Rwanda sending death squads to Britain: why is this news? By Nkunda

This is a blog post originally posted here by Nkunda Rwanda. Hard to extract excerpts. The whole thing is worth a read, and worth spreading.

By Nkunda Rwanda

Amid twitter battles between President Paul Kagame and journalists, there are credible reports suggesting that the Rwandan leader is seeking to eliminate his opponents living in Britain. The report first surfaced during the British royal weeding when the Rwandan envoy was given a warning.

According to a letter sent to two individuals by the London Metropolitan Police the attacks “could come in any form” including, “unconventional means”. The police further warn them to “Take such remedial action as you see fit to increase your own safety measures, e.g. house burglar alarms, change of daily routines, always walk with an associate,” adding that, “It may even be that you decide that it is more appropriate for you to leave the area for the foreseeable future.”

Speculations about this event have dominated discussion on Rwanda. The speculations fall into twofold: (1) whether the threats are credible, (2) whether the Rwanda government would pursue such an agenda clearly putting at risk her excellent relation with Britain. In my view, both speculations seem naïve and fail to appreciate the complexity of the Rwandan crisis. On one hand the Rwandan leader has carefully cultivated a brilliant media image; on the other hand his heavy handedness and contempt for democratic procedure is nothing new.

A simple question that needs to be asked and answered is why some people are still unwilling to believe that Kagame is a brutal leader, despite overwhelming evidence. If, as the UN Mapping report posits, the man is suspected of having committed genocide, would any other crime be too monstrous in his view? Even if we are to argue that the Mapping report is speculative, are we short of examples in which he has ordered the assassination of opponents? Certainly no one would say so. Just within the last one year, there are horrifying reports of assassination. The first one is that of journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage, whose car was sprayed with bullets in the city of Kigali during the day light. Another one is Denis Semadingwa, a protégé of Laurent Nkunda assassinated in the town of Gisenyi. Lastly, the vice president of the green party was found beheaded just months prior to the general elections. In all the cases above, the families put the blame squarely on the Kagame regime.

The successful assassinations of Seth Sendashonga and Theoneste Lizinde both in the streets of Nairobi are examples where Rwanda jeopardized international cooperation to commit extrajudicial in a foreign country. Following the assassination of Sendashonga, the Rwandan ambassador in Kenya was expelled and the embassy closed. News has it that Lizinde, who had fallen out with Kagame was among the few people who attended Kagame’s high command meeting approving the assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana. He was clearly a legitimate target in his view. Most recently, Rwanda has pursued Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa a major trade partner with Rwanda. Even more unthinkable is the timing: the fact that it was carried out during the world cup a time when South Africa was painfully trying to reassure the world of its ability to contain crime. South Africa would react by recalling its ambassador for “further consultations”.

Reacting to the news, Mathew Sinclair of the UK Tax Payers Alliance wrote, “What is really shocking though is that in a very real sense, our money is supporting the Government suspected of plotting murder in London.” My hope is that Britain will not merely terminate aid, which is sometimes easy and cowardly. I hope that they will use their aid as leverage for democratic progress including freedom of speech.

Philip Gourevitch, an Accessory to Mass Murder and Genocide in Central Africa?

Philip Gourevitch, award winning writer on Rwanda is on the defensive, peddling, spinning, attempting to find his way out of a web he’s woven around himself. One can’t tell right off the bat how he’s trapped himself or why he should feel the need to untangle himself.  But peddle he does, and spin he does as he defends himself against Tristan McConnell’s damning portrayal of his 15 year spin, excusing, justifying, and rationalizing crimes against humanity, oppressive dictatorship, and various other human rights violations committed by Kagame and the RPF/A.

It seems that Gourevitch found it inconvenient to acknowledge the acts of terrorism committed by Kagame and RPF/A, nor did he find it necessary to hold Kagame and the RPF/A responsible for it, as journalists so often do. And now he’s claiming, he’s not in Kagame’s pockets, peddling Kagame’s propaganda. Has he read his own work?

He did not find it convenient to inform the world, that Kagame and the RPF/A took up arms and killed and displaced Rwandan families for four years before the genocide or in what barbaric and heartless manner their deaths were carried out. Acknowledging that, and informing the world of such blasphemy would have thwarted his efforts of stigmatizing an entire group of people victimized by the same people he lauds, and would have meant that he would have had to report on the subsequent possible genocide that happened in the Congo. It was Philip Gourevitch who stigmatized aid organizations that provided aid to refugees in the Congo including food and water, after they survived Kagame’s terrorist organization’s (RPF) slaughter in Rwanda. Had Gourevitch had his way, the survivors of Kagame’s RPF’s slaughter, needed to have starved to death. How dare they retain life! And I’m not talking about the ostensible genocidaires (some of whom currently work for Kagame it turns out – Guest post coming soon!! ).

