Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rwanda, Congo and the Great Lakes A Battle of Narratives

The past few months have witnessed a shift in the narrative by some of Paul Kagame's staunchest supporters. Most notably, Stephen Kinzer in a 180 degree turnaround stated in the Guardian of London that "President Kagame should accept the possibility that his judgment may not always be correct, and listen earnestly to Rwandans with different ideas. He still has the chance to enter history as one of the greatest modern African leaders. There is also the chance, however, that he will be remembered as another failed African big-man, a tragic figure who built the foundations of a spectacular future for his country, but saw his achievements collapse because he could not take his country from one-man rule toward democracy." Read entire article here.

Another one of Paul Kagame's key intellectual supporter, Philip Gourevitch, recently came under scrutiny by Tristan McConnell in the Columbia Journalism Review in an article entitled "One Man's Rwanda." The article unleashed a debate between McConnell, Gourevitch and Howard French. Such a debate would not receive such prominence five years ago, this is certainly a sign that the hold that Paul Kagame has had on American intellectuals who have carried water for him since 1994 is weakening.


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