Monday, June 25, 2007

The Rwanda Genocide

The instability that has plagued the Great Lakes region has always been distorted by both the perpetrators of the crisis and ignorant political analysts. This article presents a socialist viewpoint of the problem .

As Rwandans prepare to mark a decade of the genocide that was imposed on them by a tiny section of the international community, the real perpetrators of the massacre are still making frantic efforts to conceal the truth. France is leading the crusade with the tacit backing of the other world powers through their ubiquitous media. The strategy, as is always the case, is to reduce the whole affair to insignificant issues. In this present attempt, they are doing all they can to demonise the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame as the sole cause of the genocide. He is said to have been the one who ordered the shooting down of the late President Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane - an act that sparked off the killings. But what is never mentioned is that the massacre was so well organised that it could not have occurred just because someone shot down an aircraft or a president was murdered. The genocide was a premeditated, not a spontaneous, act and therefore its cause cannot be reduced to what the world is being told.
The real reason for the genocide cannot be properly understood until a broader perspective of the scenario is appraised. The killings that took place in Rwanda are only one aspect of a much wider design. It was only a link in a long chain of activities engulfing the whole of the Great Lakes region. Here is an area generously endowed with huge deposits of minerals and other natural resources. It is perhaps the richest area on the continent where one can boast of immense quantities of gold, diamond, coltan, copper, cobalt, zinc, oil, gas, and such forest resources as timber, coffee, etc.

To have easy and cheap access to these vital resources, the capitalist companies in Europe and America need not only to have puppet regimes in power but they also need to keep the region in perpetual turmoil and instability. This was the reason for Patrice Lumumba’s assassination way back in the sixties by Mobutu and that under the supervision of the western powers and their United Nations. It was also for the same reason that Yoweri Museveni was sponsored to wage the bush war, which culminated in the overthrow of Milton Obote in the eighties. The same goes for Paul Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Army, whose war was bankrolled by American and European governments on behalf of big business interests. Museveni and Kagame were carefully hand picked, groomed and helped to ascend the throne and then thrown into D R Congo to do the dirty work of looting for the western companies. There is a staggering wealth of evidence to prove the active involvement of the UA, UK, France and Belgium and corporate business interests based and or owned by members of these countries. Uganda and Rwanda prop up (to this day) almost all the rebel groups in DR Congo from funds donated by their masters abroad.


It is important to understand the role of the UN in the Great Lakes region. But first of all it is worth noting that the UN is kept alive through the contributions of the Western capitalists through their governments. And since it is the one who pays the piper who calls the tune, it is not strange to realise that the UN is at the beck and call of the capitalists. A typical example is seen in the recent refusal by American capitalism to listen to the UN and to then go ahead and attack Iraq. Long before the massacre in Rwanda in 1994, the UN was fully aware of the intention and plans of the perpetrators of the genocide and refused to act. In fact it even deliberately smothered all information on the impending atrocity. Kofi Annan was then in charge of peace keeping operations at the UN. But as if that was not enough, the UN went ahead, against expert advice, to dissolve the small military mission in Rwanda (MINUAR) during the peak of the mayhem.

That the UN was merely obeying its master’s directives can be deduced from the actions and words of Kofi Annan (now the Sec. General) almost a decade after his criminal and inhuman action and inaction. In 2003, he removed Carla Del Ponte from her post as prosecutor at the Rwanda Genocide Court. The reason? She was treading on dangerous ground: she had decided not only to carry out her duty of prosecuting suspects but also to look into the part played by Kagame’s Rwanda Patriotic Army in the massacres. This would have exposed real forces behind the killings – the Western capitalists. Naturally, Annan was ordered to act swiftly. He quickly put the matter before the UN Security Council, which unanimously voted her out of Rwanda. Another proof of guilt is seen in his belated apology to the people of Rwanda on Monday 29th March 2004.


The capitalist controlled media also played and continue to play its historically determined role in this sordid affair. Corporate journalists initially maintained an irreverent silence on the genocide, but when it was no longer possible for them to do so they were at their negative best on their reports on the mayhem. They completely reduced the obvious capitalist war to a trivial tribal conflict. Their masters dictated to them what to report in return for the cash. They refused to acknowledge the fact that what was happening in Rwanda was the killing of innocent, helpless and poor Tutsis and Hutus by a combined force of trained RPA militia and Rwandan government soldiers. These militia and soldiers were themselves forced to kill because they were fed deceit and false propaganda. They had absolutely nothing to gain from the killings. In fact those they were deceived to kill were actually their relatives, neighbours and friends with whom they previously lived together in peace and harmony. This fact was so palpably glaring that the media found it hard to neglect and so they had to couch it in such terms as "Hutus killing Tutsis and moderate Hutus". Moderate, of course, being a misnomer for those who had realised the hollowness in the reasons advanced for the internecine war and refused to take in it.

The fact of the matter is that there has always been a class conflict in that society, just as in any other society. In Rwanda, it was reflected in the antagonistic relations between a minority of feudal lords, mostly Tutsi, and the commoners comprising both Tutsi and Hutu. These feudal lords lived off the toil of the mass of peasants. This generated, however latent, resentment for the ruling classes by the masses. And as is usually the case, the poor masses, in times of hardship, ignorantly vented their anger on their fellow sufferers instead of on the exploiting tribal rulers. In Rwanda this confused situation was further aggravate by the colonialists through their policy of divide and rule. A pernicious wedge was driven between the Tutsi, who were accorded a more privileged status, and the Hutu. Then, with the attainment of the so-called independence and the subsequent introduction of the World Bank and IMF structural adjustment policies with its attendant biting effects, the animosity and mutual hatred heightened. Thus, the society became an ethnic time bomb ready to explode at the least prompting. And that was exactly the situation that the leadership of both groups exploited.

It follows from the above that at the heart of the Rwandan genocide and indeed the other massacres going on in the whole of the Great Lakes region is the quest for raw materials. It was the same search for raw materials that brought the Europeans to Africa and the resultant colonialism. These raw materials are not needed for their own sake; they are the means to super profits that constitute the ultimate aim of the capitalists. Thus, profit is the underlying cause of all our woes. The driving force of capitalism is profit and there is no way the world’s people can do away with killings, war, hunger, suffering, disease, etc until that profit system is done away with.

[Reference: New African, November & December 2003, Congo Panorama – A pamphlet of the Congo Solidarity Campaign.]

From African Socialist 7

1 comment:

Susana said...

Tragically, Rwanda is best known for the horrific genocide that occurred in 1994. Nearly a million people, or about 10% of Rwanda's population, were killed. Females represent 70% of Rwanda's population since so many men had been killed. They are now making a living by selling their homemade peace baskets to provide food and shelter for their family. Art is a wonderful thing, especially when made with blood, sweat and tears.

The sale of these beautiful, handmade baskets plays an important role in Rwanda's evolution. These beautiful peace baskets are a great conversation piece for your home and at the same time you can help others help themselves.
See the peace baskets at link below.