Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Rwanda Genocide 1994, remembering,(Part II)

A few relevant links

Compiled by Brian, on Black Star Journal:

RWANDA: HATE MEDIA From: Reuters via
RWANDA: TEN YEARS LATER Ten years ago today, ...

And a few other links (some in French/Certains en Francais):

The US and the Rwandan Genocide
Father Ryan: 1994 Rwandan Genocide
Frontline:The Triumph of Evil (slightly biased, but mostly factually accurate)
Reliefweb: Rwanda - The Preventable Genocide (a bit oudated, but once again, most of the facts are accurate. Overly - and unduly - biased in favor of Paul Kagame's regime).
Reliefweb: Rwanda - Le Génocide qu’on aurait pu stopper (meme que le precedent, version francaise. Un peu trop pro-Kagame).
BBC: Rwandan genocide: 10 years on
The Rwandan genocide explained to youngsters

And a few links on what I can only describe as the resulting Congo "silent" anihilation.
Genocide in Congo
Telegraph: On brink of genocide


Louis said...

It's sad, reading the articles with titles like "preventable genocide." Let's prevent the next one, shall we? Or stop the ongoing ones?

It makes me angry when people blame Rwanda on Kofi, when it was such a total failure by the entire gloabal community, not to mention the most perverse disfunction of Rwandan society.

But these days, who else is there fighting genocide in Congo but the U.N.?

Carine said...

Thanks for the links Ali!

Louis, I share your fustrations. It's always the same thing. Whenever something happens the UN is blamed. But the UN has limited resources & power. States with deep pockets should do something about that instead of being the first in line to complain ...

WhyNot said...

You are both exactly right. I find it amazing how some ppl keep blaming the UN for everything that is done, or not done, or wrongly done, as if the US was some self entity. The UN is only what the members of it make it, and if it fails in anyway, then it means some or all of us have failed.

Anyway, sorry for the off-topic rant, LOL. Great blog. I discovered it from a comment you made on ours. I'll be looking at it closer. Dianne and I agree that we should link you, which I'm going to do right away.

WhyNot said...

Oops, spello in my previous comment: I meant "as if the UN was some self entity" (and not "US")

Frenchie said...

The links will no doubt help me get a better understanding of how and why Rwanda happened at all. I do know the country I live in, France, played it's own part in this attrocity. The member states of the Security Council are accountable and not the UN as a whole.

Ingrid said...

Great post Ali, thanks. I have just left this comment over at Carine's:

Hello Carine, Does anybody know why/how the genocide ended/ stopped in Rwanda - what brough it to a halt? Sorry, I cannot read up on the Rwandan genocide right now - I am finding it difficult enough stomaching and tracking what is going on in the Congo and Sudan right now. I'd be interested to know though, if someone can summarise, how it ended. I shall go over to Ali's now and post the same comment to see if he can answer it.

Black River Eagle said...

Thanks for the links to some new info on the Rwandan Genocide of 1994 that I didn't have already. Some of your own comments (Ali) in this posting are somewhat biased as well, don't you think?

Ingrid, the killing stopped or slowed considerably because the killers got tired and people can handle only so much evil behavior at any one given time. Of course Paul Kagame's forces routed some of the Hutu militias toward the end of the 100 day killing spree and pushed them into the eastern D.R.C. jungles. The rest of the Hutu killers just faded into the background in various refugee camps and in the cities and rural areas of neighboring countries until they could safely return home to Rwanda.

Voila, you have the start of the Zaire/Congo War(s) with even more atrocities against civilians with lot's of new players going for gold and diamonds and coltan and timber and... Been going on for about 10 years or more now, non?.

MONUC is not trying to stop genocide in the D.R.C., genocide has already occured and continues to occur there everyday. The U.N.'s MONUC has been in the D.R.C. for what now, six years? They (the U.N. & MONUC) have only recently approached the "G-word" in their reports to the public about their D.R.C. mission.

By the way, which of the following nations is the single largest financial contributor to the MONUC and to development aid for the D.R.C.? France? Belgium? China? Russia? Ukraine? Bulgaria? Italy? Uganda? Zimbabwe? Kyrgyzstan? Lebanon? U.A.E.? Belarus?

You know, the various players (countries) operating openly in the exploitation of resources from the D.R.C. today? Which one?

