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On Feb. 12, 2018, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that there were 4.49 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Democratic Republic of Congo and 630,500 refugees in neighboring countries. The IDP population had nearly doubled in the previous year alone, mainly as a result of clashes and armed attacks. This week I spoke to Swiss Congolese historian and activist Bénédicte Kumbi Ndjoko about recent developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
He’s the president of Rwanda and the current president of the African Union, feted by the Brookings Institute, one of the most venerable ideological pillars of U.S. capital interests. So why is Paul Kagame manifesting more and more signs of paranoia? Let’s consider just a few possibilities: Assassination rumors, insurgency, political prisoner Victoire Ingabire, 7,000 Rwandan churches and mosques shut down.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) propagates injustice as stark as slavery or South African apartheid. It’s a Western court that prosecutes Africans exclusively. In June 2011, the ICC indicted Libyan President Muammar al-Qaddafi and his son Saif al-Islam Qaddafi. Now, six years later, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has announced that she will investigate Burundian officials for crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the country’s past three years of civil unrest.
Last year the African Union resisted Western pressure to intervene militarily in Burundi. On Oct. 26, Burundi officially completed its withdrawal from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) without being indicted. Western powers, NGOs and press have accused Burundi of human rights abuse within its own borders but not of invading another country. I asked Canadian lawyer David Paul Jacobs, an expert in international law, to contextualize this distinction.
Oct. 14 marked the seventh anniversary of Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire’s arrest shortly after she attempted to run for president against Rwanda’s military dictator, President Paul Kagame. The Brussels-based International Women’s Network for Democracy and Peace commemorates Oct. 14 as Ingabire Day, a day of solidarity with Victoire Ingabire and all political prisoners. I asked Claude Gatebuke, Rwandan genocide survivor and founder of the African Great Lakes Action Network, to explain Victoire Ingabire’s message.
In October 2016, the tiny East African nation of Burundi made history by raising an independent head against U.S. empire. Its legislature voted to withdraw from membership in the International Criminal Court, a tool that the U.S. and its Western allies use to discipline unruly African leaders – especially those who sign resource extraction contracts with Russia or China and/or those who try to do anything for their own people. The Burundian government fits both descriptions.
The 1994 bloodbath in Rwanda also became an argument for the suppression or even criminalization of speech. No one makes these arguments more fiercely and absolutely than Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Kagame claims to have inspired Rwandans to rise from the ashes to build an economic miracle and example for all Africa. In a new book, however, economist David Himbara says that Kagame’s economic miracle is in fact an economic mirage. I spoke to David Himbara.
One of the most devastating U.S. interventions was the overthrow of the democratically elected leader of the Congo, Prime Minister Patrice Emery Lumumba, in 1960. That overthrow has been devastating for the Congolese people, because not only did the U.S. overthrow and assassinate the democratically elected leader, but they also imposed a dictatorship on the Congolese people for over three decades, and it has crushed and destroyed the country and the people.
“A Brilliant Genocide” tells the story of the Acholi Genocide that President Yoweri Museveni and his army committed against the Acholi people during their 20-year war and occupation of the Acholi homeland in northern Uganda, from 1986 to 2006. Museveni waged that war in the name of fighting Kony and claimed to be protecting the Acholi, not destroying them. RT will air “A Brilliant Genocide” on Oct. 1.
Last week the U.S. helped its Saudi pals bomb another hospital and school in Yemen. Don’t imagine that its intentions are any more humanitarian in Burundi just because they’re not selling fighter bomber jets and guided bombs to their pal Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s president for life. Kagame is intent on bringing down President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government in Burundi, as Saudi sheikhs are intent on bringing down the Houthi government in Yemen.
On May 19, 2016, the Rwandan government ordered Dutch lawyer Caroline Buisman to leave Rwanda immediately, without even meeting her new client, political prisoner Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. Buisman had arrived in the country’s capital Kigali on May 14, 2016, to consult with Ingabire regarding the appeal of her conviction for terrorism, inciting popular revolt and minimizing the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.
The New Times of Rwanda, one of several state sanctioned media outlets, reports that a monument has been built on the banks of the River Nyabarongo “in memory of victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis who were dumped into the waters.” KPFA’s Ann Garrison reports that the story is disputed with evidence that the victims were actually Hutus rather than Tutsis.
The Rwandan Genocide is commemorated in Rwanda and at the United Nations as “the genocide against the Tutsi.” However, it was preceded by the assassination of three Hutu presidents and by the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Hutu civilians in Burundi. There is also ample evidence that hundreds of thousands of Hutus, as well as Tutsis, died in the Rwandan massacres.
In his 22 years as the powerful man in Rwanda and 16 years as the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame has proved to be not only a tyrant and dictator responsible for large scale human rights abuse with an extreme and effective way of crushing dissidents and political opponents. Yet he has spoken before at the Harvard University School of Business, where he is invited again as a speaker this coming weekend.
Why did the NBA All Star Game Weekend celebrate Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, who is known to have launched invasions that cost millions of African lives, and to brutally repress his own people? His appearance inspired indignation and headlines in the Toronto press. Ann Garrison spoke with CIUT-Toronto Taylor Report host Phil Taylor to ask what he thought of this and how it happened.
Most Western press judged the African Union harshly for its refusal to send troops to Burundi without Burundi’s consent. However, the A.U. troop deployment was never an African solution to African problems. It was always a Western solution to the West’s problem with Burundi’s current government. Black Agenda Report Editor Glen Ford said that Western nations pay most of the A.U.’s bills, so A.U. troops often do serve Western interests, but this time the West had pushed too hard.
U.S. U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, the U.S. State Department, the E.U. and Belgium have fiercely advocated for the deployment of 5,000 African Union troops in Burundi, whether Burundi agrees or not. Senegalese diplomat Ibrahima Fall, the African Union’s special representative to the African Great Lakes Region, told Radio France International that deploying AU troops without Burundi’s consent was “unimaginable.”
We want to invite every friend of the SF Bay View newspaper to our 40th anniversary party. It’s a free event this Sunday, Feb. 21, 1-5 p.m., at the Main Library, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco. Come one, come all and let’s celebrate 40 years of the most radical Black newspaper in the country. Enjoy a panel of Bay View writers, a fashion show and performances by the legendary Avotcja, Stoney Creation and Sista Iminah reminding us of the beauty and talent in our community.
Paul Kagame, the leader of Rwanda, has killed more than five times as many people as Idi Amin. He invaded Rwanda in 1990 and carried out a war of conquest there that ended sometime in 1994. He invaded the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1996 and went in and out of that country for years, killing what the U.N. itself admitted was probably more than 4 million people. The U.S. not only failed to stop it, we actually supported the mass killing. Paul Kagame is a double genocidist, and one could argue too that Bill Clinton was a partner in this. Bill Clinton is arguably a genocidist.
Since March, Western press and policymakers have warned of a genocide in Burundi and suggested that Burundi’s minority Tutsi population is in danger. Supporters of President Pierre Nkurunziza say that the key social divide in Burundi is not Hutu and Tutsi, but urban and rural. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to William Ndizeye, a Burundian Canadian supporter of the Burundian government.