Paul Kagame Blues

Lorne Clarke & Tom Flannery
Language: English

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© 2004 Tom Flannery and Lorne Clarke
a production
Clarke & Flannery love to hear your thoughts on the song cycle. Email them to

rwandaThis is not a history lesson. We're not historians. We're songwriters. And anyway... how the hell is anybody going to explain the systematic state sponsored slaughter of close to a million people with a handful of songs? We're not.

Truth is, there is no explanation for the Rwandan genocide. What there is in abundance, however, is ignorance. If these songs make just one person dig a little deeper, then we've made our money back, so to speak. We've touched upon specific pieces of the horror, but don't even pretend to be able to understand it from the Rwandan point of view. We're observers from afar. Interested, heartbroken observers....but merely observers nonetheless. Please keep that in mind.

All of these songs are solo acoustic performances...recorded live with a digital 8 track studio in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The full lyrics are available, as are the complete recordings in both mp3 and quicktime formats. Notes for each song are provided, giving some insight into the creative process....and explaining where explanations are necessary. The entire project is only available via the internet. There is no "official" CD of this music. This is strictly an "online" project.
This is partly due to economics, but also because once a CD is released, it can't be changed. We're likely to add new songs here at any time.

Individual essays are also posted, because some ideas that we have probably can't be conveyed using the song form alone. These too will probably grow in time. Also, a brand new play by playwright Tom Flannery called Rwandan Eyes is available exclusively here.

Everything here is free. Listen, distribute freely, discuss.

Do everything but steal.

Tom Flannery & Lorne Clarke.


kagame10 years after the Rwandan genocide that killed nearly a million people in only 100 days....I still can't make out my feelings about Paul Kagame (now the President of Rwanda). One of the most brilliant military minds of the 20th Century, his small rebel army effectively ended his country's genocide by defeating the much larger government army (which was being supplied with weapons by the French government) as the US (terrified of another Somalia-type debacle) stood and watched. Despite Kagame's brilliant tactical victory, many believe he could have done more if he placed as much importance on stopping the slaughter of innocents as he did on military victory in the field. A slippery slope if there ever was one, since you could argue that one was not possible without the other. One thing is certain, however. Without Kagame, the number of dead would have risen astronomically. And for me to pass judgment on Paul Kagame would be, in the light of my own elected government's response to the genocide, the worst form of hypocrisy. The song is about the gray area swirling around in my own head. That's all.

Members of Rwanda's Hutu majority killed their Tutsi neighbors (along with Hutu moderates) at a clip 5 times faster than the Germans killed the Jews of Europe. Their weapon of choice was the machete. Yet, most American's to this day have never even heard of Rwanda...nor the complicated man that this song is about. I urge you to learn more.
They say the love of one's country
is a terrible thing
when laced with a hatred
that the devil might bring
and so you're forced into fighting
killing others who try
to use the blood of others
like it's money to buy

Your name is Kagame
Rwanda is your home
a commander of troops in the field
so you must stand alone
do you cry when the lights go
and you're alone in your bed
or do you dream only to get inside
your enemy's head

I got the blues
I got the Paul Kagame blues

There were young girls in your country
Tutsi and Hutu..aged 12
they were lined up at gunpoint against the wall
and told to separate themselves
yet they refused to move
said "we're Rwandan's that's all we'll say"
and so all were slaughtered
under the broad light of day

I got the blues
I got the Paul Kagame blues

I come from the west
and I've learned what I can
about the rape of your country
from many different hands
and I've come to know others
but to know you from within
you would have to allow me
to slip in your skin

I got the blues
I got the Paul Kagame blues

Contributed by CCG/AWS Staff - 2007/9/17 - 21:16

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