by Ann Garrison
The political cost of standing with Rwandan President Paul Kagame mounts by the hour.
Here’s a partial list, as of Aug. 28, 2010, of world press coverage of the leaked report from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) mapping atrocities committed in D.R. Congo. The report points to crimes which might be labeled genocide against Rwandan Hutu refugees and Congolese Hutus committed by Kagame’s Rwandan army between 1996 and 2003:
- Radio France International, http://www.english.rfi.fr/africa/20100827-un-report-shows-rwanda-massacred-hutus-dr-congo-says-le-monde
- RFI in AllAfrica.com, http://allafrica.com/stories/201008270477.html
- BBC, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11105289
- The Economist, http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2010/08/congo_and_rwanda
- Canadian Broadcasting Corp., http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/08/27/un-rwanda-congo.html
- Reuters Africa, http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFJOE67Q02020100827
- Agence France Press, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jh8IzoW5T2ZOnDgOHtUxc5I5tovQ
- Newsweek, http://www.newsweek.com/2010/08/27/more-worrying-signs-emerge-in-rwanda.html
- New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/28/world/africa/28congo.html?src=me
- De Standaard, as reported in PressEurop, http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/news-brief-cover/325321-west-s-ally-kagame-accused-genocide
- Channel 4 UK, http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/international_politics/rwanda+genocide+claim+a+aposstrategic+leakapos/3755282
- London Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/democraticrepublicofcongo/7967880/DR-Congo-killings-by-Rwandan-army-may-be-genocide-UN-report-says.html
- Press TV, http://presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=140278
- Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/28/AR2010082801026.html
This is a very partial list of the many outlets publishing the Associated Press World Service report:
- Seattle Times, http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/mobile/?
- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/08/27/1794523/un-rwandan-attacks-on-hutus-could.html
- NPR, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129465274
The final version of the report has become a political contest. The Globe and Mail reports that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has reportedly argued for revision that eliminates the allegations of genocide against Rwandan and Congolese Hutus by Kagame’s Rwandan army, after Kagame threatened to remove Rwandan “peacekeepers” from Darfur and Haiti.
What will Obama do?
As the political costs of standing with Kagame mount, many wonder, “What will Obama do?” On Jan. 20, 2009, all eyes were on the Washington, D.C., and the inauguration of our first African American president, Barack Obama. But Africa watchers were transfixed by the horrifying news coming out of Eastern Congo, as the Rwandan Defense Force and Congolese armies, the CNDP militia and MONUC, the U.N. peacekeeping force, emerged as a coalition formed to finally hunt down the FDLR.
The Telegraph’s headline was Rwandan troops enter DR Congo to hunt Hutu militias.
Few Americans noticed, not only because it was Obama’s Inauguration Day, but also because few could sort out the acronyms: Rwandan Defense Force (RDF), Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo or Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC), Congrès national pour la défense du peuple or National Congress for Defense of the People (CNDP) and MONUC (Mission de l’Organisation des Nations Unies en République démocratique du Congo or United Nations Organization Mission in Congo).
But, Rwandan troops entering D.R. Congo to hunt Hutu militias? Looking back, that Inauguration Day headline reads very differently now. No one needs to understand all the acronyms to see what’s wrong.
Hutu militias, the FDLR, are always the excuse for U.S.-backed Rwandan troops in Eastern Congo, but how much longer will Obama embrace the excuse, after this leaked report of what appears to be genocide against Rwandan Hutu refugees and Congolese Hutus by the army of Rwandan President Paul Kagame?
What will Obama do, as the term “Congo Genocide” emerges and the political costs of standing with Kagame mount?
San Francisco writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Digital Journal, Examiner.com, OpEdNews, Global Research, Colored Opinions and her blog, Plutocracy Now. She can be reached at email@example.com. This story originally appeared in Colored Opinions.