And, lest it be misunderstood, it’s not to say that worse is not happening elsewhere. Worse is, but again, that’s why alarm bells are not out of place anywhere, once it happens.
And it must be understood clearly. It’s not the same as when a bunch of cowardly terrorists, holed up in some unmarked nooks, send a bogeyman to fling grenades among innocents in their daily chores, in the name of an effort to topple governments. Anyone convinced that a few grenades that kill innocent citizens will propel them to the chair of leadership is on a fool’s errand.
Nor is it the same as when a mob of Al Shabaab maniacs hold hostage the population of Westgate Shopping Mall, Nairobi, in the delusion that miraculously they’ll push their ousters out of Somalia. They may have their fleeting headline fame in Nairobi, Kampala, Bujumbura, Addis Ababa, Johannesburg, wherever, but in the end they’ll be consumed and these cities will forget their short-lived disruptions and revert back to business as usual.
Stunted selfish ends have never totally broken the resilience of societies.
May victims who succumbed to such senseless tragedies, everywhere, rest in peace!