Posts Tagged ‘rwanda’

If you can read French—-check this out

May 8, 2008

George Kagame
Kigali

A Rwandan-Canadian researcher, Dr. Jean-Paul Kimonyo, is expected to launch a book on the Rwanda Genocide next week.

The book titled “Rwanda, un Genocide Populaire” (“Rwanda; The Popular Genocide”), was released last week, is written in French was has its was written by and was published by a French publishing house Karthala.

“I carried out personal enquiries while the genocide was happening and I became concerned at the swiftness with which the entire population of a country was wiped; this motivated me to write the book,” Kimonyo said Tuesday during an interview.

He said the main purpose of the book was to give an insight as to why so many people participated in the Genocide yet there was no infrastructural mechanism to concentrate the victims before they were killed as had been the case of Nazi Germany.

“Rwanda is a small country; it was possible that when the Tutsi were targeted for murder, they could have escaped to neighbouring states. The entire population was mobilized to prevent victims from escaping,” he said.

Kimonyo who currently manages a private consultancy firm, was a member of the seven-man commission of inquiry that was charged with adducing evidence on the role France might have played in the Genocide which left over one million Rwandans dead.

Speaking about the recent arrest warrants against Rwandan military officers, he said that his book does not directly respond to the warrants but said that it answers the motivation behind the warrants.

“The Genocide was caused by extreme factors that combined together at a certain time and place but the ideology began as far back as 1959,” he said.

A PhD holder in political science from the University of Québéc in Canada, Kimonyo has written other books including a collection called Revue Critique des interpretations du conflit Rwandais, 2000.

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Rwanda Genocide Ideology Report Release

May 1, 2008

James Buyinza
Kigali

A Parliamentary Committee will today release a report on their recent anti-genocide ideology campaign in primary and secondary schools, the Vice Speaker of the Lower Chamber of Parliament, Denis Polisi has said.

“The report will be thoroughly scrutinized by lawmakers and then we shall make recommendations,” Polisi revealed on Monday. He said that the recommendations would include devising stringent measures to end the genocide ideology in schools.

“We want to save the young generation from the bad ideology of genocide; that’s why we must double efforts to see that young people are not spoiled,” explained the lawmaker.

“All Deputies were out of office until March to campaign against the genocide ideology in schools and see what can be done to save the young generation,” Polisi added.

“After a thorough discussion of the report, the recommendations will be forwarded to the cabinet.

He explained that the campaign covered all schools across the country with lawmakers personally meeting students and teachers.

The campaign was launched early this year when both primary and secondary schools had began the academic year.

The launch of the campaign was part of the resolutions made by legislators during an extraordinary session that was held in camera last year.

In late 2007, a parliamentary probe committee report revealed damning revelations of cases of genocide ideology in many secondary schools. It came up with a list of eleven schools that were leading in cases of genocide ideology countrywide.

The shocking details prompted legislators to summon the two former Education ministers Jean d’Arc Mujawamariya and Joseph Murekeraho to explain why the ministry had failed to contain genocide ideology in schools.

Mujawamariya and Murekeraho narrowly survived a vote of no confidence by the Lower House, thanks to last month’s cabinet reshuffle, which saw the former transferred to the Ministry of Gender and the latter appointed to head a new teachers’ fund.

Their successors have vowed to eliminate genocide ideology from schools.

East Africa- Not the best neighborhood

April 16, 2008

“African countries, particularly those in East Africa, in which Rwanda is a part, should take up the challenenge and take up the cases,” said Wallace Kapaya, a senior ICTR Trial Attorney, when presenting a paper at the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide at the University of Dar es Salaam over the weekend. The Tanzanian lawyer was representing the ICTR Prosecutor, Mr Hassan Jallow, at the occasion, which was attended by legal experts, politicians, academicians and members of the diplomatic corp.

He said that the Rwandan genocide was not solely a Rwandan issue. “It is an East African, and infact an African issue, requiring African solutions,” he stressed.

In fighting the culture of impunity, he stated, much depended on the level of state co-operation, however, adding that those states which fail in their responsibilities need to be encouraged and ultimately coerced into compliance.

