“If we don’t tell Rwanda’s story, others will do it the wrong way”
“It should be our pride to live in a dignified country. We must continually tell the story of our country, because if we don’t, someone else will do it the wrong way.” That was the rallying call from President Paul Kagame while addressing thousands of Rwanda gathered at Rwanda Day in Boston, USA.
He added that Rwandans should testify themselves how their lives have improved. President Kagame reminded the Rwandan community living in the US that building Rwanda must be every Rwandan’s responsibility. “It’s my responsibility and yours too, to build our country. We cannot delegate this to anyone else.” He observed that Rwandans living in the US should learn from Americans’ patriotism. “You have seen how people here work hard and love their country, emulate them. Rwanda cannot be an exception.”
Moreover, President Kagame told the Rwandan Diaspora in the US that Rwanda’s progress has given rise to detractors. “Progress invites detractors, but it’s ok. We have the ability, desire and will to define ourselves. Detractors will do their job, we will do ours.”
He stressed that Rwanda can only pay attention to criticism if there is something to learn from it, not distraction. “We aim to be the best we can, if you want to help, welcome, but we take the lead in dealing with our problems.” He requested all present to collaborate towards Rwanda’s development. “All of us, boys, girls, old, and young should work together; use our differences for the common good.”
For Kagame, that is also what the Agaciro Development Fund is about. “It’s more than the money, it’s an attitude, a desire of self-determination. It’s our way of saying: we will overcome.”
President Kagame also mentioned the Eastern DRC unrest and the continuing accusations against Rwanda, pointing out that Rwanda is among the first beneficiaries of peace and stability in the region. “How can we work so hard to develop our country and at the same time destabilize our neighbors? Are we stupid? It is not logical for Rwanda to have an unstable Congo. We are best suited by contributing to its stability.” He reiterated that Rwanda is an easy scapegoat for the failure of leadership in DRC and that of the international community. “I would have wished the aid that was withheld from Rwanda was transferred to Congo to help address their problems,” he remarked.
Rwanda’s ambassador to the US James Kimonyo said that Rwanda Day 2012 is an opportunity to strengthen Rwandans’ resolve and their dignity as the journey continues. “We want to continue shaping our future,” he said.
Eugene Ubalijoro, the representative of Rwanda’s US-based community, called on Rwandans living abroad to make a difference and do business in Rwanda. “The Diaspora invests in Bank of Kigali. in Bralirwa. though it is kept secret.”
For Bobby Sager, a friend of Rwanda and Honorary Consul to Boston, Rwanda is no longer defined by the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis. “The Genocide made Rwanda famous, but it’s what happened since that makes it important.”
The two-day Rwanda Day was taking place for the second time, after Chicago last year, and it serves as a time for Rwandans living abroad, especially in the US and Canada, to reconnect and discuss issues regarding Rwanda’s future. During the event, government officials share information on the ongoing political and socio-economic development, and a wide range of topics is covered during a series of panel discussions.
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