Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Remembering Rwanda

In Rwanda public hearings are being broadcast live on radio on the complicity of France in the 1994 genocide. France has been long accused of having armed and trained those who were responsible for the killings.

Not that John Kerry or our Lamebrain Drive-By media will notice. They never noticed the killings, although how 800,000 died in the 100-day mass murder without public scrutiny is something no one can explain. Except, they didn't notice the 2 million who died under Pol Pot, either.

French ambitions     According to testimony, France, in Rwanda under a U.N. directive, had their own agenda.
Jacques Bihozagara -- a founding member of the Tutsi-led RPF, which is now the country's ruling party, and later Rwanda's ambassador to France -- said French policy was then driven by concerns about losing influence in Africa.

"France conducted a denigration and demonisation campaign against the RPF and its leaders," he told the panel in testimony aired live by Rwandan radio. The public hearings are the second phase of the probe.

Bihozagara said the policy aim was to support the French-speaking majority Hutu-led government in Rwanda against the RPF, which had bases in Uganda, an English-speaking former British protectorate.

"They thought a francophone country was being attacked by an Anglophone country" and believed "they had to rush to the rescue", Bihozagara told the panel in the one-time Belgian colony.
United Nations failure (again)   In the meantime, United Nations justice is, even now, stalling as it has done in Cambodia, as they wait for the clock to run out in order to avoid trying the guilty. In Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has -- get this enormous effort that has taken nine years and half a billion dollars -- since 1997 has tried and convicted a total of 25 ringleaders.

And lack of accountability   Of course, the real beauty of the U.N. tribunal is that the one most responsible for the tragedy - the United Nations - will not be subjected to tough questioning. No one will question Kofi Annan's role in the tragedy. As head of U.N. peacekeeping forces at the time, he ignored the problem. As did the First Black President, Bill Clinton.

Liberalism kills    The State Department under Bill Clinton refused to even acknowledge the "G" word. Then, as now in Darfur, the very label might compel them to act, as Steve Bradshaw, BBC Panorama correspondent, wrote.
The department's legal team feared that recognising the G Word would oblige the US to intervene because of the UN Genocide Convention. In fact the convention mandates no such thing, merely makes it a possibility. The lawyers knew this but politicians feared the public wouldn't follow such subtle reasoning.

Then, when the UN did decide to summon up an intervention force, the US delayed over the despatch of armoured vehicles. The arguments ranged from what colour to paint the vehicles to who would be paying for the painting.
That was Bill Clinton's State Department. That was Bill Clinton's part in the "Contract with Mutual Indifference." It's something Rwandan's aren't about to forgive.

Other witnesses to failure    But you dont' have to believe the BBC. General Romeo Dallaire, commander of the UN force wrote unflinchingly about on the failure in his book, "Shake Hands with the Devil".    Even the notoriously leftwing Guardian has nothing good to say about Bill Clinton's inaction in Rwanda.   Formerly classified documents reinforce the view that claiming ignorance isn't a viable defense

"Staying out of Rwanda was an explicit U.S. policy objective," wrote Samantha Power in her lengthy "Bystanders to Genocide" Sept 2001 Atlantic Monthly series based on declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. There are a lot of familiar names in that report.

Of course, the best desciption of what did not happen was given by Clinton himself in an interview with Andrew Denton.
ANDREW DENTON: There must be a great sense of guilt about that. You can't put that in the abstract.

BILL CLINTON: I feel badly about it. I said so in the book. And the interesting thing was - and I don't hold anybody that worked for me more responsible than myself - but there was no particular call for it in the United States at the time, and not much clamour in Congress or in the editorial pages.
Knowing Clinton felt badly about it must be a great comfort to Rwandans. And the fact that our very own Drive-By media played a part in it is, well, just kinda forgotten, isn't it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In 1994, the President Clinton's spokeswoman was talking about "acts of genocide" referring to the genocide of Tutsi in Rwanda. She was not allowed to say the word "Genocide".