By Jean Gatera
Ann Garrison, a well-known member of a clique of foreign self-proclaimed “experts” that support genocide ideology mainly through denial of the 1994 Genocide Against Tutsis, not surprisingly has added her vitriol against Rwanda for arresting Paul Rusesabagina. In the same tag-team slanderers of the Rwandan administration (Kitty Kurth, Judi Rever, Peter Verlinden, Filip Reyntjens and many others), the goal of Garrison’s article is to falsely imply that Rusesabagina was “abducted”, and that he is “innocent”, or that “he can never get real justice in Rwanda.”
She does her best, in an article on a website called “Black Agenda Report”, to paint Rusesabagina as “the real hero” or Rwanda – a trope that first came into being with the film Hotel Rwanda.
Garrison thinks she and others of her ilk can forever obscure the truth about Rusesabagina who currently is in prison awaiting his trial for terrorism related crimes. They believe that a Hollywood story will overcome overwhelming evidence. Garrison in particular seems to think that the harder she abuses the Rwandan leadership, perhaps the more likely people will buy her, and others’ false tales about Rusesabagina.
The man is currently facing 13 counts of terrorism related crimes, committed under his FLN armed militia banner. On his YouTube channel and in court he confessed to be the leader of the terrorist organization, MRCD-FLN.
This group claimed responsibility for the several attacks in Southern Rwanda that killed innocent civilians and damaged properties. Asked about FLN and attacks in court, Rusesabagina could only apologize and attempt to distance himself from the armed militia he founded. Stuttering between “It was not what we created the FLN armed wing for” and “FLN acted independently”, Garrisons’ “hero” seemed to ignore the doctrine of leadership responsibility. Troops, under his leadership carried out attacks on innocent civilians, and civilian infrastructure, which was terrorism.
Interestingly, Rusesabagina’s subordinates, Callixte Nsabimana and Herman Nsengimana, both former spokespersons of the MRCD-FLN armed wing, wished for a joint trial with someone they call their boss. The request, according to legal experts, is probably a move to dilute their responsibilities as subordinates of Rusesabagina. Callixte Nsabimana, who also doubled as the organization’s second Vice President, already pleaded guilty to multiple charges of terrorism. Nsabimana and Nsegimana’s cases have already been merged and given the similarities with the Rusesabagina’s case, it is expected that his too will be added.
Garrison, aware of the mountain of evidence facing Rusesabagina, begins with the fake “hero” story with a twist to deliberately offend survivors of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis by comparing her Hollywood “hero” to President Kagame, who actually led the struggle that stopped the Genocide. In 94 Rusesabagina embarked on enriching himself by extorting money from desperate people trying to find refuge in the Mille Collines Hotel. Survivors that personally were at the hotel have recounted how the man in fact worked with extremist political parties even as he enriched himself extorting money from refugees.
“To consider Rusesabagina as a hero is very wrong indeed,” Said Senator Odette Nyiramirimo who personally knew Rusesabagina, and who was one of the terrified refugees in the terrible days Rusesabagina ran the Mille Collines. “He was just very lucky that someone thought to make a film about those events; but the reality of what happened was completely different,” she said.
Garrison talks like what she is: a genocide apologist that likes to pin all crimes in Rwanda upon President Kagame. To keep hammering away at the tale of how Rusesabagina now is “a victim of Kagame” only is an extended way of expressing her ideology.
The most accurate description of individuals like Ann Garrison is that by renowned Genocide scholar Linda Melvern. She writes: “The ideology of Hutu Power knows no borders. This is an international campaign of denial and includes journalists who are strangely dismissive of factual evidence and rely instead on material provided by the supporters and acolytes of the ideologues.”