I suppose it is why Gourevitch found it satisfying that Kagame’s RPF followed them into the Congo, and slaughtered them. Why else would he have rationalized it, rather than calling international attention to it to be stopped? For Kagame to be deposed? But reporting on that, would have conflicted with the type of falsified image he was constructing, the one that elevated a terrorist organization to hero status, solidifying Kagame’s hold on the area, and on which Gourevitch has since benefited immensely both personally and professionally. And let me remind readers once again, that the slaughtered in the Congo, constituted majority women, children, and the elderly, according to the U.N.

In his response to Tristan, Gourevitch asserts that he reported on Kagame’s crimes. But rather, he defended Kagame with each key stroke, rationalized Kagame’s massive crimes against humanity, and defended Kagame’s rights to massively kill Rwandans and Congolese (reported by U.N. majority of whom were women, elderly, and childern), in the Congo. Even in his response to Tristan McConnell, Gourevitch attempts to minimize Kagame’s crimes, despite the overwhelming testimony and evidence, that Kagame has wrecked havoc in the Congo. Missing among the evidence and testimony, were Philip Gourevitch’s personal testimony of what he experienced on the ground, as he watched Kageme’s terrorist organization slaughter Rwandan refugees, and Congolese nationals while he dissuaded aid organizations from feeding them, exacerbating their demise. What he instead reported, was Kagame’s terrorist organization, exercise its justified right (according to Gourevitch and Kagame) to attack another country, and fight Kagame’s battles inside another country’s territory, and he was all too happy to report it, defend it, and inform the world about their organized and systemic killings, with a positive spin.

Can Philip Gourevitch effectively be considered an accessory to mass murder and genocide in Central Africa? How much damage has his award winning work done to the people of Central Africa? Is Philip Gourevitch truly interested in the people of Central Africa or his own prestige? If he is interested in the people, why does he continue to spin for Kagame, and to minimize Kagame’s crimes rather than facing them head on, and calling a spade a spade? Why does he resort to personal attacks of his critics, rather than their work? Why does he continue to undermine Kagame’s opposition and anyone who poses a real threat to not only Kagame’s falsified image (thanks Gourevitch!) but to Kagame’s power hold and an end to Kagame’s mass murder and impunity (thanks again Gourevitch!!)? And when will he finally, FINALLY, do the right thing, and put Kagame’s image, of which he is mostly responsible, in its proper context?

I wonder what Gourevitch was doing  between 1990 and 1994. Did he see Kagame’s RPF attack of a peaceful country as just another African tragic war that he did not need to get involved? Or did he not see a financial profitability opportunity? How would Gourevitch rationalize Kagame’s invasion of the Congo to the Congelese women and children? Would he convince them that they are genocidaires? Has Gourevitch come face to face with Kagame’s victims? Does he consider their stories to be unimportant enough to be told? Does he not wish to inform the world that their blight is important? That they matter? That Kagame should be brought to justice? What does Gourevitch say about the 6 million dead?

How much more will his upcoming book glorify Kagame at the expense of Central African people’s lives?

Stephen Kinzer to Kagame: Reconciliation, Confuses Human Rights Watchers

I can’t say that my little old blog had anything to do with it, but color me surprised! Stephen Kinzer is backtracking from his recent nonesensical tirade where he castigated human rights defenders and in particular Human Rights Watch for, wait for it….watching human rights in Rwanda!  Stephen Kinzer did not “lose the faith” because they were simply watching human rights and observing from a distance (perhaps with a nod of approval to top the watching?), but because they were watching, and documenting, and publicizing human rights violations committed by the Rwandan government against its people, and its neighbors.

A friend of the Rwandan leader, it makes sense that Stephen Kinzer would turn a blind eye to such massive crime as serious as crimes against humanity. How else would he maintain a good relationship standing with Kagame, and the continued sale of his book, A Thousand Hills: Rwanda’s Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It? But I did not expect him to stoop so low as to imply that colonialism, dictatorship, lack of democracy, state controlled media/journalism, repression, politically motivated incarceration and detention of critics, exiling of opponents, and other such privileges are not only good for Rwandans, but that they are a right which Human Rights Watch seems to be interfering with. With human rights champions like these…no wonder six million people are dead in the Congo, while writers sell books glorifying genocidaires and covering up for their crimes.

