The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Fay Magazine: Summer 2023

Bringing Their Father Home: Carine Kanimba ’09

Daintry Zaterka '88
Carine Kanimba ’09 reflects on the safe homecoming of her father, humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina, after more than two years of advocacy on his behalf.
When Paul Rusesabagina, whose story was the basis for the 2004 movie Hotel Rwanda, was released from a Rwandan prison on March 24, 2023, it ended a two-and-a-half-year ordeal for him and his family. Carine Kanimba ’09, her sister Anaise ’08, and brother Tresor ’08 have advocated tirelessly for his release. Carine spent the past two years living in Brussels lobbying and applying pressure on members of the European Parliament to act on Paul’s behalf.
Carine received a master’s degree in business, law, and economics from Aix-Marseille University in Provence and a master of law from Erasmus University in Rotterdam in 2017. In the wake of her father’s release, Carine is in the process of moving to London, where she intends to sit the bar exam and pursue a career in international criminal law. We caught up with Carine recently to see how her family is doing and what’s next for her.
How is your father doing now that he’s home?
He's doing well. He has some health concerns, but in terms of his spirit, he is lively, happy, and grateful.
What has he shared with you about his experience?
He's been telling us stories of what happened throughout the past two and a half years. What I thought was surprising is that he explained, that even though we’re out here shouting that the government of Rwanda is terrible, some of the guards who inflicted torture on him did so with tears in their eyes. It shows you what dictatorships are like. People are forced to commit heinous crimes, and they don't want to do it, but they have no choice sometimes. He explained that we have to learn to forgive those individuals and see the humanity behind them. Rwanda has to evolve to move forward as a nation, and it's important to remember that even within the country, there is a way to work with people who have done wrong to you.
You mention that there were aspects of this experience that broke your belief in govern- ments. How did you manage to stay positive?
The moral of the story here is there are plenty of people around the world who will stand up for
what they believe, and will challenge the status quo in ways that feel like a miracle. We had those angels everywhere, in the Senate and the Congress, where they passed an almost unanimous resolution on behalf of my father. Once you have those angels, you can move the entire world. And, not only politicians but also human rights organizations and journalists who decided to write about the case. Every time someone opened the news and read our father's name, that meant he stayed alive. He always told us that the only way to keep a political prisoner alive is to keep talking about them.
How has this experience inspired your career path?
It's my motivation for studying for the bar. I'd like to practice international criminal law, with human rights law being my focus. Oftentimes, when people are convicted or indicted, their human rights end up being violated. Through this, I've gotten to know the legal community and also see the advocacy work that goes on behind it. I want to pass on what I've learned, but also to help others who find themselves in our situation.

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