There have been fewer colorful and emotional moments when Rwandans came together to show their true colors as they did this past weekend in Chicago to welcome President Kagame to the Diaspora. It is one of those events better personally experienced than narrated.
The expected protests by the FDLR and RNC completely flopped, to be polite ! Rudasingwa and his master Rusesabagina showed up with their drunken street boys and made a spectacle of themselves. The hundreds they threatened to bring fizzled to no more than a handful !
It was indeed sad to see Rudasingwa shy away from cameras and hiding behind badly worded signs, taking refugee on his cell phone. Under the gazing eyes of former colleagues and the taunts of fellow Rwandans, Rudasingwa was a tragic comic figure of his former self. Obviously uncomfortable standing among the paid street boys, in his smart brown suit, Rudasingwa was worlds apart from Rusesabagina who seemed to be a fitting fabric of those they had paid, mostly Congolese, to come and make empty noises. How low men fall.
But the day was never mirred by the renegades and enemies
of Rwanda whose messages seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
As well over 2,000 Rwandans from the U.S, Canada, Switzeland, Belgium and France gathered to welcome President Kagame, the air was filled with jubilation and a fever of patriotism the likes of which I have never seen. As the president entered the hall, accompanied by the First Lady and family, music pierced the air and cabinet ministers Inyumba and Binagwaho led fellow Rwandans in song and dance. It was a beautiful show of the unwavering Rwandan spirit.
President Kagame approache the podium, smiling and obviously enjoying the accolades of fellow Rwandans. Before he could utter a word, a young man in his twenties shouted, ” we love you.” Vintage Kagame smiled and simply said thank you. The message was clear.
The President called upon Rwandans to work hard and never accept mediocrity in their lives. He again and again empasized the spirit and message of AGACIRO and the rich Rwandan culture. And again and again, the President received standing ovations as he listed Rwanda’s achievements and called upon Rwandans to rally to their country’s call to solve the many challenges that we face.
As the Manager of the Hyatt hotel told me, they had never seen such enthusiasm and a well coordinated event. It was a great day to stand tall and be Rwandan.
A sleeping giant has been awakened : Rwandans always rise to the occassion, and if the enemies of Rwanda think there is going to be a reversal of history, they have it coming. They are forewarned. There is no turning back.