"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

8.31.2010

the mapping report

"...no report could adequately describe the horrors experienced by civilian populations in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Every individual has at least one story to tell of suffering and loss. In some cases, victims have turned perpetrators, and perpetrators have in turn been victims of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in a cycle of violence that continues to this day."

It's been several months since I first heard that the long-awaited mapping report of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights contained some serious language about the role of Rwandan troops in committing human rights abuses in Zaire/DRC. The report was finished more than a year ago, but has yet to be officially released. However, the report was leaked to Le Monde, which reported on it last week, and the report quickly spread in the universe of people who closely follow the region.

As Jason Stearns notes, the leaking of the report almost certainly happened in order to ensure that the word "genocide" got out lest someone scrub it from the final version. It happened in late August, when half the UN is on vacation, and just before the final version was supposed to be released.

I have seen the draft report. It is long and it is damning. Those who have followed the region will not find much about which we didn't already know; it wasn't exactly a secret that the RPA forces supporting Laurent Kabila's campaign to take over the territory in 1996-97 were responsible for serious human rights violations. The report deals with many more issues than just those involving Rwanda, however. Just about every armed group that operated in the DRC since 1993 committed war crimes and/or crimes against humanity, and a large number of them are discussed in the draft. It's horrifying. A few excerpts:
  • "All parties to the conflict in the DRC recruited and used CAAFAG. Between 1993 and 2003, these and other children were subjected to indescribable violence, including murder, rape, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, forced displacements and the destruction of their villages, and were deprived of all their rights. This situation continues to this day." (Paragraph 719)
  • "In November 1999, elements of the ANC/APR buried alive 15 women from the villages of Bulinzi, Ilinda, Mungombe and Ngando, near to the town centre of Mwenga, 135 kilometres to the south-west of Bukavu. Before being buried alive in the town centre in Mwenga, the victims were tortured and raped, some with sticks, and subjected to other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments..." (Paragraph 352)
  • "Around 27 August 1998, civilians and members of the popular defence groups burned several people alive in the neighbourhoods of Vundamanenga, Kimbiolongo and Ndjili Brasserie in the village of Mbuku, in the municipality of Mont-Ngafula. Several infiltrators, exhausted, were arrested, burned alive and then buried in the forest by residents of these neighbourhoods." (Paragraph 313)
These things are hard to read. They are harder to have endured. It will take years to sort out the myriad of transitional justice issues outlined in the later sections of the report, and most of those victims who are still alive will probably pass on before a functioning court system can hear their cases.

The big story, of course, is Rwanda and the accusation that Rwandan-controlled forces played a significant role in massacring Hutu refugees who fled into Zaire as a result of the Rwandan genocide. Jason Stearns has covered the relevant sections in detail here, as well as begun to provide an overview of the rest of the report here. The report's authors are careful to note that it should be up to a court to decide whether the crimes constitute "genocide," but clearly they believe that the potential for such a finding is there.

Predictably, Rwanda's government responded by saying that the accusations in the report are "outrageous" and referred to the report as an "amateurish NGO job." They have issued threats to pull out of UN peacekeeping operations if the report is released, which would not be good for the already pitiful operation in Darfur, among other places.

