Rwanda: A Tale of Two Pauls

By Steve Ogah

It is Charles Dickens’ classic novel, A Tale of Two Cities, which provided the backdrop for this essay’s title. And that is where it begins and ends. Paul Rusesabagina has been handed a 25-year prison sentence by a court in Kigali, Rwanda. But that is not the end of the matter. Opinion is divided between supporters of the government of Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and those on the other side of the divide. By this characterization, I mean his critics and those who are merely neutral observers of political and economic incidents that are unfolding in a land forever scarred by the traumatic history of its last genocide. The recent sentencing has put the hero of the story told around The Hotel Rwanda movie back in our faces. Paul Rusesabagina is perhaps, in some ways, a hero of a tragic episode in his country, the continent and in human history. One may never be absolute about this.

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