Austin Catholic Reporter Ensnares Immaculee Ilibagiza in Bearing False Witness Against Arizona Innocents
Immaculee Ilibagiza is a Catholic cashing in on book tours and speaking engagements about her experience several years ago hiding in a small bathroom with seven other Tutsi women as Rwandan Hutus murdered one million people.
Here's how the newspaper's senior reporter Enedelia Obregon covered remarks she made at her May 1 appearance to a sold-out crowd of the Paramount Theater in downtown Austin:
Prior to her speech, Ilibagiza briefly addressed the immigration issue in this country in light of the newly adopted Arizona law. As she signed autographs, protestors marched down Congress Avenue near the theater where she spoke.I am in full support of Ilibagiza's comments. When people fail to see that all other people are God's creatures they lose touch with God's calling to us to be fully human and to love thy neighbor as thyself. That was the source of the Civil War fought in the United States in the 1860s, one group of people failing to see others as fully human. Good triumphed then.
"It's important to respect laws," she said. "What is hard is when people start to see others as less than human who don't have the same rights. Sometimes people don't see you as their brothers and sisters because you look different."
When people are seen as less than human, then people can justify treating them inhumanely, Ilibagiza said.
"That's what happened in my country," she said. "People called us cockroaches."
What we all need to do is recognize that we are all God's children, Ilibagiza said.
"Think of all those people as your child," she said. "Look at them and ask yourself how you can help them. We need to treat each other with love."
But there is no doubt that failure to see others as fully human was one of the many failings of the murderous Hutus in Rwanda. Hacking people to death with machetes is about as far from humanity as you can fall.
Closer to home, this blind eye to the humanity of victims is a central (and sinful) failing of the drug smugglers, human traffickers, kidnappers and murderers who are on villainous sprees against innocents in Mexico, Texas, California and Arizona. Need proof? Let's look at some headlines from Arizona, using one media outlet and one search term (drug smuggler):
- Deputy Shot by Suspected Drug Smugglers, April 30, 2010
- Smugglers Boldness an Eye-Opener for Sheriff: Drugs, Guns Smugglers Mark Desert Danger Zone, June 23, 2010
- Smugglers Threaten Police in Arizona Border City, June, 22, 2010
- Mexico's Drug War Heats Up Near Arizona Border, July 5, 2010
The lead sentence for the latter story should send chills down Ilibagiza -- it is very similar to the heathen lawlessness that occurred in Rwanda:
Altar, Mexico -- Very few residents dare to drive on one of the roads out of this watering hole for migrants, fearing they will be stopped at gunpoint. They worry they will be told to turn around after gas tanks are drained or, worse, be kidnapped or killed.I fully support Ilibagiza if she is chastising, with her "important to respect laws" remark, the villainous thugs in Mexico who are violating immigrants in Mexico as they refresh themselves at a watering hole before illegally crossing the border into Arizona. The thugs obviously have no respect or love for other people or laws, either Biblical law or American law or Mexican law.
I even more fully support her when she says "What is hard is when people start to see others as less than human who don't have the same rights." The innocent people who are raped, or smuggled into the United States in inhumane conditions, or left to die in the desert are not viewed by the smugglers as people with rights. The Americans who are kidnapped, raped, killed, and stolen from by the smugglers are not viewed as humans with rights. In both cases, the Mexican and American victims are obstacles to the smugglers' profits.
But in the context of the Catholic Spirit story, of the March that was occuring on Congress, to protest the Arizona law, it appears as though Ilibagiza is not referring to the villainous thugs.
Instead, it appears she is speaking against the innocent people of Arizona wanting relief through the legal system from heinous smugglers and drug terrorists, by enforcing border laws.
In doing so she impugns the innocents' development of effective laws as being inhumane to immigrants.
She should be informed that those are the laws that law abiding people of Arizona, through the democratic process, have enacted to deal with the horrific consequences of villainous thugs who have crossed the border, illegally. The innocents have crafted a law that is as humane as possible given the smugglers' inhumanity to them and Mexican immigrants. The Arizona law seeks only to check a person's 'right' to be in the United States after they are suspected of another offense. That is far more consideration of a person's rights than the non-consideration given to victims by the evil people now rampaging in Mexico and Arizona and other border states.
In my view, Ilibagiza commits the sin of bearing false witness against innocents, the Arizonans. She mischaracterizes the Arizonans' intent for their laws and impugns their motives. I feel nothing but sadness for this woman because she is being ensnared to bear false witness by catering to those who are pushing a political agenda through her story.
Truly it is they who are committing wrong.
Indeed, it is disgraceful that the Catholic Spirit would allow her to commit this sin on the front page of their paper for their own political purposes of pushing the "immigrants rights" agenda.
It is also unconscionable that the Catholic Spirit newspaper would engage in this sort of exercise in propaganda, subjugating this poor woman to becoming a shill for their political objectives.
They likewise become users of people, hoisting Ilibagazia's story and experiences as rhetorical weapons to silence those who want nothing more than to protect their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without fear in their homes. The propagandists are using Ilibagiza to remove obstacles to their political objectives. They therefore also, as consequence, encourage the continuance of immoral behavior and the violence clearly demonstrated by the smugglers and traffickers.
We should pray for Immaculee Ilibagiza, so that her new found fame and wealth on the Catholic book circuit does not further force her into the occasion of sin by bearing false witness against innocent people, those using democratic processes to secure their own lives.
And we should pray for those who -- by involving her in American politics -- diminish and dilute her story of the power of prayer and God's deliverance in times of peril. That is the real disservice that journalists like Obregon perform.