Max Fisher at the Atlantic Wire has a nice write-up of reaction to the leak and the draft report here. A few more thoughts on related issues:
  • The facts are not on the Rwandan government's side. Western reporters, Zairian/Congolese NGO's, and international NGO's were aware of and keeping track of these human rights abuses as they happened. That's not to say it was all cut and dried - there were certainly genocidaires among the Hutu refugees who fled across Zaire in advance of the rebel and RPA forces. But there were also women and children. All of them were massacred. Even Kristof covered it.
  • This report vindicates Howard French, whose masterful reporting from the ground for the New York Times in 1996-97 was what got me interested in the region in the first place. French covered the use of Hutu refugees as human shields and the attacks when they happened. He wasn't allowed access to some of the areas in which these abuses happened, but it was evident to everyone what was going on - when bulldozers head out to fields to bury bodies and the smell of death is heavy in the air, locals know what has happened. French covers this in much more detail in his book, which you should absolutely read if you haven't already. His coverage of the leaked report appeared in the Times this weekend. You won't find a piece that puts the report into better context.
  • Philip Gourevitch covers the leak and the Rwandan government's reaction to the report for the New Yorker. He implies that the methodology for the report, the standards by which it defines "genocide," and the fact that Kofi Annan arranged for the report to be conducted somehow discredits his findings. He implies that Annan was interested in spreading the blame after Annan's failure to stop the 1994 genocide.
  • I disagree. Even if Annan did want to do penance for his errors, that does not change the facts on the ground. Gourevitch is a brilliant writer, but his reporting is rarely critical of Rwanda's regime. He has long taken far too much of what Kagame and other RPF representatives tell him at face value. I think this stems from a fatal error in perception that Gourevitch made while reporting in the immediate aftermath of the genocide. Faced with the incredible horrors around him, he assumed that since the genocidaires were the bad guys, Kagame and his team were the good guys. What Gourevitch failed to understand then - and seems to still be missing now, despite all evidence to the contrary - is that there were never any good guys in this fight. Blood is on almost everyone's hands, and there's plenty of blame to go around.
  • The methodology on this report is about as solid as it could be given the circumstances. A team of local and international human rights workers used a two-witness standard for corroborating witness testimony, interviewed over 1200 witnesses, and is clear about the limitations of their methodology and the applicability of these findings in a court of law. They do not claim to provide definitive evidence that something happened, only that there is "reasonable suspicion that the incident did occur" (Paragraph 7). Given that some of the crimes they detail happened seventeen years ago, it's remarkable that they were able to corroborate as much as they did.
  • This report highlights the importance of seeing violence in Rwanda, the Kivus, and the rest of the eastern DRC as interrelated. You can't understand one without the others. The Rwandan genocide did not happen out of thin air; it was a product of the country's civil war, and decades of historical events before that. The fight for control of Rwanda extended onto Zairian territory and, in one form or another, continued at least until early 2009 and arguably until today. It may well break out in Congo again; there are some worrying signs involving death threats and shootings in North Kivu of late.
  • What court will handle this? It's still an open question as to whether this report will be released in its final form, but whatever happens, someone will probably try to use a mechanism of international justice to hold the perpetrators to account. I'll leave it to friends who know more about transitional justice than I do to explain what could happen. Two important things to note: 1) Rwanda is not party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, and 2) the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda only has a mandate to hear cases concerning acts of violence committed in calendar year 1994. The ICTR does, however, have the authority to hear cases involving related violence that occurred in neighboring countries, but, again, these are limited to acts of violence from 1994. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. In the meantime, I'd suggest that perhaps President Kagame won't want to allow himself to be photographed on the same dais as Omar al-Bashir again any time soon (see photo 3, HT @RachelStrohm).
  • The use of the term "genocide" is intentional and significant. I am not an international lawyer and I do not know whether the crimes committed by these particular forces in Zaire constitute "genocide" or not. The draft report concludes that there were "tens of thousands" of Hutu victims of this violence; that's a far cry from the counter-genocide claims of hundreds of thousands dead that many Hutus in Rwanda's diaspora have made for years. But in the end, it doesn't matter what you call it. Summary executions of women and children refugees who are fleeing violence or forced to serve as human shields is wrong. It doesn't matter how many people were killed, whether they were targeted because of their ethnicity, or who did it. And no one ought to be allowed to get away with it.
The importance of this leaked report cannot be overstated. If released as such, it will disastrous for what's left of Kagame's reputation, and he knows it. Even if it's not released, it's unlikely the donors can now simply ignore what they have long known to be true. What happens as a result of this is anyone's guess. Kagame is already sitting atop a powder keg of resentment and division in his own party. But there are many potential consequences, and no donors want to see instability in Rwanda. As Ari Kohen points out, nobody's thought much about what a post-Kagame Rwanda would look like.

