The origin of enmity

Since the launch of the movie “Hotel Rwanda”, Rusesabagina often gives conference in Western schools and universities. During his talks, he denounces the genocide and the other crimes against humanity committed in Rwanda, including those committed by the army of the RPF, in power since July 1994. The 15th of November 2006, he lodges a complaint to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda based in Arusha (Tanzania) against General Paul Kagama, who was for a long time Chief Commander of the RPF army and the current president of the Republic of Rwanda. In 2006, he created a political opposition party: le Parti Démocratique au Rwanda (PDR-IHUMURE) that he heads since its creation.

The actions of Rusesabagina provoked the hostility of the Rwandan authorities against him. They describe him as a cynical profiteer, who made himself rich thanks to the genocide, making the refugees give him money and goods in exchange for a so-called protection. They call him a negationist, revisionist and divisionist having to ask for forgiveness for having proclaimed himself a hero1. The president Paul Kagame has also denounced, in his speech the 1st of February 2006 during the national holiday for the heroes, a “manufactured hero”, explaining that Rwandan heroes cannot be “made in America, Europe or Asia” and that movie stars don’t have their place on the list of national heroes.

Faced with these severe accusations, Rusesabagina answers that they are not at all new. He says: “These are only piles of lies. They started when I received the Medal of Freedom, in the White House, in 2005. Before, none of the refugees of the Hotel des Milles Collines had anything bad to say after the evacuation of the hotel, in June 1994, nor in the years that followed. The director of the movie Hotel Rwanda himself visited Rwanda and met many survivors of the Hotel des Mille Collines before filming the movie and no one refuted my version. The journalists and human rights activists that went to Rwanda after the genocide told the story of the hotel without mentioning any complaints against me, they could have met several survivors. But today, every time I have to intervene somewhere, the Rwandan authorities always manage to organise disruptions, through the embassies, but also the associations of genocide survivors that the current government has taken hostage. I am the target of a denigration campaign staged from Kigali. The Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, considers me to be an opponent because my denunciations bother him. He manipulates the survivors of the Hotel as well as some foreign opportunists to tarnish my image. I wasn’t silent at the Hotel, in 1994. I will not be silent now neither. I call the violations of human rights by the current government by their name, this is my crime2”.


1 You can read Alfred Ndahiro, Privat Rutazibwa, Hotel Rwanda : Or The Tutsi genocide as seen by Hollywood, Paris, editions Harmattan, 2008.

2 Extract from an interview with Paul Rusesabagina in Brussels, the 28th of December 2014.