Quote of the day/week/however long

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."
~William James

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

ACS Dissonance in Kigali

A U.S. lawyer released from a Rwandan prison on medical grounds credited America's Secretary of State with his release but said Sunday the U.S. Embassy did not help him secure food or medicine while in prison

"Peter Erlinder, 62, said he had to sleep on a concrete floor without a blanket and without assistance from the embassy after his May 28 arrest in Kigali, Rwanda's capital. The Minnesota law professor thanked U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for saying Rwanda shouldn't arrest lawyers [emphasis added] but said embassy officials in Kigali and Nairobi have not helped much. 'My government insisted that I take my medications from my captors rather than bringing me medications directly,' Erlinder told a news conference in Nairobi, his first public comments since his arrest. 'It was impossible for them to arrange a doctor whom I would pay so that I wouldn't have to get my food and my medication from my captors.'

"A spokesman in Kigali said the U.S. embassy there offered regular assistance to the imprisoned lawyer. 'Embassy officials visited Erlinder every day and were in constant touch with his family,' embassy spokesman Edwina Sagitto said. 'The Embassy also provided him food every day, and medicine from his doctors in the United States every day.'

"Erlinder did not outright say that he feared taking food from Rwandan authorities, but that was the implication. He added that it wasn't clear to him that 'my own embassy was working in my interests.'  He did not elaborate."

The story goes on (find the rest here) but perhaps this is enough.

The story does not mention which Rwanda prison.  This is Gitarama.  Wonder where these gentlemen get food and medicine daily.

Anyone could find the contradictions in this story:  the embassy didn't help, didn't provide the exact help he wanted (implying that there was help, just not his favorite flavor), didn't provide its help in the way he wanted...  And by the way, Madam has searched the net in vain for the Secretary's statement to the effect that lawyers shouldn't be arrested - can someone else find it?  There are SO many possible (and shamelessly funny) responses to that observation that Madam simply can't choose between them.   

Nevertheless, welcome home, Professor.

As Madam often says, consular officers don't do their jobs for thanks.  But thank you, Kigali!  And never mind.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrats Kigali. It is not much fun to work your tails off for someone and have that person trumpet to the world that you did nothing.