Cancelling Kagame’s visit to Oxford and the story of a petition

M.Sc. Candidate, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford and intern at Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid in Oxford

Salvator Cusamano, M.Sc. Candidate, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford and intern at Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid in Oxford

By the time of writing this note the petition referred to has already gathered 4,335 signatures. It was launched on Tuesday 07/05/13 by Salvator Cusamano, M. Sc Candidate at the University of Oxford and intern at Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid in Oxford.

On the same day he and the founding director of the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University, Barbara Harrell-Bond, wrote to the Dean of the institution requesting the cancellation of Kagame’s invitation.

On April 30th I had put online a petition in the same line of intentions as the one written by Cusamano. On May 2nd, having certainly come across it he emailed me asking about the objective. I replied back. Some days later he had his running.

As the momentum for the cancellation of the visit kept going, Joyce Lewell of the pro-Kagame camp who was certainly watching the growing number of people supporting the appeal launched their own petition.

However after a fast start, the latter reached a ceiling point of 2186 which it has been moving away from very slowly. The petition calling for the cancellation is worth double the one trying to sideline the request to the organizers of the event.

It emerged that those signing the petition pleading for cancellation are from all over the world. Understandably the majority are Congolese people whose country has been devastated by Paul Kagame’s persistent wars.

What the diversity of signatures tells us is that the humanitarian tragedy that the Rwandan president is responsible of both in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo is getting more and more attention from the general public.

8 millions of Congolese and Rwandans have lost their lives, and the suffering of survivors is ongoing because of one single man though backed by the support of a conglomerate of interests.

For more than two decades, the UN has been only counting the number of victims in the Great Lakes region. As in the case of other recent social revolutions, change in DRC and Rwanda is getting closer and closer to its tipping point.  And it might come from unexpected constituencies as this was in Northern Africa in recent years.

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4 responses to “Cancelling Kagame’s visit to Oxford and the story of a petition

  1. We knew the petition wasn’t going to trigger the cancellation of the tragicomedy orchestrated by powerful PR firms and rogues investors.
    What the petition did, however, was to demonstrate that Congolese are fast responding to the tedious work of conscientization undertaken by several of our preeminent activists ( Mostly ladies) .
    We went trough the process of developing a critical awareness of our’s social realities through reflections…
    But actions that “counts” were missing or far apart.
    Action is fundamental because it is the process of changing the reality and that’s exactly the mindset these ladies have been preaching and practicing ( KB Kumbi address to BAN KIN MOON is a classical example)
    In short, WE WILL NOT LONGER MOURN IN SILENCE, WE WILL, WITH ACTIONS, IMPOSE CHANGES IN DRC.

    WE WILL NOT LONGER TRY…WE WILL DO.

    Note : Make no mistake, KAGAME is a SMALL PIE that will rot with insects the day HIS SPONSORS GIVES HIM AWAY…History tell us they ALWAYS DO !
    So do get too high on yourself…RWANDA CAN NOT AFFORD TO HAVE RDC AS MORTAL ENEMY…It’s simply counter-productive and possibly dangerous in the log run…
    Think about it…Elizana John !

    Best regards as i have nothing against my African brothers and sisters of RWANDA !

    Le fils du Zaire

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  2. Elizana John, how interesting. When your leader, mass killer, is supported and praised by the same Whites, you despise here, everything is fine, no colonialism, no white supremacy. On the contrary when critics comes they are suddenly the colonialists. The truth my dear is that you lack words to defend what is morally indefensible. Don’t be blind, be honest and start acknowledging the sufferings your criminal leader has imposed on the population of the Great Lake Region and Congo foremost. Justice and Paul Kagame are no synonyms. This is a too important word to use for a person that is no more human, that belongs to trash bin of history.

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  3. Salvator Cusamano; you are just Kagame hater and for your information; hating hima is hating Justice, Development and any other social aspect that you may think of. Leave Africa and its Leaders alone. Enough is enough, we are tired of so called “experts”. This is neocolonialism BUT you’ll NEVER succed

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    • Elizana John, this is not Salvator Cusamano who wrote this note. I am the author. If there is any blame it should be me to take it. From the point of view you raised I suppose you are Rwandan. Me too I am Rwandan. Since you taxed Cusamano of a number of sins because he is foreign, I suppose you will need a different wording for them in my case. I think I will be called divisionist, genocidaire or negationist, as these are the sins for any Rwandan who raises a dissent voice about Kagame’s regime and its policies. As you are asking Cusamano to leave Africa and its leaders alone, I am quite certain you will call for my imprisonment. One question for you: are you part of Kagame’s inner circle of members who have been benefiting from the oppression of the majority of Rwandans and the plundering of DRC? If you are, I do understand you fully. The statu quo has to prevail despite the number of victims of Kagame’s rule inside and outside the country. But change is coming. The best advice is to be ready to embrace it.

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