Recently, while I was sitting outside at a good restaurant in South-Limburg, it occurred to me how much Paul Kagame has meant to this blog, and probably to great lakes blogging in general, throughout these last couple of years.
The spring 2006 immigrant rights demonstrations and the important role latino radio stations had played in mobilising people for the protests opened my eyes to the importance of media in politics. That's why throughout 2007 I hosted a radioshow for and by immigrants in Leeuwarden. At the time this blog didn't have a prayer.
Cem Basman, a German blogger and entrepreneur, made me aware of new opportunities of new media for migrants in politics, I tested it out, as American living in Europe, with my "Dutch4huckabee" blog during the primaries. Blogging a political campaign gives you a deeper insight into how primaries work and their enormous impact on the outcome of the election. It also made me aware of the enormous power bloggers have in the political process today. The approaching elections in the great lakes region, Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, increased my interest in great lakes blogging.
Consciously optimizing my posts for search could and should be improved. However I am convinced one of the main ingredients for the success of this blog has been Paul Kagame. He motivated me over the years to write consistently on an off-beat unique topic which seemed to interest near to nobody (Which is expected, politics does not generate a lot of buzz). But the subject had a strong connection to my main interest: exploring the impact of migrants on democratic development both at home and abroad.
Consistently going against the tidal wave of propaganda concerning the current Rwandan regime and it's president guaranteed irritated comments, new connections, heated debate and most importantly, it motivated to blog (which is off course essential to blogging).
Can you imagine it has only been little more then a year ago that Rick Warren wrote:
"Rwanda's President, Paul Kagame, is the face of emerging African leadership"
Can you imagine it's only a year ago that Bill Clinton presented Rwandan President Paul Kagame with the Clinton Foundation’s Global Citizens Award ?
How will "Kagame PR meltdown" affect the credibility of Kagame's closest friends, Tony Blair and Rick Warren. How will it affect the grassroot support among both democrat and republican bloggers for their recently launched "faith offensive" in the US?
Great lakes bloggers such as Ann Garrison at sfbayview, Rwandankunda (people still guessing who he or she is) at RwandaNkunda , Claire Umurungi of the new proxylake blog, Laura Seay at texasinafrica , Jean-Christophe Nizeyimana of Survivorsnetwork, Jason Stearns at Congosiasa and many many more should never forget how Kagame helped us throughout the days without inspiration to continue blogging. Thanks to Kagame we now got this whole new blogging genre. Hope it won't degenerate into a b-quality "World Ward 2 genre".
The theory is that diaspora bloggers who are actively engaged and interested in the politics of their countries of origin, will eventually also impact the politics of the country where they currently reside. Which brings me to the goal of this blog. Allthough Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Rick Warren might still laugh at the thought of great lakes diaspora bloggers impacting the outcome of political campaigns in the US and the UK, I am convinced their public relations "titanic" has hit an iceberg.