Rwanda and Uganda are threatening to send troops across their borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo yet again to, they say, eliminate the Hutu refugee militia known as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR. Going after the Hutu refugee militia has been Rwanda and Uganda’s excuse for crossing into Congo for the past 18 years, since the outset of the First Congo War in 1996.
We do not count to this society and this world. We can be driven from our homes, beaten, tortured and murdered with impunity. It is our responsibility to build a new politics, a politics that respects the dignity of all people, a politics that restores the land and wealth of the world to the people, a politics in which there are no people who can be freely driven from their homes and freely killed, a politics in which everyone counts.
The BBC documentary, “Rwanda: The Untold Story,” has become the subject of fierce argument including many open letters to the BBC both applauding and attacking it. Paul Kagame accused the BBC of “genocide denial” and his state newspaper, The New Times, even called on the International Criminal Court to indict the network and/or its producers. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to international criminal defense attorney Peter Erlinder.
While Rwandan President Paul Kagame was in South Africa to pay his last respects to Nelson Mandela, the Rwandan Supreme Court upheld the conviction of imprisoned opposition leader Victoire Ingabire and extended her sentence from eight to 15 years. As she left the courtroom, Ingabire gave her usual thumbs up salute and urged her supporters not to be afraid, because, she said, time and history are on their side.
Nelson Mandela’s passing has drawn responses from throughout the U.S. and the world. To oppressed and working people, Mandela was a symbol and example of self-sacrifice and lifelong commitment to revolutionary change. Although the struggle inside South Africa and throughout the region is by no means complete, the legacy of Mandela through the ANC, SACP, COSATU and other affiliated organizations will live on.
Twenty-six year-old Congolese American science student Alima Kasongo should inspire anyone facing enormous odds, most of all her own Congolese people, who have faced the most enormous odds thrown at any people in the world for so many years. For good reason, many have said that if there were peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), there would be peace on earth.
Earlier this year, President Obama asked how one might weigh the “tens of thousands who’ve been killed in Syria versus the tens of thousands who are currently being killed in the Congo.” But as tragic and devastating as the Congo conflict is, Congolese are not asking for the United States – or the international community – to militarily intervene.
This week the Congolese army, backed by the U.N. Force Intervention Brigade, was widely reported to be driving the last of Rwanda’s M23 militia from their positions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s most war ravaged province, North Kivu, on eastern Congo’s border with Rwanda. At the same time, Western elites stepped forward to tell the world what’s best for Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo now.
The Congolese army has pushed Rwanda’s M23 back by about four miles in recent days, and U.N. envoy says that their success makes this a good time to negotiate. Jean-Mobert N’senga, an activist lawyer in Goma, and his group, Fight for Change, agree but say the Democratic Republic of the Congo needs to negotiate with Rwanda, not M23.
On the 20th anniversary of the demise of my father, Fred Ali Batin Sr., the 18th anniversary of the Maafa Commemoration San Francisco Bay Area – the Ritual Sunday is Oct. 13, 2013; see http://maafasfbayarea.com/ – and approximately the 60th day of the hunger strike to end the inhuman conditions in California’s Security Housing Units or SHUs, I just want to pause and reflect.
On Aug. 7, Paul Rusesabagina, president of the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, sent an open letter to international political and civil society leaders asking them not to bother with the upcoming Rwandan parliamentary elections. The letter follows: Please ignore Rwanda. Parliamentary elections are coming up in Rwanda this September, and the world should ignore them.
2013 marks the 43rd anniversary of Black August, first organized to honor our fallen freedom fighters, George and Jonathan Jackson, James McClain, William Christmas, Khatari Gaulden and sole survivor of the Aug. 7, 1970, Courthouse Slave Rebellion, Ruchell Cinque Magee. During these four decades, we’ve witnessed a steady revision of the meaning of Black August and its inherent ideology.
Friends of the Congo’s Executive Director Maurice Carney told KPFA that the U.N. Combat Intervention Brigade is really just the U.S., U.K., and other Western powers’ excuse for continuing to support African dictators – Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Congo’s Joseph Kabila. All three, he says, collaborate with foreign interests to drain Congo of its vast resource wealth.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution this week calling for a fair trial for Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire, whose case is now being heard by the Rwandan Supreme Court. Ingabire has been behind bars in Rwanda’s capital Kigali since 2010, the year she attempted to run for the presidency against Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
A senior British politician has revealed Britain’s involvement in the 1961 assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the Congo’s first prime minister. The leader of the Congolese independence struggle from Belgium was brutally murdered just seven months after taking office on the direct orders of the U.S. and Belgium. Britain, whose involvement had long been suspected, also had a hand in it.
On Thursday this week, in a performance that raised eyebrows and caused teeth gnashing among Congolese peace and justice activists, movie actress Angelina Jolie thanked the G8 summit of the world's eight wealthiest nations for their effort to end sexual violence in war. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.
Late last week, the Security Council approved the creation of what it called its first-ever “offensive” combat force, with a mandate to carry out targeted operations to “neutralize and disarm” the notorious March 23 or M23 militia, as well as other Congolese rebels and foreign armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Until now, U.N. peacekeeping forces’ only explicit mandate has been the protection of civilians.
This letter, signed by Diaspora Congolese women in the U.S., U.K., Belgium, France and South Africa, was delivered to Ambassador Carson on March 20. We are writing to you with regard to the current U.S. policy position on “Lasting Solution to Instability” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which you presented on Feb. 11, 2013, at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
The widows of the assassinated presidents of Rwanda and Burundi have petitioned the Supreme Court in Habyarimana v. Kagame to reject Obama administration claims of unreviewable executive power to strip federal courts of jurisdiction for money damages for “extra-judicial” murders and other violations of international law committed by Paul Kagame, the current president of Rwanda.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame will speak at the University of Hartford, Connecticut’s Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies to mark the launch of its “Genocide and Holocaust Education Initiative,” despite scholars, journalists and protestors all over the world, and nearly 20 years of U.N. reports accusing Kagame himself of genocide and mass atrocities in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.