In a disingenuous attempt to deflect from his support of a genocidal regime, Stephen Kinzer backtracks on some of his statements, in a calculated and destructive way. Kinzer writes another article, claiming now, that the Rwandan leader is “authoritarian” because he refuses to listen to his former partners in crime (no pun intended) and fellow war criminals. Before this surprising piece of writing, Kinzer had claimed that “authoritarianism” is what Rwandans needed and in fact embraced it. But now, Kinzer claims Kagame should listen to these war criminals (at least certainly Kayumba Nyamwasa), because, wait for it….they used to work together and Kagame used to trust them. And because not listening to them, Kagame creates more enemies who are openly critical.

Did Kinzer seriously miss the part where Kagame waged a war on two three (we remember you too Uganda) different countries multiple times and committed possible genocide in one of the countries and arguably both? How enough is that to create enemies? It’s more important that Kagame listen to prominent opponents who used to work with him than the millions of voiceless victims and witness of Kagame’s brutality or other human rights defenders according to Kinzer. And it makes sense. Kagame’s fellow war criminals do carry his secrets after all, which they might spill, thereby exposing both Kagame for the crimes he committed, and Kinzer for his cover up.  It’s also the reason that rather than advocate for the release of  jailed “alleged” collaborators with terrorist groups like Victoire Ingabire, and genocide survivor and dissident Deo Mushayidi, Kinzer advises Kagame to rely on proven and indicted war criminals instead.

Does Kinzer truly have Rwandans in his mind and heart? Or is he mostly interested in the continued success of genocidaire Kagame, and the continued uninterrupted sales of his book? Kinzer makes no mention of Victoire Umuhoza or other political prisoners, makes no mention of murdered opposition candidate and independent journalists, makes no mention of the possible genocide in the Congo, but instead advises Kagame to reconcile with his fellow war criminals, because they are prominent, and he used to trust them.

Dear Stephen Kinzer, are you serious? You would trust Kayumba Nyamwasa, indicted by two different independent judicial systems for war crimes and crimes against humanity, to provide insight into democracy and recovery from war and genocide? You would trust Karegeya on matters of free states before trusting unfairly jailed Bernard Ntaganda, or Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, a mother and peaceful resistant, and someone who has never committed crimes against humanity against anyone? You would advise Kagame to reconcile with other war criminals, at least cut their sentences short (by your implication that the sentences are “severe”) before reconciling with Deo Mushayidi who lost all his family members in the genocide? You would recommend Kagame take advice from top prosecutor, responsible for countless infractions in Rwanda, Gerald Gahima to be trusted with matters of reconciliation and democracy before Deo Mushayidi?

Really?

Are you serious?

Are you trying to help the people of Rwanda or did I miss something? You do realize that when some of these people worked with Kagame they were killing people right?

Is Stephen Kinzer Serious? Who is the REAL Imperialist?

It’s a sad day when backed into a corner, formerly credible journalists resort to shamelessly defending issues, causes, and people known to be destructive to humanity, especially when they have helped them get there. This is Stephen Kinzer’s job today when it comes to Rwanda. He helped construct the myth of a seraphic Kagame. But with mounting evidence against Kagame’s human rights violations record, Kinzer is scrambling to maintain the fallacy by any means necessary, even by going so far as to undermine human rights organizations. Kinzer knows he is defending a criminal. And as the criminal becomes more and more exposed and ostracized, Kinzer’s credibility as well as his pocket change are likely to take a hit.  What happens when a journalist finds himself in such a difficult situation? Does he do the morally sound thing and speak in unisom with the world’s most vulnerable population? Or does he continue to defend his criminal friend despite how irrational and blatantly imperialistic his defense may be?

In a recent article, Stephen Kinzer chose the latter. He informs us that he finally broke with the human rights community once they published and publicized Kagame’s crimes. Kinzer says:

The place where I finally broke with my former human-rights comrades was Rwanda.

