Monday, April 27, 2009

Our softspot

As Jean-Louis Kayitenkore writes on his blog: Rick Warren has suggested Paul Kagame to be included in the next top 100 most important and influential people in the world with the words
"President Paul Kagame, 51, of Rwanda ,is the face of emerging African leadership. His reconciliation strategy, management model,
empowerment of women in leadership,and insistence on self-reliance,are transforming a failed state into one with a bright future."

Rick Warren has been considered by many to be the new leader of Evangelical politics in the US. He has earned this position in no small part by using the Rwandan narrative, summarized above, to tap in to the softspot many evangelicals, many Americans and many world citizens have for Israel. It won't be necessary for me today to point out the weaknesses in the theological or philosophical foundation for this softspot, because Rick Warren's narrative is falling apart at the speed of light.

It is now confirmed by a UN report that Paul Kagame was behind Laurent Nkunda. Spain is investigating the claims, backed by solid proof, that his RPF army has committed crimes against humanity and acts of genocide inside Rwanda and the Congo. It is very likely that Paul Kagame himself ordered the assasination of former Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi.

Rick Warren and Paul Kagame's success have a common denominator: they used our softspot to their personal advantage. Our softspot: common guilt in western Europe and sentimentality in the US concerning the holocaust. In the case of Rick Warren all this is off course covered with a "biblical sauce". The holocaust is a wound in our history that continues to impact human lives up to today. Political traditions from different directions are influenced by this painfull and shamefull period in history. Follow European politics today and you will notice how much impact this common memory continues to have on current affairs. How it complicates and influences many political discussions at home and abroad. The same holds true for US public policy.

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