Monday, April 27, 2009

Why am I not surprised...

This was bound to happen eventually.
BBC NEWS | Africa | Rwanda bans BBC local broadcasts:

"Rwanda has suspended BBC broadcasts in the local language Kinyarwanda because of what it says is bias in BBC reports concerning the 1994 genocide."
I always find it very interesting to see how quickly the Rwandan regime retreats to a defensive posture whenever the issue of further openness about everybody's role in the terrible - and very real - 1994 genocide comes up...

I have never been a fan of historical fundamentalism. For instance, I believe the Holocaust did occur, because every evidence that has been offered to me tells me it did. And until proven otherwise, I will try to debate down anybody that says otherwise. But that, there, is the key, see. I will debate them, allowing them to offer up whatever evidence they claim to have. I will not validate their paranoia, and/or their conspiracy theories by trying to silence them. I believe that when something is factually true - like I believe the Holocaust is - the facts should be my tools, not dismissal. It is not always easy, of course, but that is the true genius of freedom of speech.

This, in my view, applies equally to the genocide in Rwanda. I was there. People died. Hundreds of thousands people in fact. And the facts accumulated so far seem to show that these people were quite disproportionately from the Tutsi ethnic group, and were - at least partly - the result of the coordinated actions of people in power in Rwanda at the time, who were overwhelmingly from the Hutu ethnic group; actions targeted primarily (and quite explicitly) towards Tustis. Thus, the intent of genocide behind the killings seems quite clear to me. So, just like for the Holocaust, I will debate anybody, any "negationist" that thinks the Rwandan genocide did not occur, or was not a genocide, etc, etc.

That is, unless someone can prove me wrong. Because although the genocide is a fact, it is not the whole story. There are holes of astronomical proportions in the narrative of the causes, masterminds, genesis and aftermath of the genocide, that need to be addressed if we want to ever have peace in the Great Lakes region. That is a fact, and I challenge anyone to prove me otherwise. Just as an example, I, for one would like all the light to be shed on the assassination of the late Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, and late Burundi president Cyprien Ntaryamira. I, for two, would like the broadcasting content of Radio Muhabura (the radio of the Rwandan Patriotic Front) to be as scrutinized as the broadcasts of Radio Mille Collines was (and rightly so). I, for three, would like to see more scrutiny of the actions of the RPF towards Hutus, in the north of Rwanda between 1990 and 1993, and in my native Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1996.

This is not to deny the genocide. I was in Rwanda in April 1994. My family and I lost close friends in the genocide. Two friends of mine ran away from their home after seeing their Hutu father kill their Tutsi mother by decapitation with a machete. So the genocide happened. There is no doubt in my mind about that. There is however a doubt in my mind about the liberator status of Paul Kagame and the RPF. I have doubts about the cleanliness of the RPF's hands in the whole matter. After all, the RPF was the biggest... "winner" of the genocide. And I cannot help but noticing that as long as the path to power was murky, the Tutsi-leader Kagame hid behind Hutu figureheads (Alexis Kanyarengwe, Pasteur Bizimungu), while pulling the strings in the background... And I cannot help but to notice that Kagame - admittedly and unsuccesfully - tried to pull a similar trick with Laurent Desire Kabila in the Congo...

Something simply seems fishy. But that, once again, is just my perspective. I am a great fan of freedom of expression, so I welcome anybody who can talk me down on this. That, President Kagame, is what freedom of expression is. That is how we eventually manage to find the truth, the WHOLE truth. So, if you have nothing to hide, I do not see what benefit you could possibly garner from hindering the free flow of information. Debate these negationists. Prove them that you have the higher moral ground, and prove them wrong, publicly and openly.

The Holocaust of the Jews (and the concurrent massacre of gypsies, communists, homosexuals, etc) by the NSDAP was - and still is - one of the dirtiest stains on humanity's consciousness, but it does not even begin to justify - in my view - the dispossession, mistreatment, massacres and pogroms of the Palestinians. Saying so is not, nor should it be considered, antisemitic. Similarly, scrutinizing, questioning and criticizing the actions of the RPF, or Paul Kagame, and the current Rwandan leadership, is not, and should never be considered anti-Tutsi, nor anti-Rwandan. The fact that the Kagame regime has been trying to conflate all the above, in order to maintain the sympathy of the world, and maintain zones of secrecy and opacity about its own actions, appalling, and quite telling... As I said in the title, I am not surprised. I mean, what else can one expect from a military leader that has used the plight of the Tutsi people to justify maintaining an unshakable grip on power in Rwanda for 15 years, and wrecking havoc in the entire Great Lakes region?

I wonder...


ColoredOpinions said...

It must be a calculated move. Kagame's strenght is his pr-strategy which is based on people like Tony Blair, Rick Warren, Dambisa Moyo and the plan he proposed for the future of Rwanda.

As of now, we don't exactedly know what was said on the BBC program that made the authorities in Kigali decide to shut it down.
I hope the BBC will inform it's worldwide audience about the exact content and start a public debate on this issue.

TheMalau said...

Kagame is no doubt an adept at PR. He should quit asPrez, and open a PR company, he would become a billionaire in no time.

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t-ball trophy said...

No surprised at all some people will do whatever it takes to cover up someone's mistakes.

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