Finally, I am once again moved by the courage of the people of Africa's Great Lakes region. Human language is inadequate to describe the inhuman abuses detailed in the report. The men and women and children who endured them, kept their communities going, treated survivors, buried their dead, provided public services, and continue to live with insecurity to this day are remarkable human beings. We owe them justice.

26 Comments:

Blogger Nkunda said...

Laura,

Many thanks and welcome back. We certainly missed your insightful posts. I hope there is no more vacation for you!

Also, thanks for recognizing this. That the people are courageous and "remarkable human beings". My sincere hope is that the report will open doors for a genuine reconciliation movement by undermining RPF's extremism.

FDLR is very weak at the moment and expecting a political solution. The RPF remain defiant and stand on their moral ground. Arguing that they can't negotiate with genocidaires.

They may be right but without compromise, a political solution is impossible. Highlighting crimes committed by Kagame reinforces the need for context and dialogue. As the "bad vs. good guy" story wanes.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 8:56:00 AM

 
Blogger friends of congo said...

Your last statement gets to the crux of the issue. After 14 years of the greatest crimes committed against humanity at the dawn of the 21st century the people of Congo and the Great Lakes region deserve JUSTICE.

The impunity must end at all levels (local as well as international) as the ICJ attempted to address in its 2005 ruling against Uganda and the Spanish court indictment of 40 top Rwandan officials in 2008. Antonio Guterres, Chief UN High Commissioner for Refugees reminded world leaders in his 2008 Financial Times interview that the "international community has systematically looted the Congo." Yet no one has been held to account and certainly not the 85 multi-national companies implicated in four UN reports for having illegally exploiting Congo's natural wealth and fueling the conflict: http://friendsofthecongo.org/resource-center/reports-a-studies.html

Dr. Alexander Betts of the University of Oxford addresses the issue of impunity at the international level in a prescient and concise commentary - http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2010/aug/31/uk-complicit-bankrolling-congo-conflict - he raises the issue of Britain "bankrolling a conflict in the Congo that has lead to millions of deaths." The same issue or question can be posed to the United States and should.

Both the British Parliament and the U.S. Congress should hold hearings on what has transpired over the past 14 - 17 years with the aim of contributing to justice for the people of the Congo and Great Lakes.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 9:02:00 AM

 
Blogger JAC said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 10:47:00 AM

 
OpenID onedeadbudgie said...

FOC I do not think the UK feel they have been bankrolling a conflict. They have been assisting the development of Rwanda which they have gone to see with their own eyes. To suggest that the UK is responsible for deaths in Congo is simplistic nonsense. It is just a way of trying to justify attacks on Aid and the US/UK. Dr Betts' simplistic "Double Genocide" nonsense - see his other stuff online - means he does not deserve to be published in a serious newspaper. If you think that all the DRC's problems stem from Mobutu and the French facilitating the escape of the genocidaires into Zaire and their regrouping there then you need to go back to your books. TIA and Congo Siasa have made what seem to be very measured (rather than hysterical) comments on the Report.

FOC the Nyange schoolgirls were murdered by interahamwe from the DRC. They were asked to split themselves into hutu and tutsi, refused and then were killed. Will you get justice for them too?

Nkunda what "political solution" do the FDLR want?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 10:50:00 AM

 
Blogger Nkunda said...

onedeadbudgie,

While you commend Laura and Jason for exercising moderation in your commentary, your own views fall short of that.

If the "double genocide" is nonsense, please explain why. Yes, the numbers of those killed in Congo might have been lower than those killed in Rwanda, but how many have to be killed? The argument has to go back to the intent.

Why were Hutus of Congolese and Burundi origin targeted? why were children and women deliberately killed with blunt instruments? congolese separated from hutus only for the latter to be murdered.

As for the FDLR, I think they've claimed to want a political solution. How genuine, I don't know. What we know is that Rwanda has refused to negotiate with them, insisting that they should return with no conditions.

Also, note that such a discussion that we are having is illegal in Rwanda.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 11:43:00 AM

 
OpenID onedeadbudgie said...

