Monday, August 23, 2010

  • Monday, August 23, 2010
  • Elder of Ziyon
From the Rwanda News Agency:

It had been the longest journey.

Through desert sands, visa lines, bus rides and the pressing patience of waiting, Natty Mitali arrived at the gates of Zion. The young guitarist had taken the bus from Cairo, dusty and hard-skinned, a journey that had begun further south, near the heart of Africa.

“Like the old Israelites,” says Mitali, who goes popularly by Natty Dread in Rwanda, where he is one of the country’s most famous Rastafari musicians. “Right up to the border.”

It was 1983, and the world was looking dangerous. Israel had just gone to war in Lebanon. The Americans were pushing the Soviets. Mitali was fleeing problems of his own. Tensions between Tutsi and the majority Hutu were surging in his tiny sundrenched home of Rwanda.

His family had grown up as refugees in Uganda, and as tremors of ethnic violence pulsed Rwanda, Mitali moved to nearby Kenya and soon applied for an Israeli visa.

“It was my destiny,” he says.

THINGS IN RWANDA took a turn for the worse.

When the president’s plane was shot down in 1994 it sparked a genocide that in three months wiped out nearly one million Tutsi – including 18 members of Mitali’s family.

From afar in Israel, Mitali grew up, toiling as a farmhand and playing guitar at the Soweto Club on Rehov Frischmann. When there wasn’t enough money, he did like many, and took to the land. Mitali says his time working on the kibbutzim throughout the country – from Na’an to Amirim, Ein Gedi to Achziv, and Shefayim, where he met his first wife – gave him a sense of self, a sense of worth.

Now he has come back, part of a surging Tutsi diaspora flooding home with money and purpose to rebuild a new Rwanda on top of the ruins. They are the followers of President Paul Kagame, who grew up, like Natty Mitali, in Uganda before leading a rebel group to end the genocide.

Deep in Rwanda’s south, between banana plantations and tea fields, Mitali is making his own contribution, the thing that helped him through the darkest times – his own self-styled kibbutz, the Amahoro Youth and Cultural Village.

DESPITE ALL OF Rwanda’s economic progress – its economy grew by 11% in 2008, and it is considered one of the least corrupt countries in Africa – much of its countryside remains poor, and very young.

On over 15 hectares along the southern tip of Lake Kivu in between Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo including two islands, Mitali is setting up a school for some of Rwanda’s most vulnerable – orphaned children, kids taking care of younger siblings with no one else to help, AIDS victims, and child survivors of the Rwandan genocide.

From carpentry to tourism, courses in ecology and music, Mitali is seeking to at once resuscitate life and help develop the country.

Over 70 students, in an admittedly Zionist – and Rastafari – fashion, will work, learn and live together, trying their best to live off the land.

“My time in Israel enlightened me,” Mitali says. “Kibbutzim, collective farms, that’s how the State of Israel was born. Seeing people homeless, with no relations, no orientation, helpless in our present world, I felt the kibbutz kind of solution was the answer to the suffering.” Amahoro means “peace” in local Kinyarwanda, and Mitali envisions a sanctuary – top-notch facilities from a medical clinic to agricultural farms, basketball courts to an eco-lodge. Students won’t just be taught in classrooms, they will receive vocational training.

The plans are coming along nicely – land has been donated by the government, a senior minister is helping advise the project, and architectural designs are being reviewed.

“We are looking forward to it,” says Fabien Sindayiheba, the mayor of Cyangugu district where the school will be. “It will create employability for its graduates, especially for the youth.”

True to the Rwandan spirit not to depend on handouts, Mitali argues, the school will be offering something to the outside. Students will spend time mastering nature conservation and eco-tourism, hallmarks of the national development strategy. A guest house and lodge will be run by the school on one of its islands in Lake Kivu.

“We are socialist on the inside and capitalist on the outside,” says Mitali. “The kibbutz will be a great weapon for fighting poverty.”


EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

follow me

search eoz

Loading...

Recent posts from other blogs

comments

Speaking

Follow by Email

Contact

elder -at- elderofziyon dot com

translate

E-Book

For $18 donation








Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts Ever

Hasbys!

Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون
This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 11 years and over 23,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

Donate!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

Tweets

Compliments

The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

Interesting Blogs

Categories

Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria American Jews Amnesty analysis anti-semitism apartheid arab refugees Arafat archaeology art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia book review breaking the silence Cardozo Chanukah Christians conspiracy theories Cyprus Daphne Anson Davis report DCI-P double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada EoZNews eoztv Erekat EU Euro-Mid Observer Fake Civilians 2014 Fatah featured fisking flotilla free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian gunness hamas Hamas war crimes hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor Hypocrisy ICRC Ilan Pappe impossible peace incitement international law intransigence iran Iraq Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Juan Cole Judea-Samaria Kairos Karl Vick ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Lebanon leftists Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Miftah Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats music Muslim Brotherhood Nakba Natural gas Nazi NGO NIF norpac NYT Occupation offbeat oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peter Beinart poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist purimshpiel Qaradawi Qassam calendar Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shujaiyeh SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN unesco unhrc United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Yemen zahran zionist attack zoo Zvi

Blog Archive

subscribe via email