Kinzer says that admiration from other dictators (referred to in the article as ‘other heads of states in africa’ ) and their attendance of Kagame’s inauguration are proof that Kagame is not a brutal repressive dictator. Either Kinzer forgot that Kagame was the biggest threat to democracy in his country at the run-up of the elections, or he supports the kind of sham election that excludes all viable opposition parties, imprisons opposition leaders, and exiles and murders independent journalists. Kinzer clarifies his position by informing readers of his support for this kind of repression from an African leader. Kinzer continues,

By my standards, this authoritarian regime is the best thing that has happened to Rwanda since colonialists arrived a century ago. My own experience tells me that people in Rwanda are happy with it, thrilled at their future prospects, and not angry that there is not a wide enough range of newspapers or political parties.

With a straight face he says that. He mis-characterizes what rights Rwanda’s been violating as justified since they were demanded in the context of “ethnicity,” disregarding the fact that any time Kagame and company are faced with any threat for democracy they reduce everything down to “ethnic” divisionism and imprison those who threaten them with  democratic ideals. Kinzer is okay with that. He also believes that instead of documenting human rights violations, Human Rights Watch should instead sycophantically praise Rwanda. It would be funny, if it weren’t so serious. Just ask this guy. Kinzer doesn’t believe the guy deserves his right to life as an opposition figure to Kagame.

Kinzer continues,

Human Rights Watch wants Rwandans to be able to speak freely about their ethnic hatreds, and to allow political parties connected with the defeated genocide army to campaign freely for power. (emphasis mine)

Kinzer is afraid of democracy in Rwanda. Democracy in Rwanda is a threat to Kagame, and a threat to Kagame is not only a threat to Kinzer’s credibility and pay check. Kinzer, so shamelessly imperialistic has the gall to say that by calling out human rights violations in Rwanda, Human Rights Watch is leading Rwanda on the path to another genocide instead. He forgets that Kagame is the one continuing his genocidal plan which he started 20 years ago.

It has come to this: all that is necessary for another genocide to happen in Rwanda is for the Rwandan government to follow the path recommended by Human Rights Watch.

But where was Stephen Kinzer in 1990 when Kagame attacked a peaceful nation and started a four year war that culminated in the genocide of 1994, and out for more blood, continued and committed genocide in the Congo? Where was Stephen Kinzer when the RPF violated the Arusha peace accords which would allow them to return to Rwanda peacefully, and campaign freely within the country as another political opposition party? This is the same right Kagame and Kinzer are denying other Rwandans who are doing it peacefully and not forcing a peace agreement by the gun unlike Kagame and the RPF. Where was Kinzer when the RPF assassinated two heads of states? Where was Kinzer when the RPF refused international intervention to stop the genocide and the war violence, but instead prolonged the conflict until they had secured the whole country? Where was Kinzer when the RPF and Kagame went into the Congo and committed genocide there? Where was Kinzer in 1996? 1998? 2000? And subsequent years when Kagame’s army ravished the Congo, with only the Congolese people as the real loser of each one of their incursions? Where was Kinzer when the UN released a mapping report documenting the most serious human rights  violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1993 and 2003, where an alleged possible genocide was committed by Rwandan troops?

And most importantly, where is Kinzer today? Where is his altruistic non colonial and non imperialistic proclivities for defending human rights instead of businesses? I have not seen Kinzer speak out on behalf of Congolese. Instead he defends Kagame’s right to deny others rights, and to violate their human rights, and commit crimes against humanity against them.

Is Kinzer really interested in human rights? Or is he interested in human rights violations profit? He praises the most recent Human Rights Watch appointment because it’s “potentially” one that will remain silent on Kagame’s crimes. Kinzer is happy with Rwandans living under a dictatorship, without any ability to express their free political will, nor their right to oppose the opposition, or the right to express their thoughts and ideas on political repression. According to Kinzer and his western prescriptions, lowering their standards, demanding less from an oppressor is not only good for Rwandans, it is RIGHT.

And somehow, in this twisted world we live in, Human Rights Watch is the imperialist, according to altruistic and benevolent human rights defenders like Kinzer.

A Look Back on 2010 – A Damning Year for Kagame

2010 was a quiet year for Back To My Roots, but a damning one for Kagame and his cronies. Time after time, and location after location criminal Kagame was challenged, discredited, and outright humiliated. 2010 was very much a damning year for Kagame, and one can only be filled with glee at the prospects of 2011. I can’t promise that blogging will be more regular, but it should be a good year to challenge the Kagame & Co narrative about what happened in Rwanda, who was responsible for what, and who is getting away with murder. The world now knows what Kagame did in Congo, and it’s only a matter of time before the establishment of Rwanda narrative, and the discovery by many, and the acknowledgment of institutions of Kagame & Co’s substantial crimes against humanity.