Nkunda

Yes but what "politics" do the FDLR believe in? Is there anything other than "finishing the job"? If so, what exactly?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 12:19:00 PM

 
Blogger Nkunda said...

do you seriously believe the only program the FDLR has is to commit Genocide?

I do not believe, for a second, that the desire to commit genocide would keep this men/women shielded in the forest for this long.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 12:27:00 PM

 
Blogger friends of congo said...

@onedeadbudgie

We suggest you read some more "simplistic nonsense" from the Harvard Africa Policy Journal of Harvard Kennedy School of Government by Timothy Reid entitled "Killing Them Softly: Has Foreign Aid to Rwanda and Uganda Contributed to the Humanitarian Tragedy in the Democratic Republic of Congo?" http://www.hksafricapolicyjournal.com/vol-1/articles/killing-them-softly-has-foreign-aid-rwanda-and-uganda-contributed-humanitarian-traged

You should consider reading Howard French, whom TexasinAfrica quotes extensively for some more "simplistic nonsense."

Here are a few excerpts from French's piece in the New York Review of Books entitled "Kagame's Hidden War in the Congo"

"In all three, the Kagame regime, and its allies in Central Africa, are portrayed not as heroes but rather as opportunists who use moral arguments to advance economic interests. And their supporters in the United States and Western Europe emerge as alternately complicit, gullible, or simply confused. For their part in bringing intractable conflict to a region that had known very little armed violence for nearly thirty years, all the parties—so these books argue—deserve blame, including the United States."

"In fact, the favored group of African leaders were also authoritarian figures with military backgrounds, all of whom had scorned democratic elections. According to Turner, support for the New Leaders “apparently meant that the USA and Britain should continue to aid Rwanda and Uganda as they ‘found solutions’ by carving up Congo.” "

Find complete article here:
http://friendsofthecongo.org/news/classic-congo-news.html

So now you should have two more (Reid and French) to add to Dr. Betts on your "simplistic nonsense" list.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 7:22:00 PM

 
Blogger Elizabeth Allen said...

The Howard French article that FOC is quoting is actually a book review by French in which he assesses Gerald Prunier's Africa's World War. Even for those who agree with some (or even much) of what Prunier argues, French's review was excessively, disappointingly obsequious, especially for a book with so many documentation flaws (and especially for a piece published by the NY Review of Books, which is usually much more rigorous). Here's a more critical -- and in my view, an infinitely more measured -- take on Prunier, published by Andrew Rice in The Nation:

http://www.thenation.com/article/warlord-politics?page=0,0

@Nkunda: It's an important question going forward -- what political program is the FDLR putting forward?

@FOC: Just an FYI -- the Harvard Africa Policy Journal isn't a peer-reviewed journal by any stretch. It's a publication edited by graduate students. As a Harvard graduate myself, and as someone who's edited such journals whilst in grad school, I can attest that the degree of fact-checking that goes into the pieces published by these journals is painfully, unfortunately low. The fact that a piece is published in such a journal doesn't, ipso facto, lend additional prestige to its author's argument.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 9:46:00 PM

 
Blogger ewaffle said...

Laura--hope you had a delightful vacation and happy that you are back. As someone who is just beginning to learn a bit about the DRC and surrounding states--and only through reading in English--I find this blog to be an essential read.

The last paragraph of your post is masterful and very moving. It should have wide circulation.

Regarding Gerald Prunier's book, which I finished not long ago, he is very much an anti-Kagame partisan. The various actors he discusses--I don't know if he misses many--seem to range from criminally stupid to evil incarnate. Paul Kagame (who Prunier refers to as "General" Kagame throughout) holds down the evil end of the spectrum.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 11:08:00 PM

 
OpenID onedeadbudgie said...

Nkunda

A Chris McGreal article in the Guardian of 16.5.2008 is entitled "We have to kill tutsis wherever they are". I am not sure how to paste links into this comment box but no doubt you can find it. It is partly because of that article that I raised the question which Elizabeth Allen has repeated. I have also re-read the article overnight. The article, which includes interviews with leaders, says that FDLR policy is (i) killing Tutsi (ii) installing Hutu power in Rwanda by force and (iii) indoctrinating the next generation to carry on (i) and (ii). Despite what you say that is what they made clear to McGreal. Nkunda, over to you.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 5:28:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liz,

I am not a spokesperson for FDLR. You probably know more than I do in regards to your question.

