Home News French cultural centre in Rwandabans unflattering award-winning genocide play

French cultural centre in Rwandabans unflattering award-winning genocide play

Published on 08/04/2004

KIGALI, April 8 (AFP) - The French cultural centre in Kigali vetoed the staging of an award-winning play about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and France's role in the slaughter, diplomatic and other sources said Thursday, as relations between Paris and Kigali reached a new low.

“It is not the role of the French embassy to put on plays that question the role of a French head of state,” said one diplomat in the Rwandan capital, referring to Francois Mitterrand, who was the French president at the time of the genocide.

“They told us that in order to use the cultural centre we had to cut passages critical of France’s controversial role before and during the genocice,” the play’s Belgian producer, Philippe Taszman told AFP.

“It was made clear to us there was no question of showing the play as it is in what is called, wrongly in my opinion, the centre for Franco-Rwandan cultural exchange,” he said, deriding the decision as “unacceptable.”

Taszman and a Belgian diplomat in Kigali alleged that France had pressured the European Union not to finance the play, which has been shown in France, Belgium and Canada and has won several awards in Europe.

On Wednesday, at a ceremony in Kigali marking the 10th anniversary of genocide, in which up to a million people were killed over 100 days, President Paul Kagame let loose a fresh barrage of accusations against France, saying it trained and armed the government troops in the runup to the slaughter.

The tirade prompted the French junior foreign minister representing Paris at the event to fly home early.

“Rwanda 94” will nevertheless still be staged in Kigali, in a school, from April 11 to 14.

                                                                 Subject: French news