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As a development professional and human rights advocate with 21 years of field experience, I would like to challenge the thinking of Andrew Paquin expressed in "Politically Driven Injustice: Fixing global poverty requires more than Rick Warren's PEACE plan".

Certainly, the author's concern for global poverty is genuine and one that faithful Christians share. However, the church in Rwanda does not agree with his attitude. While he seems to be concerned with the suffering of African countries and Rwanda particularly, I find that his condescending attitude (with the insinuation that these countries are beyond redemption) is patronizing, to say the least.

He portrays the typical attitude of the West that Africans do not have the skills necessary to address their own problems. History proves the opposite. When the Western powers and the U.N. forsook Rwanda during the 1994 genocide that claimed at least one million human lives, Rwandans themselves halted the carnage. Rwandans have since embarked on the road to national healing, reconciliation, and reconstruction. To date, Rwanda is the most secure country in the Great Lakes/Horn of Africa region.

Only eight years after the holocaust, the 2002 report of the World Bank ranked Rwanda as one of Africa's leading lights for good governance. In addition, another World Bank report ("Doing Business in 2006") hailed Rwanda's economic progress.

...

It is not armchair development experts who will make a difference in the developing world. Development is liberation, and sustainable liberation comes from within. The people themselves are the experts for their development. Others can only facilitate.

The Rwandan church and the whole of Rwanda welcome the PEACE plan and Saddleback Church's Rick Warren. ...

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April 2006

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