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Please help raise awareness about elections violence in Rwanda

by Susan Thomson.

Please help raise awareness about elections violence in Rwanda

As many of you likely already know, Rwanda is having Presidential elections this August. In the run up to the elections, the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front, has done everything in its power to suppress the opposition. The situation is very tense. And is growing more tense by the day as dissent within the military increases, and the government opts for assassination as a viable option to control its opposition and critics. Of course, as the Swahili proverb goes, “When the elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers…”, meaning of course the ordinary people are caught in the crossfire.

There are some very easy and powerful things you can do to raise awareness about the likelihood of elections-related violence in Rwanda.

1. Call your Member of Parliament (Canada) or your Senator (America) to tell them you are concerned about reports of violent repression in Rwanda.

Simply google your “Member of Parliament” and your city of residence in Canada and just the name of your state in the US. You’ll get direct numbers and email address there.

In Canada:
– call Paul Dewer’s office, as he is the head of the All-Parliamentary Committee on the Prevention of Genocide (613-946-8682 or;
– call the office of Senator Dallaire (613-995-4191 or 1-800-267-7362 or

In the US, contact the office of Senator Russ Feingold, chairman of the Subcommittee on African Affairs (

2. Worried that you don’t know enough about the political situation in Rwanda to call?
If so, call anyway and ask your representative what the policy of her/her office on Rwandans upcoming elections.
If you think a simple phone call is not effect, public policy scholars have found in Canada that politicians equate 1 phone call from a concerned citizen with the opinions of at least 250 constituents. So you phone call could indeed make a difference!

3. Get talking about politics in Rwanda. You can easily educate yourself with online resources like the Rwanda page on the BBC Africa homepage.
Write letters to the editor, blog, repost this message on your facebook page.
Watch Hotel Rwanda with your friends.
Do something!

4. Share the idea of raising awareness with your networks and with journalists. We all know people who care about social justice issues both at home and abroad. Stand up and let folks in your network know that this is a pressing issue.

5. Still have questions?
Get in touch with researchers like me (; 413.835.0156).
I will share all my knowledge with you, and can put you in touch with other academics, human rights advocates, and other like-minded individuals who can share their thoughts and opinions on the current situation.

Please consider acting on this important issue. Studies have shown that one of the main reasons that the international community did not intervene early enough to stop the Rwandan genocide of 1994 was the lack of alarm. The issues simply did not matter to enough Westerners for their governments to act….

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1 comment

1 John Peterson { 06.28.10 at 7:42 pm }

Dear Madame Suzan!
Excuse me to tell you this but this information or update about Rwanda is totally baseless. Yes there is a Rwandan journalist who recently died but please stop saying nonsense about who killed him. The current Rwandan goverment, for your information, is one of the most responsible goverment in Africa and does not kill its own people.It has concretly proven it to the rest of the World and continues to suprise many in rebulding the country so fast despite what happened in 1994. It is a very focussed and intelligent goverment as well, and cannot kill its own citizens at this critical times of nearly presidential elections of Aug/9th/2010. Those things you are talking about in your article dont exist in the new Rwanda and you know very well how sensitive it is to kill a journalist. So the Rwandan government is not that stupid.
By the way, 2 suspects have been arrested today and one of them revealed to the police that he is the one who killed the journalist for a revenge purpose, saying that he killed him because the journalist is responsible of his brother’s killing in the 1994 Rwanda genocide against the tutsi.
Briefely, there is nothing to worry about the Rwandan governement. I wuld rather suggest you to do not believe anyone about what is going on in Rwanda but you should go in that beautiful african country to witness yourself the reality.
So please try to be objective and stop listening to lies.

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