The United Nations failed the people of Rwanda miserably back in 1994. Kofi Anan was the U.N. Chief of Security (or whatever) under U.N. Secretary General Boutrous-Boutrous Ghali, so Anan was at least partially responsible and that scumb--- B-B Ghali was just bathing in Rwandan blood. Today we of course can better understand the difficulties that Egyptians et. al. Arab-African nation(al)s have in intervening in the internal affairs of countries who conduct genocide and other atrocities against black Africans, oder?

If I remember correctly the French (government) delivered arms and brand new machetes to the Hutu-run government of Rwanda shortly before the party began in 1994. The "international community" was as much a non-entity and non-starter as it is today in Darfur or southern Sudan and other crisis regions throughout Africa.

There is plenty of information available on the U.S. government's role and failures re: Rwanda available in English, but is there equivalent factual information and studies from the governments of France, Belgium, and the rest of the E.U. about their roles in the Rwandan Genocide that is available in the English language? If so, please advise and I'll jump right on it.

Lastly, I'd be more careful how I throw that term "the U.S.'s role" around in your writings and comments. There are almost 300 million of U.S. and we all didn't work for Clinton's Administration in 1994 nor do we all work for the Bush Administration today.

Merci et au revoir und auf wiedersehen bis spaeter...:-)

sugis said...

I'd like to caution people when looking over the links posted at Brian's blog. As a general rule, the mainstream press is not a good historical or even factual source for African conflicts, even conflicts whose events are disputed. I wouldn't rely too much on finding out why the genocide happened from CNN, because CNN has no historical grasp of the information. Nor would I get it from the BBC.
That said, people are still framing the genocide as this thing that happened out of the blue, that because the Hutus hate the Tutsis so much they wanted to eviscerate them that April after months of meticulous planning. That is a lie. The government in power in Rwanda during the 30-odd years was not a genocidal government. It had no plans to kill Tutsis, its aim was in uniting the factions, but of course, you won't read that on CNN.
The genocide cannot be framed in terms of the holocaust because that is what white people can relate to. It has nothing to do with it, nor will it ever. It's time more people stopped repeating what the papers say and really inform themselves. There are a number of books out there (mostly in French) that address the specific cause of the strife between Rwandans. It's time blogs started to document the truth instead of rehashing 'Never again' articles.

Ingrid said...

Good point Louis: "Let's prevent the next genocide, and stop the ongoing ones." How? Perhaps the only way is to raise awareness of genocide which in turn highlights the importance of the work of the UN, its Security Council and the international aid agencies. The UN is all the world has. People (especially the US government who fail to pay their dues on time) need to realise this. Those who dismiss the UN don't suggest an alternative. The UN was formed sixty years ago because of the Holocaust. Nowadays, with the Cold War over, the political landscape has changed and the UN and its Security Council needs to be reformed and modernised, which it is working towards. An important meeting is set to take place in September. People need to be informed and help shape and support the reforms.

There are something like 200 countries in the world. The UN comprises 191 member states. I have yet to read much about Africans taking responsibility for atrocities going in countries such as the Congo, Sudan and Uganda, to name a few. What angers me about the Sudanese (I mention Sudan only because I have followed the past 12 months of news closely on the genocide unfolding) is that even with the advent of the Internet one is hard pressed to find the voices of ordinary folk in places like Khartoum - or the voices of many Africans, Arabs or muslims protesting about the atrocities and the need for food and aid. Of the pieces I do see, they are mostly resentful towards the West. Some go as far as to blame the British for African actions during the year 2004-2005. [Why not blame the Vikings!]

I am interested to know why/how the killing stopped in Rwanda - what the killers wanted - was there ever a political solution - did the media spotlight have an effect. I can't be sure how the genocide in Bosnia ended 10 years ago. If I wasn't so involved in following news on the Congo and Sudan, I would look into it. But there is only so much I can do at one time.

Thanks for the reply here Black River Eagle - when are Khartoum and Sudan's rebels going to get tired? 4 million have perished in the Congo - the world's most neglected humanitarian crisis - when are the killers there going to get tired -- what do they want? Don't you think religion should be separate from government? Was religion a factor in the Rwandan genocide? Bosnia, Sudan etc., all seem to have one thing in common: dictatorships. The Holocaust would not have occurred without Hitler's Nazi Party.

Going by your comment it would seem Paul Kagame's forces may have been responsible for ending the mass killings - but if it pushed the killers into the Congo jungles -- has the genocide just moved to another location? And what is the solution - what do the killers want? Sorry too many loaded questions here. What I am driving at is a clue to solutions - are there peaceful ways to stop genocide, and if so how - is democracy the answer? It seems to me the UN has a great role to play in policing the world/sending peacekeepers and aid to defuse situations before they explode. And companies exploiting natural resources must play a much larger role in helping local communities/funding peacekeepers/humanitarian aid.

