Syria has long dominated international headlines while the big powers discuss the possibility of dividing it into smaller, more homogeneous states along ethnic or religious lines. The Democratic Republic of Congo is rarely if ever at the top of the Western headlines, but heads of state and so-called experts have long made similar proposals to carve out new, smaller, more homogeneous nations in Congo’s resource-rich eastern provinces. I spoke with Congolese scholar and activist Boniface Musavuli about the plans.
April 6 was the 24th anniversary of the day that Gen. Paul Kagame shattered a ceasefire agreement and resumed the 1990-1994 war in Rwanda by assassinating Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira. His troops, acting on his orders, fired a rocket at Habyarimana’s plane when it appeared overhead in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, returning from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Coogler’s “Panther” has a terrible counter-revolutionary message. It's overall politic message tells you that since you cannot be the Black Panther character, king of Wakanda, you can be a CIA agent like T’Challa’s right hand man. But before I get into that, let me tell y’all what I think is great about this box office record breaking Disney-Marvel film. The cinematography is phenomenal. The costumes and the colors are on another level. The sets are beautiful.
Helen Epstein’s new book, “Another Fine Mess: America, Uganda, and the War on Terror,” is dense with detailed and fascinating accounts of events in Ugandan history and politics and those of neighboring nations. I’m familiar with much of it, but there’s also much I hadn’t known, some I disagree with, and elaborations or different interpretations of what I’ve previously read or been told.
A video calling for an Islamic State jihad in the Democratic Republic of the Congo appeared online and in a few news reports last week. It was purportedly made in Beni Territory, within Congo’s North Kivu Province, where a phantom so-called Islamist militia, the Allied Democratic Forces, has been blamed for massacres of the indigenous population that began in October 2014. I asked Boniface Musavuli, a native of Beni and author of “The Massacres of Beni: Kabila, Rwanda, and the Fake Islamists” to help contextualize the so-called news.
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.
Since seizing power in Rwanda in 1994, dictator and U.S. military partner Paul Kagame has ruled the tiny East African nation with an iron fist that includes a complex nationwide network of spies and surveillance technology. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, leader of the FDU-Inkingi Party, has been in prison since 2010, when she tried to run for president against Kagame. Now another woman, Diane Rwigara, who attempted to run against Kagame in this year’s election, has been arrested.
Starvation is the danger Victoire Ingabire is facing now in her seventh year in prison. Starvation! She requires a special diet which has been provided by our staff since her arrest. Two people have been authorized to see her, but they have both been arrested. No one else is allowed to see her. Kagame is facing growing dissent within his own party, his relations with neighbors are souring and his plan to oust Burundi’s leadership has failed. He fears retaliation.
I did a Google search for “Jeremy Corbyn” and “Rwanda” on the unlikely chance that Britain’s Labor Party leader had ever said anything about that tiny, tortured East African nation. The one and only result was unsurprising because, in the West, Rwanda is largely forgotten except as an excuse to go to war – to “stop the next Rwanda” – meaning the country’s 1994 bloodbath.
Twenty-two years ago, on April 22, 1995, Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Army massacred between 4,000 and 8,000 Hutu men, women and children at the Kibeho Camp for internal refugees in southern Rwanda. I spoke to Rene Mugenzi, a Rwandan refugee, British citizen and human rights activist, who continues to seek acknowledgment and indictment for the crimes against humanity and, arguably, genocide committed at Kibeho in 1995.
I had a hard time writing a KPFA-Berkeley Radio News report last Saturday. I was trying to report on the racist, Christian fundamentalism of NPR commentator Scott Simon and Canadian Gen. Romeo Dallaire, both of whom argue that God and the devil are manifest in Syria, as they were in Rwanda in 1994. Dallaire even adds that “the white man” – his words – has a moral obligation to intervene on God’s behalf.
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.
The end of the unipolar, U.S.-led global order is most dramatically signified by the U.S. loss of its proxy war with Russia in Syria. For the past year and a half, a much quieter struggle has been playing out in the tiny East African nation of Burundi. The U.S. and E.U. nations have repeatedly demanded that Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza step down, but Russia and China have stood up for Burundi, as for Syria, on the U.N. Security Council. Despite its small size, Burundi is, like Syria, very geostrategically situated.
The path forward for many Congolese youth is clear. They want to be free from tyranny more than the Kabila regime wants to repress them and deprive them of their God-given life pursuits. In the Congo, the youth are prepared for a sustained civil disobedience undertaking to cripple and ultimately remove an oppressive system that not only kills them but also squelches their aspirations and hopes for a dignified life.
Dr. Léopold Munyakazi was deported to Rwanda early this morning. The linguist, scholar and former French professor at Goucher College was arrested shortly after giving several lectures at Northeastern University college campuses in which he said that the Rwandan war of the 1990s was a class conflict, not an ethnic conflict, and that it was therefore incorrectly characterized as genocide.
Since 1994, Rwanda and the international community invested tremendous resources in acknowledging, documenting, remembering and bringing to justice the perpetrators of the genocide against Tutsi. Sadly, though well documented by the international community and known by the victims, there has never been an acknowledgement that the crimes committed against the Rwandan Hutu fully satisfy the definition of genocide according to the Genocide Convention of 1948.
“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.
BlockReportRadio.com interviews Claude Gatebuke of the African Great Lakes Action Network, about the 20th anniversary of the invasion of the Congo by Rwanda and Uganda on behalf of the western world. We talk about genocide, child soldiers, mass rapes, mineral extraction, slavery, and more. We also talked about the role Hillary Clinton, Uganda Pres. Museveni, Rwandan Pres. Kagame, and the African Union have played in this conflict, which has killed more people than any other war except WWII. Please tune in for more at BlockReportRadio.com.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee questioned Marine Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, President Obama’s nominee to become the next four-star general commanding AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command. Most of the discussion focused on the conflict in Libya, where territory is now controlled by seven different forces. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.
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.