While his government has long been a promise for reconciliation and development, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame is facing increasing international criticism. Human Rights Watch and other institutions accuse his government of mistreating opposition members or making them disappear. At the center of the criticism is, among other things, the kidnapping of Paul Rusesabagina, a central figure in the film Hotel Rwanda and recipient of the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom. In this episode, hosts Tom Zoellner and Aida Baghernejad talk with David Himbara, a Rwandan political scientist and economist, about the threatening developments in Rwanda and the human rights situation in his country.
Tom Zoellner (host) is the New York Times bestselling author of eight nonfiction books, including Island on Fire, Uranium Train, and The Heartless Stone. He teaches at Chapman University and Dartmouth College. A former reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, he is the politics editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Aida Baghernejad (co-host) is a (pop) culture and food journalist based in Berlin. Her work has appeared in a number of regional, national and international media outlets, among them the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the San Francisco Chronicle, tipBerlin, Intro Magazine, Spex and Deutschlandfunk Kultur. She has previously taught at King’s College London and the Humboldt Universität Berlin.
Lisa Bartfai (producer) is an independent radio journalist and producer splitting her time between rural Maine and Southern California. Her work explores the intersection of culture and politics, and can be heard on NPR stations and podcasts all over the country.