It is scandalous, that the majority of the international press has been giving a misleading and naïve reporting of the trial and verdict against the so-called “hero” of the film “Hotel Rwanda” and the real person behind it.
The clear evidence, including that given by the Belgian authorities, of the co-responsibility of Paul Rusesabagina for the terrorist attacks to which nine civilians fell victim is not taken seriously. The fate of the victims is hardly addressed, but much space is given to the critics of this verdict. Typical is that the BBC gave Rusesabagina’s daughter the opportunity to call the trial a “sham trial” and to spread the barefaced lie that her father had nothing to do with terrorism and was a “man of reconciliation”! Everybody can watch on youtube that this “man of reconciliation” publicly called to “use any means possible to bring about change in Rwanda”, and he explicitly pledges his unreserved support” for all armed actions “the National Liberation Forces – NLF, launches against Kagame’s army, in order to free the Rwandan people.” Therefore, it is an extreme trivialisation of his role when he is portrayed only as “a fierce critic of Kagame”.
It is not a sign of serious journalism when many international media like our German public broadcasting news service, taggeschau, still called him a “hero” who had “given shelter to hundreds of Tutsis in his hotel during the 1994 genocide.” This seems to be apparently clueless to the contrary testimonies of the occupants of the Hotel des Mille Collines over so many years. One should read or hear the book of Edouard Kayihura and Kerry Zukus, Inside the Hotel Rwanda: The Surprising True Story . . . and Why It Matters Today.
Everybody should also read the revealing text about Rusesabagina from the latest book of the great expert in this field: Intent to Deceive. Denying the Genocide of the Tutsi by Linda Melvern. I believe this is a must-read for everybody who wants to understand the many expressions of “genocide denial” over the decades, the deceit of many international journalists and the unbelievable widespread support of fake news by some academics in contrast to the clear historical facts provided by a huge majority of genocide scholars.
The European Parliament and some governments have also (apart from the mysterious circumstances of his arrest) adopted completely uncritically the opinion of Rwanda opponents and some deniers of the planned genocide of the Tutsi. Significantly, the Rwandan Parliament’s clearanswer to the European Parliament is not mentioned, which also shows the discriminatory prejudices against “only” an African parliament, which, by the way, has the largest female majority of all parliaments in the world.
It would be a rewarding field of investigative international journalism to cover up this international network of genocide deniers, minimizers and relativizers with whom this Hollywood celebrity publicly appeared and spread his dangerous propaganda over the past two decades (see Inside the Hotel Rwanda). He was connected with those Hutu expatriates who gathered genocide fugitives worldwide and supported terror, such as Ignace Murwanashyaka, the leader of the FDLR, responsible for mass killings and mass rape in Eastern Congo. (He operated from Germany (!) until he and his vice president were sentenced in our country).
It seems that the international press (with a few exceptions) is once again misjudging the situation as it did in 1994. Today, many media are obviously again victims of such dangerous misinformation and propaganda like Rusesabagina’s daughter and other enemies of Rwanda.