When America sneezes, Britain catches a cold, so the saying goes. First, Baroness Helena Kennedy, in the House of Lords, then Chris Bryant, Sir Iain Duncan-Smith, Members of Parliament for Rhondda, and Chingford and Woodgreen, respectively, all seem to have fallen in the grip of a disease that hitherto had been confined to the American Congress and Senate.
The pathogen travels through word of mouth, and in the case of America in particular, through large financial contributions to election campaigns.
An individual, or group of individuals, approaches a legislator, relates some great injustice or other, then asks the legislator, if they might lend their voice to the denunciation of the reported injustice.
All this, is of course, as it should be. It is after all, the role of legislators to make representations on behalf of those they represent, or indeed against any injustice farther afield, about which they might feel especially strongly.
The difficulty, as all too often, with American legislators, and now with Bryant, Kennedy, and Duncan-Smith, arises when the words are infected with the pathogen that seems to arrest the legislator’s normal ability to listen critically, leaving them vulnerable to accepting what they are told unquestioningly.
This is especially common in America, where legislators are keen to please groups that make financial contributions to their election campaigns.
In this particular case, the pathogen still travels through the words, but its potency, or viral load, is increased by the campaign funds behind them. This has the effect of all but shutting off the legislator’s critical faculties, and they essentially become a mouth for hire.
Fortunately, although not completely free from the influence of money, on the whole, the structure of parliamentary elections in Britain, vaccinates British parliamentarians from becoming little more than ventriloquists’ dummies for anyone with a large check.
But Parliamentarians have a heavy workload, and there is always the temptation to accept some things at face value. This seems to be what has happened with Bryant, Duncan-Smith and Helena Kennedy, in the Lords.
They received representations from Rusesabagina’s daughters and their supporters, and immediately rushed to repeat verbatim, what they were told. First in line, was Baroness Helena Kennedy. One of Britain’s most senior lawyers, Kennedy is also director of the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute. She is accustomed to forensically examining issues, before pronouncing on them. A habit with which she chose to dispense on this occasion.
No doubt with an eye on the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) due take place in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, she demanded that the Commonwealth “must do something.”
In explaining why the Commonwealth must act against Rwanda, she offers, undigested, claims she has been fed by the Rusesabagina campaign, after a meeting with his daughters.
Not to be outdone, the MP for Rhondda, Chris Bryant, stood up in a committee room, and read the very same claims, from a prepared statement, only for Iain Duncan-Smith to decide that he would not let such a seemingly popular bandwagon pass him by, and hoped on.
Their chorus now, is that Johnston Busingye, Rwanda’s High Commissioner designate to London, should be “sanctioned,” certainly that Britain should not accept his credentials. And their reasoning?
They have it on faith, that Johnston Busingye, for almost a decade, Rwanda’s Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, presided over “kidnap” “torture” of the ‘Hotel Rwanda Hero’ Paul Rusesabagina.
Putting aside faith, and giving reason a fair wind, however, as we might have hoped from Members of Parliament, including a senior lawyer, we find that Britain should have every reason to be pleased with the appointment of Busingye, as High Commissioner to London.
As Rwanda’s minister of Justice and Attorney-General, for close on to a decade, it fell to Busingye, to lead reforms of the Rwanda justice system, after it had been left in tatters, soaked in the blood of innocents, by a genocidal establishment, that led the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
It is thanks to these reforms that today, every country in the world, can now satisfy itself, as many including those in the European Union, have, that anyone extradited to Rwanda, will have a fair trial, and certainly be treated humanely. This is the man the Parliamentarians would have “sanctioned.”
They would do so, on the word of the daughters of Paul Rusesabagina’s daughters, supported by his campaign team.
Much has been said of Rusesabagina, and much it need not be repeated here. Contrary to the fandom he has earned among so many in the West, his supposed “heroism” rests on a work of fiction that went looking for a “feelgood story” simply because that is what would sell.
The reality, is that Rusesabagina was a functionary of the genocidal government, which sent him to be their eyes and ears, at the eponymous Hotel des Mille Collines.
From the moment of Rusesabagina’s arrival at the hotel, the commander of the UN peace keeping force, Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire, had reason to be more protective of the most prominent refugees. Of the film, which informs the MPs, and so many of Rusesabagina’s Western supporters, Dallaire pronounced, “revisionist junk.”
Once in America, Rusesabagina showed his true colours, quickly becoming a prominent figure for the HutuPower ideologues, thanks to his newly acquired fame.
He amassed money from speaking engagements, which he now used to finance armed groups to attack Rwanda, in particular, the so called National Liberation Front (FLN), while claiming to be sending it to Rwanda, to “aid in the reconciliation process.”
All this is in the public domain, so confident was he, of installing himself in Rwanda’s state house, and taking the country back to its past of division along ethnic lines, that he announced his intentions on film, much of which can still be found on the internet.
For over a decade, Rwanda shared information about Rusesabagina’s terrorist activities, with both Belgium and the United States. A great deal of the evidence presented against him in Rwanda, came from cooperation with the Belgian justice.
The Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) eventually got their man, after trapping him in an elaborate ruse, in which he believed that he was going to Burundi, almost certainly to meet with the leaders of the armed groups he led and financed.
Rusesabagina had insisted on a private jet, fearing an international warrant out against him. He boarded the aircraft, was received as a privileged guest, fell asleep, and only on his arrival at Rwanda’s Kanombe airport, did he realise he had landed in the country of his birth.
In detention, he was immediately given a lawyer, a medical check up, his health needs met. He received visits from Belgian diplomats, as he has Belgian citizenship, and was able to speak to his family regularly. He even gave interviews to international media.
None of this however, cuts any ice with the believers. Chris Bryant, insists Rusesabagina was “bound and gagged” “kidnapped” and “tortured” because Rusesabagina’s campaign says so. The same campaign that raised the alarm that Rusesabagina was being starved of food, and was at death’s door.
Baroness Kennedy for her part, did a little better. She at least seemed to have memorized what she had been told, even though she talked of President Kagame, as “Rwandan Premiere Kagame.”
The irony is that all of them would have Busingye, a man who has spent a life time serving the law, “sanctioned,” while praising Rusesabagina, a man who has spent a life time serving mass murderers, graduating to lead a terrorist organisation, responsible for yet more murders.