Painting by Cheri Samba

Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi. Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually. - Koffi Olomide

Ésthetique eboma vélo. Aesthetics will kill a bicycle. - Felix Wazekwa

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New book out on Rwanda

A new book was released on Rwanda this week, edited by Scott Strauss and Lars Waldorf, that takes a critical look at the post-genocide state, its challenges and policies.


The book is dedicated to the memory of Alison des  Forges. I have a chapter with Federico Borello on transitional justice in the Congo, in particular regarding Rwanda's involvement there. Other authors include Catharine Newbury, Joseph Sebarenzi, Nigel Eltringham, Aloys Habimana and Filip Reyntjens.

The Rwandan government has come out strongly against the book, with articles published in the government-owned The New Times even before the release of the book. In addition, a blog has been set up to dismiss various critics of the regime, with several postings on the book and its authors.

12 comments:

texasinafrica said...

I'm bummed that you weren't named a perpetual griper. Step it up! :)

Jason Stearns said...

And I try so hard...

Intarebatinya said...

Rwanda will never be short of defenders with strong nerves to out nerve spoilers and ill-wishers

Anonymous said...

The most amusing thing is that the more successful Rwanda becomes, the more it's going to drive you people raving bonkers. I'm getting my popcorn ready to watch the spectacle. Somehow the idea of an African country becoming successful ... just doesn't sit right with you guys. I dunno -- some yet-to-be-discovered syndrome or something. Can't Stand An African Country Becoming Successful Syndrome, I'm tentatively calling it.

The human condition is endlessly fascinating, not least because there are forever specimens who confound and befuddle you while at the same time fascinating you; for however much you try, you can't figure them out -- how they think, what makes them tick. For example, there's a whole bunch of people here who wish for nothing less than for the region to return to chaos, bloodshed and suffering. They're here to help, they'll tell you.

That's what makes you guys ... curiously interesting.

Anonymous said...

Two things. I have not read the book but recognise some of the "usual suspects" among the authors. I hope that they explain in each case the grounds upon which they base their critical comments. Reyntjens for example has not been in Rwanda for years. He stated on the BBC that the RPF did not have even 10% popular support. Since he has not been there to interview people I wonder how he comes to that conclusion.

Secondly there is a tendency for the Kigali gov't to give critics more attention than they deserve. Susan Thomson - what does she know about Rwanda today anyway? Nyamwasa - ok so he thinks that development should benefit him more than ordinary people but such ideas have no future so why give him more publicity?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last comment. For those of us who have followed Rwanda and it's history, the "usual suspects" listed here have done more to discredit and distort the facts then support a country that has made positive improvements in the midst of tragedy.
We should allow Rwandans to tell their own story. They have created solutions that work for them. Outsiders do not have the right to criticize a nation that they failed to aid during the most critical time in their history.
These critics are outdated and no longer necessary voices for the Rwandan people.

Anonymous said...

I'am not rwandese but i think its best if the so called rwandese people told their "story" to africa and the world as whole

Anonymous said...

I am the "usual suspects" anonymous. I have no problem with criticism of Rwanda - it is not perfect - if it is balanced and made by people who know what they are talking about e.g. Phil Clark who spent years researching Gacaca in Rwanda. The fact that there was a Genocide in 1994 should not make Rwanda immune from criticism but writers should make allowances for that background, give credit where it is due and realise that other countries, including in the West have problems too, although they are good at hiding them. For example, the Iwawa Island project might not be what might be done in the US say, but it is genuine and serious attempt to do something for street kids/young people with no skills or discipline. Contrast that with zero effort for such people in the US and streets which are not safe to walk.

Anonymous said...

Why people should always get crazy when the Rwandan government is criticized? I am a Rwandan and i love the country and its people, but i welcome criticism and if critics say something that i don't like...so be it. Some people just don't like to be criticized or be told what we all know about the situation in our country. I am a Tutsi... and i think some Tutsi bustards are going to get us killed again... just because they love power and money and they don't want to share power with nobody.Plz remember the rest of us who don't have nothing... no power, no money, no families, no connection... you guys are going to get us killed by Hutu extremists. Please choose peace and talk to each other.

Anonymous said...

"Plz remember the rest of us who don't have nothing... no power, no money, no families, no connection... you guys are going to get us killed by Hutu extremists. Please choose peace and talk to each other."

... no internet access, no English language skills, no nothing. The only option is to give the genocidaires and other spoilers pride of place at the table. Otherwise, Rwanda will continue getting poorer and poorer, more corrupt and backward and and continuation in the unfortunate direction the country's been taking over the last 17 years.

Anonymous said...

"Why people should always get crazy when the Rwandan government is criticized?"

Why do people get so crazy when Rwanda defends itself against the spoiling efforts of gonocidaires and their groupies?

Anonymous said...

"... no internet access [THE FIBRE OPTIC NETWORK IS INSTALLED, SOON THIS WILL CHANGE], no English language skills [GET SOME BOOKS, WORK ON IT, SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE WHO CAN HELP YOU], no nothing. The only option is to give the genocidaires and other spoilers pride of place at the table [NO]. Otherwise, Rwanda will continue getting poorer and poorer [THE ECONOMY IS GROWING, THIS IS NONSENSE], more corrupt [CORRUPTION IS INTERNATIONALLY ACKNOWLEDGED TO BE LOW, IF YOU GIVE THE SPOILERS PRIDE OF PLACE THIS WILL BE REVERSED WHY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE LIKE KAYUMBA WANT POWER?] and backward and and continuation in the unfortunate direction [????]the country's been taking over the last 17 years."

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