Well the problem between Hutu and Tutsi extends further than just Rwanda, I feel that these statements make genocide seem like an “African problem”. Also by couching the issue in geographic localities it stops people from understanding the universality of the issue.

On a separate issue, Rwanda will not finish the trials without the assistance of other countries. Yet, the political and social climates in other nations may not be conducive to effective and fair trials.  The DRC for example is not a fair and just nation nor do they look kindly on the Rwandan government. How then would they be effective in carrying out trials?

As far as I can recollect, I don’t remember any other genocide trials occurring in nations outside of where the crimes occurred. Is there precedent for this sort of argument? I’d love to know what you think and if you think this is possible way to stop the problem or a idealistic solution with no real potential!

Turkey asking Knesset to Stop Discussion

April 11, 2008

The Turkish parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman, Hasan Murat Mercan, has asked Isreali to stop discussion of the Armenian genocide. This move should surprise no one. The Turks have been avidly asking people to stop this discussion for years. This request even came with a slightly veiled threat: “We would prefer if this discussion would not take place at this time in the Israeli parliament because it may harm the relations between the two countries.” Read the rest of this entry »

How can Isreal’s “call to genocide” help Rwanda?

April 11, 2008

The Egyptian newspaper, Al-Ahram, recently led with an article titled “Genocide Announced“. The title came following this statement by the Haredi religious leader Rabbi Yisrael Rosen: “All of the Palestinians must be killed; men, women, infants, and even their beasts.” Based off of his interpretation of the Torah and in particular the parable of the Amalekites by the Jew, he quotes the following passage: “Annihilate the Amalekites from the beginning to the end. Kill them and wrest them from their possessions. Show them no mercy. Kill continuously, one after the other. Leave no child, plant, or tree. Kill their beasts, from camels to donkeys.” My first reaction to this was not one that questioned  the statement– instead I felt sympathetic.  Given that I am not usually sympathetic to genocide ideology,  I’m decided to dedicate  this post  to my gut reaction……. Read the rest of this entry »

Rwanda Commorates 14 years— but is it all propoganda?

April 9, 2008

“Let us commemorate genocide while fighting against genocide ideology; render assistance to survivors while working for development” is the official slogan for the 14th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. The motto itself strikes me as awkward. It is a highly politicized message. The current administration in Rwanda is particularly concerned with genocide ideology and what they consider to be the spread of the ideology.

In reality, they are concerned about opposition to the government. The government has done as much as it possibly can to remain in power by silencing dissidents, whether by restricting free press or imprisoning without evidence.

One of the key ways for them to stay in power is to continually position themselves as the victim. This week is a perfect way to maintain their position as a victim and to highlight their victim status in the eyes of the world. By continually bringing up their victim status as seen through the genocide, the government continues to be positioned on a platform above scruitny. Its okay for them to do x, we think, because so many of their people were murdered.

In reality, it is not okay for them to do anything that any other government should not be able to do. They cannot imprision without evidence or terrorize people for what they are thinking. Their government is just as accountable as any other irregardless of what has happened.

Yet, I really do like the second line of the motto which mentions “survivors”. Survivors is a unifying term for both the victim and the aggressor. Everyone survived the genocide and together they will work for development. I simply hope that the onus is on the survivors and not on the position of themselves as victims. What are your thoughts on the genocide and the message of the government? Have I gotten it all wrong?

Weekly Genocide Roundup

March 30, 2008

As I sip morning coffee and enjoy the coming spring, I thought I’d share some up and coming articles that may be of interest!

Cal Hearing about Cambodian Genocide

The Cultural Genocide of Balochistan

Rwanda Mayor Fired for Spreading Genocide Ideology

Hillary Clinton and Genocide

Stolen Generations

Thought Police in Rwanda??

March 25, 2008

Lawmakers in Rwanda passed a law to stop the spread of genocide ideology. As noted in the Kigali Times : The Bill is introduced months after damning revelations… showed cases in which school children demonstrated predisposition to the genocide ideology. The Senate had also found rampant genocide ideology in families, schools and some individuals which sparked the House to react immediately to stop the vice.

