Open letter to my fellow Rwandan intellectuals

From : Faustin Twagiramungu                                                   Brussels, April 2020

 “He who accepts evil without protesting against it, is really cooperating with it”.  » Martin Luther King, Jr.

My fellow Rwandans,

As a Rwandan politician and witness to the recent history of our country, I deeply feel that I have the moral obligation to bring to your attention the enormous suffering and terrible humiliations that the Rwandan people have endured for the last 26 years. The more time passes, the more the situation of our countrymen continues to deteriorate. Never before has our country experienced so many trials and tribulations at the hand of the people in power. This includes large scale attacks on life, liberty and other fundamental rights; the plundering and destruction of private properties, the endemic food shortages deliberately triggered to decimate a part of the population; and many other evil acts that have become the daily lot of Rwandans. At the rate things are going, the worst is to be feared, as long as our country of Rwanda remains under the tyranny of an unapologetic bloodthirsty dictator.

It is indeed appalling and worrisome that a sitting Head of State, in this case General Paul Kagame, says loudly and clearly that he has killed and will continue to kill his citizens, but rather than being condemned he is applauded.

The recent example and other cases that you know very well, lead me to point the finger at your passive apathy, individual or collective, in front of the drama that is playing out before your own eyes. Do you not hear the small voice of conscience inside your head asking you: “What have you done with your education, your intelligence, your knowledge? What have you done for your people”?

My fellow Rwandans, WAKE UP!

To quote James Madison, “The people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived”.

Therefore, the exercise of power has no other purpose than the promotion of the public good. Yet, the RPF regime wields its power through iron and blood for the sole purpose of illicit enrichment of its dignitaries. What will it take for you to be outraged by this situation and at the very least bring you to say that it is unfair and unacceptable?  Tyranny is present and she wreaks havoc every day.

Some of you say to yourself: “I am not going to risk my life to face this ruthless regime! I leave it to fate”! It is this defeatism that nourishes and sustains evil. It is the excuse of humiliation! Whoever thinks like this is a coward who is scared of his own shadow. We often forget that dying is not up to us. But you should never forget that it is up to you to save your people in distress. 

What we have lived through and what our countrymen are going through is beyond words! Who among you has not lost a friend, a brother, a sister, or a relative? The whole Rwandan family has been touched by the will of these killers who continue to believe that they are above the law.

How many of you are so scared that they have turned into walking dead, to void being “killed a second time”! They have become like zombies, who obey this murderous regime at the clicking of the finger or eye. It is not by surrendering your body and mind to these forces of evil that you will live better. Be admirable, at the very least think about the good and future of your children and grandchildren; history will express its gratitude! 

My fellow Rwandans, BE ENGAGED!

Men, women, boys and girls of your own age have decided to wage a struggle against the RPF-Kagame regime that kills and abuses Rwandans. Join them or support them in any way you can! They are counting on you. They are involved in opposition associations or parties in Rwanda and abroad. They are in jail or are in exile. They fight day and night, each in their own way, for dignity, peace, justice, freedom and democracy in our country.  Some have paid a high price, and yet others continue. Like them, I believe in total victory. Those who were killed in this fight are the worthy sons and daughters of the nation. They have fallen on the battlefield of honor and we will never forget them. They deserve our admiration; they inspire us each and every day and night. We should do everything in our power to make sure that their sacrifice would not be in vain.

Some people mistakenly feel that this struggle does not concern them, simply because they have achieved a privileged social or financial situation. They seem to ignore that the RPKagame dictatorial regime has the ability to take everything away from those inside the country and to harass those in exile, including hiring thugs to do their dirty jobs. Is it still necessary to stress that this is first and foremost a struggle for dignity and freedom? In that case, these words of an African wise man deserve our full attention: “We prefer freedom in poverty to opulence in slavery”

My fellow Rwandans, FIGHT!

For you and your people to be safe, you must free yourself from these tyrannical forces! This type of oppression is against the law, it is anti-freedom and it is simply harmful to your life!

Just like any normal human being, your reason forces you to consider as an enemy of your survival anyone who wants to deprive you of life unless you agree to be at his mercy and servitude. In this situation, when you are forced to live as a prisoner of war, a hostage in your own home it is not only your right but also your duty to fight your de-facto captor.  You should understand that this a matter of survival and self-defense.

My fellow Rwandans, BE OUTRAGED!

It has been twenty-six years since the bones of our relatives have been on display as trophies of war. Enough is enough! The RPF regime led by Paul Kagame has chosen to disrespect our dead. They have been deprived of eternal rest to which all the dead are entitled to. All of these bodies exposed in Gisozi and elsewhere are those of our relatives you and I. None of these dead people were among Kagame’s direct family, for if they were, they would have been spared such a humiliation.

Our dead relatives have become the subjects of curiosity and mockery. Their bodies are being abused every day by foreign visitors, who are forced to go through this strange emotional exercise because they do not dare say no to the invitation.

This repulsive display of bones is shocking and unacceptable. It has been skillfully organized by the RPF-Kagame dictatorial regime to keep a part of Rwandans in constant guilt trip and to attract the sympathy of an international community whose naivety is being exploited by the Kigali regime.

We could never say this enough: the display of these bones must stop! Not only is it the result of the most reprehensible political exploitation, but it is also the height of cynicism, when we know that the majority of the remains in most « memorial sites » are victims of war crimes committed by General Kagame’s army during its conquest of the country in 1994. We must act quickly, so that these bodies are buried with dignity. Let us not let stand this horrible display, contrary to our religious beliefs and our culture. Our lack of action dishonors our dead and disgraces their memory. They died unjustly, and to make the matters worse, they have become the backdrop of a pitiful political spectacle.

The RPF terrorizes us so much that it is difficult to protest against this infamy. But how long will our dead endure our complicit silence? It is time to act, not only for this case, but also for all other everyday injustices.  Together, let us stand up as one to break this cycle of violence and impunity that has lasted far too long and put an end to Paul Kagame’s dictatorial and criminal regime.

My fellow Rwandans,

I would hope and have no doubt that my message will have helped, I hope, to remind you of your duty as an intellectual. You and I have an obligation to make a solemn commitment to the establishment in Rwanda of a new political order in the pursuit of life, dignity, freedom and other fundamental rights that our compatriots have been deprived of for more than 26 years.

We must first and foremost rely on ourselves because, as a Rwandan saying,  » (Ak’imuhana kaza imvura ihise) literally translated as “What comes from the neighbor comes after the rain” real meaning “Seeds that come from elsewhere usually arrive at the end of the growing season”.

Instead of waiting for our salvation from an international community indifferent to our fate or accomplice with our oppressor, let us instead rely on our energy and that of the youth of our country, acquired for the most part in the urgency and the need for political change in Rwanda, which must be done in the unity of all the components of Rwandan society.

Tomorrow or the day after, will mark the beginning of a march towards the liberation of our people by overthrowing the disgraced regime that has repressed them since the bloodthirsty dictator General Kagame took power. “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Be at this rendezvous with history, your history, that you will help write with the spirit of patriotism, brotherhood and national unity.

With all my well wishes and sincere greetings,

Faustin Twagiramungu

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