Western Guilt and Rwanda’s President
A chilling Wall Street Journal account of U.S.-backed Rwandan President Paul Kagame came across my desk recently. I find this troubling as I think about my visits to Rwanda and the pervasive U.S. presence I’ve seen (social entrepreneurs, universities, NGOs, megachurch mission projects).
… Mr. Kagame, for all his “vision and ambition,” was “probably the worst war criminal in office today.” But 20 years after the genocide, Mr. Kagame … tours U.S. college campuses, where he receives honorary degrees and is toasted by the great and the good of the Western world. Western sympathy and guilt over the genocide explain much of this, but Mr. Kagame also has excelled at conveying an image of Rwanda as something new to Africa: a capable, technocratic state dedicated to good governance, a regional financial hub and an Internet-for-all society. “They are extremely adept in speaking a discourse that Westerners want to hear,” said Catharine Newbury, a Rwanda specialist at Smith College. Continue reading…