RWANDANS UP IN ARMS AGAINST LANTOS FOUNDATION: I too, protest.

Mrs. Annette Lantos

Chairman, Board of Trustees

Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice

Concord, NH

 Dear Mrs. Lantos :

 As a constituent of your late husband, I am writing with pained chagrin to add my voice to hundreds of thousands of dissenting voices over your decision to recognize Paul Rusesabagina for having allegedly saved hundreds of people during the 1994 Rwanda genocide against the Tutsi.

 I dare say that Congressman Lantos, were he alive, would have taken time to listen to our cries. He was a careful and measured man, and he would have avoided adding injury to the wounds of millions of people who have been hurt by Rusesabagina’s denial of our genocide, and his continuing to sow seeds of discord in a healing Nation.

 To deny one genocide, as Rusesabagina does, is to trivialize all genocides. To continue making a living and financial gains from our genocide is not only unconscionable but criminal. The Lantos Foundation should be the last organization to be affiliated with a man of questionable moral standing and a checkered past.

 Where are all the people he saved ? How come he will NOT meet with a few survivors from Hotel Mille Collines who are anxious to reveal his machinations ?

 I acknowledge your right to make the final decision on inviting Rusesabagina and bestowing upon him any awards you wish. But I implore you to live by the mission of the Lantos Foundation: to speak out against injustice and side with those who have been wronged. Congressman Lantos would not have done less.

 In 1994 the world turned a blind eye as poor little Rwanda bled to death. Your act, by recognizing this fraud of a man is a continuation of the same injustice we suffered 17 years ago.

 While I appreciate your right to accord anybody an award, I disagree with overlooking facts. In this instance you are according this man the Lantos recognition based on fabricated and distorted facts. Your late husband is turning in his grave for the injustice that is continuously being heaped upon the people of Rwanda.

 May you find the heart to correct this injustice. May your husband’s legacy awaken you to our tears and pain. This latest blow to our soul is the last straw, and an insult to the millions that perished in 1994.

 Please do the right thing.

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4 responses to “RWANDANS UP IN ARMS AGAINST LANTOS FOUNDATION: I too, protest.

  1. Christine Agasaro

    RUSESABAGINA DID NOT SAVE MY LIFE : A survivor’s testimony
    By Edouard KAYIHURA

    Rusesabagina should not be awarded, as a hero, as it is indicated in the press release (a reference to a Press release about the upcoming speaking engagement at the ARMENIAN HERITAGE FOUNDATION in Boston, MA where Rusesabagina has been invited to speak on October 20, 2011.)

    Paul Rusesabagina was depicted in the movie as “… having single-handedly prevented the slaughter of more than 1,200 refugees at the Milles Collines Hotel during the Genocide against Tutsi from April to July 1994,”

    I was in the hotel. Mr. Rusesabagina did not save my life. Mr. Rusesabagina saved less lives than anyone who was in the hotel. If anything, Mr. Rusesabagina imperiled our lives and exploited our lives, and continues to do so today.

    Who really saved us? It must first be noted that the hotel was a UN protected site. The UN flag flew over our compound. Diplomats from around the world such as Bernard Kouchner of France, a founder of Doctors Without Borders, visited us frequently and were the ones who really stood up to the genocidal brutes who wished to kill us. Since then, though, Paul Rusesabagina has taken full credit for things that others have done. One could not even add that Mr. Rusesabagina assisted these truly heroic men. In fact, he impeded their efforts.

    Mr. Rusesabagina cut phone lines, cutting us off from the outside world, and forced us to pay for rooms and food, and those who had no money to pay were removed from their rooms. He had even sold the food we got from NGOS such as Red Cross. I personally and my roommate paid him to stay in the room.

    These tales and more are finally beginning to come out because in spite of the fact that the movie came out in 2004, Mr. Rusesabagina has become an industry onto himself. We, the other survivors of the hotel, have stood by largely silent, as Mr. Rusesabagina has profited obscenely from his movie, but as time has gone by, his thirst has only grown stronger. Today, as he speaks at venues, he does so not only for profit, but for political power, power which may result in as many Rwandan deaths as occurred in 1994.

