In a desperate bid to revive the reputation of Paul Rusesabagina, Jay Nordlinger’s article in the National Review titled “A great man”, is nothing more than a hollow attempt to obscure the truth about the man’s criminal activities. However, an in-depth examination of the facts reveals that Rusesabagina’s involvement in acts of terrorism is indisputable, and his supposed heroism is nothing more than a façade.
Firstly, Nordlinger’s obsession with Rusesabagina’s Hollywood narrative of “heroism” is nothing short of delusional. In reality, Rusesabagina’s staged role in saving lives during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi is a mere facade, a figment of his imagination. The exaggeration of his involvement in protecting Tutsi refugees at the Hotel des Mille Collines has been unequivocally refuted by reputable sources, including UNAMIR’s force commander Romeo Dallaire, who deemed the movie “Hotel Rwanda” a mere work of revisionist “junk” that erodes historical facts.
In a 2004 interview, Major Stefan Stec, a UN observer who was present at Hotel des Mille Collines during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, disclosed that Rusesabagina provided the names and room numbers of the most vulnerable refugees to the genocidaires, putting their lives in grave danger. Rusesabagina’s actions were certainly not those of a savior, but rather, of a self-interested individual who was willing to jeopardize the safety of others for his gain. This revelation dismantles Nordlinger’s fallacious claim that Rusesabagina was a “great man” who “saved Tutsi refugees” at the hotel.
Furthermore, Nordlinger has consciously chosen to disregard Rusesabagina’s involvement in a series of terrorist attacks in the southwestern region of Rwanda between 2018 and 2019, which led to the loss of nine lives and extensive property damage. Rusesabagina himself has acknowledged his role as a founder and financial backer of the FLN, the military wing of his political party MRCD, which is responsible for these attacks. Nordlinger’s failure to acknowledge these facts is not only disingenuous but also portrays a lack of consideration for the victims and their families.
Add to that, Nordlinger’s accusation that Rusesabagina’s trial was politically motivated is both specious and irrelevant. The U.S. government, which initially expressed concerns about Rusesabagina’s detention, rescinded its wrongful detention determination after reviewing “recent developments in the matter of Paul Rusesabagina.” In addition, Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned political violence, further weakening Nordlinger’s argument.
To put it succinctly, the portrayal of Rusesabagina as a heroic figure and a victim of political oppression is unsubstantiated. The evidence that emerged during his trial and the revocation of the US State Department’s decision on his wrongful detention indicate the veracity of his conduct. It is imperative to cease any attempts at historical distortion and recognize the facts regarding Rusesabagina’s association with violence and terrorism.
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