A difficult country to read


Interesting to hear the BBC World Service Radio’s Mark Sandell and his take on Rwanda, even if it’s a take blogged just a couple of days since he arrived, but I think he’s not that far off the mark. His experience seem to mirror mine. I don’t think this is a country that is easy to find out what is really going on. There appears to be a lot of self-censorship. Rwanda is not unique in that sense, but it does make people and situations very difficult to ‘read’. I’ll maybe post more on this in due course, meanwhile here are some thoughts Mark has on Rwanda,

Wherever you go in Kigali, people will tell you that healing the wounds of 1994 is the number one topic, but they’re just too busy to dwell on it.

Coax a story and everyone’s got one : the man who survived the genocide because he was kept hidden by Hutus, and when they returned from exile, he gave them his own house to live in til they got back on their feet. The man who lost 60 members of his own family and only survived because the day he was supposed to die was the same day the Rwandan capital was liberated by the RPF.

Officially, no one is a Hutu or a Tutsi any more, but you don’t have to speak to anyone for any length of time before the H word or the T word comes out- though usually in hushed tones. link

Interestingly, the BBC World Have Your Say team will be doing a programme from the Hotel Milles Collines on Friday. I’ll try and scrounge an invite,

On Friday we’ll be doing a programme from here at the Milles Collines and we’ll be joined from the U.S by Paul Rusesabagina – the manager here who sheltered all those survivors in 1994. We’re expecting a good debate ; if we can perusade people to talk openly that is. link

Hopefully, I’ll be able to blog some audio from the discussion at some point.

Photo taken from the Kigali Wire Flickr account

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