What Has Oh Canada Got To Do With The Rwandan Dictator’s Courtroom?

By David Himbara

Open Letter To The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Dear The Right Honourable Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau,

This letter refers to an unusual subject that you might initially find puzzling. In the African nation of Rwanda, a young woman named Diane Rwigara, together with her sister, Anne Rwigara, and their mother, Adeline Rwigara, appeared in court on October 6, 2017. The three women are accused of inciting insurrection against the Rwandan dictator, Paul Kagame, who recently won a presidential election by 99% in 98% voter turnout. Diane Rwigara had attempted to run against Kagame but was barred due to her vision of Rwanda – a democratic state free from fear and violence.

Mr Prime Minister, the purpose of my letter is not about the irrationality of the charges against the three women. It makes no sense, for example, that a man elected by nearly 100% of the population would still worry about insurrection. Be that as it may, my letter is about Diane Rwigara and Oh Canada. As can be seen in the above attached photo, Diane Rwigara chose to wear a maple leaf and Oh Canada in the court. Why would she wear Oh Canada in her first court appearance for a crime that carries a ten-year minimum prison term? We cannot ask Rwigara this question because prisoners in Rwandan jails are inaccessible.

Mr Prime Minister, I believe that Diane Rwigara deliberately chose Oh Canada. She sought to send a message to the world. She defiantly wore a well-chosen role model for democracy and human rights – Canada. I cannot think of a better symbol of freedom, audacity, and hope than wearing an Oh Canada inside a dictator’s courtroom. FULL STORY