By the way, the African Union has its own security council. It does not need to go through the UN Security Council to expand the mandate of AU troops. At the moment in Darfur, AU troops still do not have a full mandate to protect. One year ago, the AU started up the Pan African Parliament but it has no powers. In November PAP sent a fact finding mission to Darfur and produced a report. As a result of that report, on Tuesday it urged the AU to expand the mandate of AU troops in Darfur.

Surely it's time the 53-member bloc African Union started getting a real grip. The Arab League too. I am fed up of the international community getting the blame for "failing" to sort out the actions of Africans in Africa. In my view, African leaders (and I have noticed this trait in all dictators) have an ungrateful (and at times insulting and rude) attitude towards the kindness and generosity of ordinary folk in the West. If the situation was reversed, would Africans bother to help Europeans and Americans? I doubt it somehow. Africans need to start demanding higher standards from their leaders. Africa has plenty of wealth and natural resources. African leaders are failing their people, not the U.N.
- - -

I have left a comment [see copy here below] at Carine's blog about why any news and publicity about genocide is important. The motto "Never Again" is an important catchphrase that should be repeated at any opportunity as a reminder to people, young and old alike, of how the phrase came about. The comment I left at Carine's was in response to Sugis who commented on the movie Hotel Rwanda saying: "I don’t think the movie spurs anyone to delve further into the conflict. The way the movie is set, the action begins and ends with the genocide; it is almost framed like there is no history there. It’s presented as if one day the Hutus woke up and decided to kill all Tutsis. Most Americans, and most people, won’t care enough to go looking for more. That’s why I denounce movies like Hotel Rwanda. They don’t do add any understanding to the conflict. In fact, I think they cause more harm than good."

Copy of my comment:

It seems to me, the more publicity there is about genocide, even if it is by news wires such as CNN lacking in-depth reports - any publicity is better than silence. The more people become aware that genocide takes place, the better. Especially these days when aid agencies rely on public funding. I know of a 14 year old English schoolboy who when I mentioned the Holocaust did not know the meaning of the word. He takes history at school and says he learns about WWII but has no idea that 6m Jews were exterminated. He said he had not even heard the word Holocaust. He watches many new films when they are released. I asked him if he would be intersted in seeing a film about it, he said yes. I will buy him a dvd on the history of the holocaust - and was even thinking of buying him Hotel Rwanda so he can see pictures of what genocide looks like. I didn’t mention Bosnia to him but I will, after he’s seen the films. By then it might mean something to him that genocide occurred ten years ago just a few hours away from England. I doubt if he’s even heard of Rwanda or knows where it is. He, and many like them, won’t be into facts, figures and who did what and why - it’s a feat just getting them aware of the most basic of facts.

One can argue that Hollywood cowboy and indian films are not an accurate account of life in the wild west of America - native American Indians could complain and urge audiences to read history books. How many Africans and others know how the aborignes in Australia were treated or why the KKK still operates in America today. One can also argue that WWII movies have no bearing on the reality of wartime life and politics in different countries of Europe or the viewpoints of the Germans, Jews, Austrians, Nazis etc. You can watch a British movie set during WWII and never know that Austrians were dying of malnutrition and being raped by Mongolian occupiers. See a historical account of how and why the Nazis came about and ended and you would have to see a 12-hour documentary that would still not cover everyone’s point of view.

The fact that script writers and film makers with great skills, funding and courage [Hollywood said nobody would be interested in such a story] actually took a chance on basing a story on such a dark subject [mention the word genocide and people switch off] that reached millions of people worldwide has to be applauded. The movie could serve as a great educational tool within schools for teachers to use as a basis for debate and further learning. Surely the victims of genociode would rather Hotel Rwanda be shown to millions rather than be brushed under the carpet and forgotten. We owe it to the victims and the dispossessed to make sure they are not forgotten. Moving pictures are a powerful medium. Sorry to disagree with you when you say Hotel Rwanda won’t spur anyone to delve further into the conflict. Carine’s blog and others open up comments and debate, which without the movie would probably not be taking place. There is bound to be more people learning about genocide for the first time and/or delving into the conflict than there would be if the movie Hotel Rwanda had never been shown. The more that people know of the genocides of today, and the ones yet to come, the more aware they will be of the importance of the work of the 191-member state U.N. and the international aid agencies whose staff risk their lives to help millions of men, women, children and babies who are suffering the most dismal lives on this planet because of genocide and rape being used as a weapon of war.