Back in 2005, did you hear of the Sant'Egidio talks? I am told the GoR met with several fDLR officials.

This was the result:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/apr/01/rwanda.jeevanvasagar

Don't know what happened afterward. It seems the FDLR was sidelined from the successive peace efforts (Nairobi communique etc).

onedeadbudie:

An article by Chris McGreal, no matter how well intended, cannot sum up the policy of the FDLR. I have read it, and I don't understand why you drew such conclusions.

Nobody is arguing here that the FDLR are a group of saints. But to dismiss them as a savagery with no political program adds nothing new to the debate.

Politically, the FDlR might have the following grievances:

1. Constitutional reform: genocide ideology laws.
2. participatory democracy.
3. weak institutions that serve party interests
4. denial of citizenship rights to some Rwandans
5. selective justice: want to see some (criminal)members of RPA punished

6. media freedom, political parties, civil groups

7. military and police reform

8. Independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission etc.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 7:32:00 AM

 
Blogger ColoredOpinions said...

Anonymous,rebel movements in Africa have over the years allways claimed that they are fighting for freedom until they are in power. Then suddenly press- and political freedom are on the bottom of the agenda. Instead of pointing to what Kagame's RPF, the UN or the donors did wrong in the last 20 years, the FDLR should be concerned with it's own failure to contribute to peace and stability in the great lakes region. But selfcriticism, admitting one´s own horrible mistakes in humility are signs of real leadership, just read the book of Jona.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 9:39:00 AM

 
Blogger texasinafrica said...

@ewaffle, thanks for your kind words. I think it's very important to read Prunier's book in context with others. He definitely has biases, and there are some questionable conclusions based on sketchy evidence in that book. That said, he knows the territory and so we can't dismiss his work. You might find Lemarchand's Dynamics of Violence in Central Africa a useful companion, along with Autesserre's new book.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 11:33:00 AM

 
Blogger friends of congo said...

@ Elizabeth Allen: The below is a "measured" response.

Howard French reviews THREE books in the NY Review of Books article, not one as you have implied:

1. Africa’s World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe
by Gérard Prunier

2. The Dynamics of Violence in Central Africa
by René Lemarchand

3. The Congo Wars: Conflict, Myth and Reality
by Thomas Turner

You may have to find TWO other nation articles or reviews written by Adrew Rice to completely impune the sources and we suppose ultimately invalidate our contentions.

@ Elizabeth Allen - as a Harvard graduate, please do share with us the facts that those Harvard Graduate students did not check in Timothy Reid's work? It would be refreshing if you started challenging data and evidence as opposed to castigating sources.

BTW, when did "measured" reach such rarefied status in the face of millions of dead black people in the heart of Africa?

Listen, talk about who is a Harvard graduate or not is a major distraction. Two institutions have been out front on this issue, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) with its 2005 ruling http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/116/10455.pdf against Uganda for its war crimes and pillaging of Congo (The court in all likelihood would have ruled against Rwanda but like its Big Brother the United States, Rwanda is not under the court's jurisdiction).

The second institution that has been ahead of the curve on this issue is the Spanish Court where Judge Andreu Merelles issued an indictment charging 40 current or former high-ranking Rwandan military officials with serious crimes including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and terrorism. The prosecution of Paul Kagame is ruled out as long as he is head of state: http://jicj.oxfordjournals.org/content/6/5/1003

The question obtains, will the US and UK catch up with the ICJ and Spain regarding the devastating actions of its allies Rwanda and Uganda in Central Africa. Will President Obama hold true to his 2009 Ghana speech when he indicated that the US ought to support strong institutions and not strongmen? The US support of strongmen in Central Africa via Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright and Susan Rice's so-called "renaissance leaders" has been devastating for the people of the region. It is time for a change and past time for the so-called "measured" folks to start dealing with the geo-political dynamics at play. Dena Montague did a fine job of this in a classic 2002 article published in the Johns Hopkins SAIS Review of International Affairs entitled "Stolen Goods: Coltan and Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo"