    “Hotel Rwanda” portrays Rusesabagina as an insider who knew many of the most powerful people in Rwanda, yet who himself remains apolitical. The real Rusesabagina was not only politically active in Rwanda, but an active member of the MDR party, which became MDR-Power (“Hutu Power”) to carry out the genocide — facts that are conveniently obscured by his characterization in the movie. At the time the genocides ensued, he was manager of the Hotel Des Diplomats, which had become the de facto headquarters for the Hutu Power extremists—the movement that had been planning the genocide for several weeks prior to the downing of the president’s plane on April 6, 1994. Given his proximity to these radicals, it is reasonable to conclude that he knew more about the events to come than the movie would suggest.

    Far more disturbing is the fact that Rusesabagina has used his platform to champion and reinvigorate those same ethnically divisive Hutu Power politics, raising money for causes that have less to do with helping survivors than revenge against the government of Rwanda today. In speech after speech he has shown no compunction for contradicting certain facts portrayed in the movie—not to mention his own memoir, published in 2006—to suit his agenda. Most flagrant is his attempt to paint the murders committed by the Hutu Power extremists as simply a byproduct of civil war and not genocide.

    In short, Mr. Rusesabagina has gone on record as either denying that what took place in 1994 was a genocide, or that there was something he sometimes refers to as a “dual genocide” – that each side committed genocide against the other — negating the term “genocide” entirely. This is revisionist history at its worst.

  2. PR is a liar and a conspirator who worked with genocidaires Bizimungu at Milles Colline to torture those who had taken refugee at the hotel.

  3. It is uncredible that a famous foundation such as LANTOS FOUNDATION let itself be misleaded by a man greedy for making money at all costs, even when it costs lives of innocent people. Paul Rusesabagina didn’t save no sigle life in Hotel des Mille Collines. He arrived at Mille Collines some days after a great number of refugees were there under the protection of UNNAMIR. In his love of making money, he made a movie in which he proclaims himself heroic and saviour of many lives. And LANTOS FOUNDATION has believed his lies without even daring interrogate at least one of the numerous survivours of Hotel Mille Collines. History will ask LANTOS FOUNDATION how it could award such an impostor.How can LANTOS FOUNDATION take a fiction as a reality? It’s a pity! What a shame!

  4. Christine Agasaro

    Rwandan activist cancels Winnipeg appearance By Tom Godfrey ,Toronto Sun
    Other Institutions & Foundations get it: Activist Paul Rusesabagina who inspired the hit movie Hotel Rwanda has bowed to pressure and cancelled a visit to Winnipeg where he was to join former U.S. vice-president Al Gore and other dignitaries.
    Members of Toronto’s Rwandan community last week called on Ottawa to refuse to issue a visa to or block Rusesabagina’s visit on Nov. 23. to attend a youth empowerment event — a We Day celebration.Rusesabagina, 57, was slated to attend the event with Gore,actress and UNICEF goodwill ambassador Mia Farrow, wheelchair hero Rick Hansen and former prime minister Paul Martin.The high-profile activist has been dogged by fellow Rwandans who accuse him of being a “genocide revisionist and denier.”

    John Rukumbura, of the Rwandese Canadian Association of Greater Toronto, and others accuse Rusesabagina of charging fees for sheltering fleeing Tutsis and moderate Hutus at the UN-protected Sabena Hôtel des Mille Collines during the genocide.“We are very pleased and delighted that he is no longer coming to Canada,”said Ruku-Rwabyoma. “The community is healing and they didn’t want him here.”

    Event publicist Tamara Kaftalovich told the association that Rusesabagina will not appear as scheduled at the Free the Children event in Winnipeg.

    The Lantos Foundation shoud follow this example.

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