Carine said...

Hi everyone,
Just want to say that Sugis made quite interesting comments on his blog. here:

I think there's a lot to be learnt in this debate.

Ingrid, I agree with BRE's account of the end of the war. However I still very confused on this I still have to finish some reading on the subject, I'll get back to you.

Louis said...

I disagree with BRE's downplaying of the role of Kagame's forces in ending the war. The Interhamwe did not just get 'tired'-- say what you will about Kagame and what happened afterwards, but he deserves credit for being an excellent military strategist whose well-trained troops routed the Interhamwe and stopped the killing (although I say "the killing" to refer to the April genocide, not the more sporadic killing that continued long after). Along with France, don't forget the role well-intentioned NGO's played in allowing the Interhamwe to regroup and resupply in the deadly circus that was the Goma refugee crisis circa 1994.

What does anyone hear about the FDLR disarmament deal? Is it real?

TheMalau said...

Friends, I am quite grateful of your interest on this post. I have been away from the net for a few days. But I am back!!!!

Now, there are way too many things to answer them all right now. However, I am going to try to answer the most pressing for me.

First of all, I have to agree with Surgis somewhat, that there has been a bit of overdramatization with Hotel Rwanda... but that is in part what I liked about it; it had the ability to reach the minds of the very "short-attention-spanned" public here. That said, Surgis, refusing to admit that there was at least some organization in genocide on the part of some extremist Hutus, seems just wrong/inaccurate.

But I must agree that the Hutus in general are getting a much worse wrap in general, than they - as a group - actually deserve. I have made a point in this blog, to point out at all times the negative roles of other leaders in the process, like Kagame and Museveni. I do think that the reporting on the issue is biased in favor of the victor. I can expand later.

In the mean time, I agree with Ingrid, that any news that will put the genocide in the public eye is a good thing. I am not trying to offend anyone by saying that, but we have to start somewhere. I still wake up with nightmares, and I only lived 1/1000 of what the actual victims went through... we have to start somewhere, and Hotel Rwanda is a good begining.

Now, my friend BRE, I believe that I have always said that I have issues with Kagame. And I do acknowledge a slight bias against his regime. And I believe - or at least I hope - I made clear in earlier posts, that I never mean the US people, when I say "US", but the US government - unless specifically stated otherwise. As for the French, since you seem to have a bent against them, you should check French Watcher (see my links).

Black River Eagle said...

Welcome back Malau. You should never leave your Salon guests alone when there is such a hot issue like Rwanda on the table.

I don't have anything against the French! I wonder where people get that idea?? I try to treat the French (people) the same as they treat my people (add 2 parts venom and 1 part sugar, then stir).

It is time that all governments and other "players" in the conflicts around the African Great Lakes region come clean about their own sins and failures there and stop trying to pass the buck onto to someone else. People suffering in the darkness need light and plenty of it. You'd be surprised what you see run out of there when the light of truth hits it squarely on target.

At the end of the day it is important for all of us and our respective nations to work together with the people of Rwanda and the D.R.C. to bring about a much better future for everyone. This is especially important for the people we elect and appoint to government offices and positions on intenational bodies and organizations.

You cannot seperate "the people" from their democratically elected government as they all come from the same well, unless one lives in a country run by dictators or a military junta or an absolute monarchy or something. But that's another topic for another day.

Ginny said...

hello, All. I don't understand all of the vents which led up to the genocide in Rwanda. What I do understand is that it didn't just happen over night, and I think there were a lot of complex issues, it seems that the Belgian colonizers had a lot to do with pitting the Hutus and the Tutis against each other, and putting one group above the other. Maybe it's a lot more complex than this, but from what I've read this seems to be what happened. If the sites that are linked here are not reputable or if they don't tell an accurate story, which sites do? That are in English?

I find this discussion interesting, if not sad and unfortuante. I also think it's interesting how Cofi Anan is blamed, when the security itself voted unanimously to not give any kind of aid, even when reports started comingg out about the genocide.

But anyway, the whole situation is mind-boggling to me, all the killing and fighting over something I can't really seem to understand. I can't understand what would drive someone to hae another group of people so badly, that they'd slaughter them. How can you participate in a slaughter like that and just "melt back into the community", as if nothing ever happened?

This is an enlightening discussion to say the least, though.

Donate to The Salon

Help us continue to do this important work of promoting freedom of expression about the Congo.

Explore The Salon