We invite justice seekers to join us during Congo Week (Oct 17 - 23) in Kisangani as we call for justice and commemorate the innocent Congolese lives lost during the battle between Uganda and Rwanda in 2000 over diamond concessions. http://congoweek.org

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 3:08:00 PM

 
Blogger ewaffle said...

Laura--

I am currently reading Severine Autesserre's "The Trouble eith the Congo" now. She has a very thorough and systematic approach--much different from Prunier. Her method could almost be the anti-Prunier way of doing things, less interested in trying to cover everything that happened during the period 1995 to 2007 in central Africa and more interested in why such a large expenditure of people and resources was such an abysmal failure. She obviously knows her stuff.

Next will be either Lemarchand or Pierre Englebert's "Africa: Unity, Sovereignty, and Sorrow", whichever arrives first.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 4:58:00 PM

 
Blogger texasinafrica said...

Englebert's book is wonderful as well. Full disclosure: Severine is a good friend and Pierre was on my dissertation committee. I might be a bit biased. :)

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 8:19:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ friends of congo regarding the Spanish indictments, I find the Government of Rwanda's response quite persuasive. The judge has never set foot on Rwanda or the DRC and has not done any investigations, Rwanda and the Congo are sovereign countries that have their own courts, and the Spanish judge's jurisdiction is limited to Spanish territory. So this seems more political than anything else.

http://www.rwandaembassy-japan.org/en/themes/rwanda/rwanda_images/whatsnew/Communique.pdf

Thursday, September 02, 2010 2:27:00 PM

 
Blogger ColoredOpinions said...

anonymous, the mapping report seems to confirm the "anything else" part of the Spanish indictments.

Friday, September 03, 2010 7:27:00 AM

 
Blogger friends of congo said...

@Anonymous - The Spanish Courts are acting under the internationally recognized principle of "Universal Jurisdiction," which en bref means that heinous crimes such as torture, terrorism, other crimes against humanity and genocide can be tried in Spain even if they are alleged to have been committed elsewhere. The Spanish Courts used this same principle to indict former Chilean dictator Pinochet and Osama Bin Laden. As a result of complaints from Israel, China and conservative forces in Spain, the "universal jurisdiction" law was curbed in 2009 so that Spanish judges can only pursue universal justice cases if the crimes involve Spanish victims or the alleged perpetrators are in Spain.

The alleged crimes committed by the RPF in the Congo involved 8 Spanish Citizens five of whom were missionaries. The court indicted the top 40 Rwandan military officials on charges of "crimes of genocide, human rights abuses and terrorism" during the 1990s. We highly recommend that you read the Spanish indictment: http://friendsofthecongo.org/pdf/spanish_indictment.pdf

Again, the Spanish Courts and the International Court of Justice have been out front on this issue and now that the United Nations is about to put its imprimatur on long held allegations against Rwanda, the call for justice for the people of Congo and the Great Lakes is increasing. Below are a few excerpts from one of the most consulted Foreign Policy publication in Washington, "Foreign Policy," written by James Traub:

"Anneke Van Woudenberg, an authority on the Great Lakes region with Human Rights Watch, told me that, thanks to allies like the United States and Britain, "any attempt to present the information contained in this report has been blocked, subverted, or really discouraged." And that, in turn, has emboldened the Rwandans."

"What matters is that the United Nations will place its imprimatur on allegations that have been circulating for years. Rwanda's friends have allowed the country, quite literally, to get away with murder."

Statements such as the above would lead people on this board to calling you a fanatic, conspiracy theorists or through fantastic arguments attempt to discredit the sources we present but statements such as the above by Traub and Van Woudenberg are quickly becoming the common parlance among foreign policy analysts as a result of the UN report: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/09/03/judgment_day_for_rwanda?page=0,0

Saturday, September 04, 2010 4:53:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So how do you propose on bringing down Kagame? He's a good fighter, you know. Are you prepared to stand in the front line in this effort, or will you let others spill their blood for the benefit of your deranged sanctimony?

