Judi, the story that most people know, the one that's in the Wikipedia and more or less told in the movie Hotel Rwanda, is that, in April, 1994, Rwandan Hutus were suddenly consumed by mass psychosis and ethnic bloodlust, and killed half a million to a million Rwandan Tutsis. And that they were egged on by La Radio des Milles Collines in Kigali. Then they were saved by General Paul Kagame, who appeared—in the movie—out of nowhere. And before going on, I think I should say that our friend Paul Rusesabagina, the real life hero of Hotel Rwanda, is now in prison in Rwanda because for one, he has a much more complex view of what actually happened than that portrayed in the movie. So tell us what really happened.
My first contribution to Black Agenda Report was “Madame President? No, Madame Prisoner,” a profile of Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza published in January 2014. Late Black Agenda Report Editor Bruce A. Dixon had asked me to write it after following my conversations with Victoire and other Rwandan dissidents for some years. Those conversations began in January 2010, when I looked into why no viable challengers to incumbent Rwandan President Paul Kagame were being allowed into that year’s presidential election.
Sylidio Dusabumuremyi, a member of the Rwandan opposition party United Democratic Forces of Rwanda (FDU), was murdered on September 23, the day before Rwandan President Paul Kagame addressed the UN General Assembly at its annual gathering. During the same week, 500 African migrants were shipped from Libya to Rwanda, thanks to an agreement between the European Union (EU), the African Union (AU), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). I spoke to Victoire Ingabire, who leads the FDU, about both developments.
Rwanda received roughly “$1.22 billion” in development aid in 2016-2017 , the most recent year for which Official Development Aid (ODA) numbers are available on the website of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The US was Rwanda’s top bilateral donor that year, giving $177.6 million, but Trump drastically reduced aid to the tiny East African nation.
Last week a jury in Boston Federal Court convicted Rwandan asylum seeker Jean Leonard Teganya of fraud and perjury for lying on his immigration papers about his involvement in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. In other words, yet another racist, chauvinist, Western court convicted yet another African of participating in mass violence that the US and its Western allies engineeredin order to expand their imperial influence in East and Central Africa at the expense of France. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. In July 1994, Teganya crossed from Rwanda into Congo with millions of other Rwandans, mostly Hutus, who were fleeing the advancing Tutsi army led by General Paul Kagame.
Last week New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez introduced a Senate Resolution commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. It “calls on the United States and the international community to cooperate in preventing and responding to genocide and crimes against humanity in nations across the globe.” Like the “Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act ” passed in December 2018, the Menendez resolution bolsters the “humanitarian interventionist” argument that US policymakers have deployed to justify bombing, special forces...
On Sunday I joined the three-day YouTube vigil for imperiled Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The next day I realized that I must have sounded obsessive because I’d kept returning to a single classified diplomatic cable from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, sent to the US State Department. This is one of the many thousands of diplomatic cables that Wikileaks released between February 18, 2010, and September 1, 2011. I know I didn’t fully explain it although I kept returning to it because I kept turning it over in the back of my mind. Apologies to the YouTube vigil producers and listeners for any inexplicable redundancy. I’m going to do my best to clear that up now that I’ve had more time to think about. The cable’s title is “ETHNICITY IN RWANDA - - -WHO GOVERNS THE COUNTRY?” It’s dated August 5, 2008.
By Ann Garrison for Black Agenda Report - Human Rights Watch acts as an arm of U.S. foreign policy. This phony “rights” organization backs the deportation and prosecution of Rwandan dissidents like Joseph Nkusi, who dared to maintain that Hutus were also massacred in the Rwanda bloodbath. Under a minority Tutsi dictatorship, “even using the description ‘Rwandan Genocide’ is a crime; authorities enforce a law passed in 2008 making ‘genocide against the Tutsi’ the only legal description.” “Human Rights Watch is OK with Nkusi's prosecution because its own absolutist conclusions about the genocide are compatible with those of Rwanda’s absolutist, totalitarian government.”
By Ann Garrison for Black Agenda Report - I answered some heartbreaking calls from Dr. Léopold Munyakazi phoning from Alabama jail this week. Dr. Munyakazi is a gentle Rwandan born scholar, with a PhD in linguistics and further advanced degrees French and African linguistics. He has lost his immigration case in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and will all but certainly be deported to Rwanda to face prison or worse. The Rwandan government accuses him of genocide crime committed in 1994,