According to the law, punishment will be life imprisonment with no ability to commute the sentence. Lawmakers argued that the State needs to back this law fully in order to change the latent genocide ideology kept in the minds of the people. Read the rest of this entry »

Clinton on Genocide AND Economics

March 21, 2008

I just ran across this and found it fitting with my previous entries:

Rwanda

On Rwanda, the Obama campaign is eager to diminish Hillary’s advocacy. Hillary visited Rwanda in 1998 and made forceful public statements about the administration’s failings. This is how she described the trip and the administration’s followup in her book, Living History:

Expressing great regret for genocide in Rwanda and our legacy of slavery sent a message of concern and respect to Africans who confront the intertwined challenges of poverty, disease, repression, starvation, illiteracy and war. But Africa needs more than words; it needs investment and trade if its economics are ever going to develop. That requires both significant changes in most governments and a partnership with the United States. That’s why the African Growth and Opportunity At, which Bill proposed and Congress passed, is so critical. It creates incentives for American companies to do business in Africa.” [Living History, pg. 457]

The Obama campaign spends considerable time trying to “prove” that a private conversation between Hillary and President Clinton never happened.

Clinton argues for growth economics in Africa and the need for us to do to promote economic growth. Yet, I would argue she is promoting American growth and investment- for American benefits over African. Africa is a prime place to continue our investments as there are large natural resource deposits,  growing economies and cheap labor. China has discovered and exploited this; they continue to invest and are also active in peacekeeping and development as this helps to create the stability needed to make investments profitable. If Clinton is going to advocate this position she needs to be thinking about all aspects of business: stability, crime, ethics, profitability.

Genocide Economics and Ethics

March 21, 2008

Yesterday’s post made me think a little bit harder about the notion of ethics, genocide and economics. In the past, I have done significant writing on the topic of economics in post genocide Rwanda.  I wrote the following a year ago and was reminded of it yesterday:

“The current Rwandan government is using criminal cartels to help mine and supply coltan around the world. This increases the funding to and role of criminal elements in Rwanda/DRC but also their ability to influence actions globally. The US and the international community should be concerned about an increasing number of criminal players in an unstable region of the world but also about their global reach. A critique of a UN report on the subject notes that Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni ”are on the verge of becoming the godfathers of the illegal exploitation of natural resources and the continuation of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” it said. The presidents have knowledge of the exploitation and have failed to stop it, the report said. ”They have indirectly given criminal cartels a unique opportunity to organize and operate in this fragile and sensitive region.”

By allowing criminal cartels to develop and operate, the international community is in effect condoning the actions of the cartels and the continuation of violence. However, allowing these groups to work in these conditions will eventually result in harm to governments who attempt to protect their citizens from drugs, crimes, etc.

Of greater concern to the global community, given the current predisposition to fight terrorism, should be the possibility that these governments or the criminal cartels they support could become financiers of or safe havens for terrorists and terrorist activities. Allowing any region in the world to run fallow increases the potential operating zones for terrorists and terrorism. Think Afghanistan, Somalia, etc.

This area makes a perfect safe haven especially given the ability of the government to manipulate the media, to control the voices of its citizens and to engage in any type of operation it feels may enhance the “security” of its nation. Therefore, the international community is running a huge risk to its safety by allowing this region to continue to operate in such a manner. As Robert Kaplan notes “it will provide new opportunities and havens for global terrorist groups, which thrive in weakly governed realms.”[2]”


[1] Edith Lederer, “UN Report on Congo Exploitation Calls for Embargo Against Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda”, Global Policy Forum, 2001. http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/congo/2001/0416panl.htm, 2007.

[2] Robert Kaplan, “The World in 2005”, The Atlantic Monthly, March 2002, http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200203/kaplan, 2007.

So where do our ethics lay now? Do we ignore growing criminal cartels who are profiting from post-genocide instability? I argued yesterday that perhaps we should let businesses do what they want in these zones because it is the way of the free market. It is also natural in the market for criminal enterprise to prosper in zones where others are afraid to work. The question though is a matter of ethics not economics. Economics states that these business ventures be allowed to continue. Its the nature of the market, right? That position is clear.

Okay, but how should we react as responsible ethical people? Should we intervene? Do we have the right to? I’m going to continue to ruminate on these questions over the next few post, I’d love to know what you think.