You can have stability, or you can have chaos. You can't have both. If people like you are so intent on returning the region to instability and chaos, then so be it. Perhaps that's the fate of the Great Lakes. It's certainly beginning to seem that way.

Monday, September 06, 2010 3:43:00 AM

 
Blogger friends of congo said...

@anon We are not sure what you mean by "deranged sanctimony." Nonetheless, it is really not about Kagame or bringing him down. It is about standing for justice, accountability and an end to the impunity (from local to international). We are not sure which stability you are referencing, since the 1990 RPF invasion of Rwanda and the subsequent US and British backed invasions of the Congo primarily by Rwanda and Uganda, millions of Africans have lost their lives and hundreds of thousands of African women have been systematically raped. Is this the stability you seek to preserve via Madeleine Albright and Bill Clinton's Renaissance African leaders? Surely, Africans can do better and will in spite of the enormous challenges we face.

Monday, September 06, 2010 8:22:00 AM

 
OpenID onedeadbudgie said...

FOC
What is deranged is your failure to attribute the blame for anything in the DRC to anyone other than Rwanda, the US and UK. Belgium and the US got rid of Lumumba and installed Mobutu. Over 30 years Congolese did nothing to overthrow him. He gave troops to the civil war in Rwanda and invited the genocidaires to escape into Kivu and continue their work from there. That decision of Mobutu was pretty key was it not? And then the French supplied them with weapons and all the NGOs with food. If you think that Rwanda should have sat back and let that situation continue, that is also deranged. It asked the UN to act but it did nothing.
Mobutu had run the country into the ground and that fact was also a major contributing factor towards the deaths. That was not Rwanda's fault.
Rwanda is peaceful and stable. This would not be the case if it had not acted to try to deal with the threat from within the DRC.
You say you want the Congolese to get justice as if someone is going to give it to them. Have Rwandans received justice?
What the DRC needs is leaders with integrity and political will who put developing the country above filling their own pockets.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010 7:34:00 AM

 
Blogger friends of congo said...

@ onedeadbudgie
The conclusions that you have drawn appear to emanate from this statement "Over 30 years Congolese did nothing to overthrow him."

We suggest that you acquire a better understand of Congolese history. You can do a google search on Shaba I and Shaba II. Look-up Pierre Mulele from whom the modern day Mai-Mai draw their name and inspiration. You can start here: http://friendsofthecongo.org/lumumba/freedom-fighters.html

Research the National Sovereign Conference and read professor Nzongola-Ntalaja's work "Congo: From Leopold to Kabila A People's History"

Any of the above will help in advancing a constructive dialogue based on an accurate reading of Congo's recent history. Otherwise the discussion will be reduced to name calling such as "deranged" this and that...

Wednesday, September 08, 2010 7:29:00 AM

 
OpenID onedeadbudgie said...

FOC
Harsh as it may seem, and I have heard Mulele described as a great patriot, he did not liberate his country. So Mobutu was able to run down the country and get involved in the Rwandan Civil War, although his troops were so indisciplined as to be useless, and draw that war into Zaire. The failure of Mulele and others and the actions of Mobutu - which had very serious consequences - were not the fault of Rwanda.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010 8:25:00 AM

 
Blogger ColoredOpinions said...

@onedeadbudgie and @friends of Congo

Mobutu faced internal peacefull opposition through Thisekedi's UDPS (a baluba), which is why Mobutu fromented the violence against baluba's in katanga (Lubumbashi, read the mapping report) in the early nineties.

To claim that a violent uprising against Mobutu would have resulted in better government can't be proven.

The fact that mainstream western press rarely reports on the courageous initiatives by civil society actors in Congo, certainly does not imply they did not exist over the last 30 years.

Friday, September 24, 2010 4:55:00 AM

 

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