Earlier in the year, Kagame’s biggest thorn in his side touched down in Kigali. And since then, it’s been nothing but a downward spiral for Kagame. A self-identified Hutu, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza went to challenge Kagame and the RPF for the presidency of Rwanda. She was attacked by a mob, had her goods stolen (and returned), and her party was prevented from registering to take part in the elections. She was put on house arrest, and was subsquently placed in a maximum security prison, where she remains today. The other presidential hopeful, Bernard Ntaganda of the party PS-Imberakuri was also arrested, along with dissident Deo Mushayidi. Left and right news papers were closed down, writers, editors, and publishers exiled, and even murdered. An American law professor and ICTR lawyer was arrested in Rwanda but eventually released due to diplomatic pressures. He is now wanted back in Rwanda “Dead or Alive.’ Eventually, an “election” did take place, where Kagame of RPF ran against himself and won against himself with a 93% of the vote. In a bizarre move, a war crimes prosecutor, attended his inauguration, and not for reasons you might expect, but to attempt to gather heads of states against another African war criminal. Among his other bizarre and ironic guests were Congolese President Kabila. And that was all just inside Rwanda.

Though Rwanda, Kagame, and the RPF were being reckless (a very generous term) within the country, the story abroad was another matter. When Kagame visited a Oklahoma Christian University in the USA he was not only met with demonstrators, but was served with a lawsuit for his crimes in Rwanda and Congo.  He allegedly had to take a back door route to get into the university due to the demonstrators. When he visited Spain in the middle of the Summer, the Prime Minister of Spain Zapatero not only refused to meet with him but he was met with a crowd of protesters as well. In August, a UN Mapping Report document the most serious violations to take place in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1993 and 2003 was leaked to the press. The Report alleged that Rwandan troops may have committed “possible genocide” within DRC during that period. The same report was later released in October, alleging the same crimes. In September, a Spanish delegation arrived to protest Kagame’s Millenium Goals co-chairship with the Spanish president Zapatero. When he went to Europe for the European Development Days, Kagame was met with a fervor of protestors, passionately demonstrating against his crimes in crimes in Central Africa. Kagame was so humiliated he left without giving his planned speech. The Netherlands withheld their aid from Rwanda, driving home the point that it is not alright for criminals to be rewarded. And finally, a French judge filed charged against Kagame’s allies.

It was a quiet year for Back To My Roots, but a very big one for hits against Kagame, his army, and his party’s reputation, integrity, and credibility. The furor is abundant. And though he continues to receive support from his western “friends” their blind support only serves to reinforce their complicity in his crimes.

Here is to an even stronger year ahead for progress against Kagame’s RPF their associates. It’s a lot of work, but the momentum is building.

Related: 2008 Year in Review

BTMR and New Cyber Space Company

It’s been almost two years since Back To My Roots started. And when it did, it was the first of its kind, and so desperately needed. But since then, more and more blogs have sprung up, all committed to exposing the murderous and repressive regime represented and led by Paul Kagame. And in English. I am very sure I do not have an exhaustive list of blogs talking about Rwanda, but here is a short list. If you know any more, or come across others, post them in the comments.

Democracy Watch Rwanda

Cry For Freedom in Rwanda

The Rising Continent

The Proxy Lake

And honorable mention to Friends of Evil. A transparent PR move by the Rwandan govt to “expose” genocide deniers, or in reality, those committed to challenging, and exposing the Kagame war machine. Starting with Kagame and his army’s responsibility in war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide crimes, in Rwanda and Congo. Really, the blog was put up to deny the RPF’s crimes, both in Rwanda, and Congo. Ironic.

ETA: All Blogs have been added to the “Rwanda in Focus” feed on the right hand side of my blog, formerly named “Hidden Notes About Rwanda” and will also be added to blogroll. Check them out, read them, and spread them.

BTMR – Quick Note on 2011 Blogging

So, my co-blogger and I have been very quiet for a while. We are still alive and well, which just so happens to be hard to maintain as a critic of Kagame, just ask this guy. No, that’s not a joke, nor is it funny. It’s a display of the kind of tolerance Kagame and company have for critics and opposition candidates. BTMR has not been updated for a number of reasons but Kagame’s repression has not been one of them, thankfully.

I will be in and out periodically. For readers interested in keeping up with BTMR, I recommend you subscribe both to the posts and the comments to keep up with happenings.

I expect a lot more developments coming out of Rwanda in 2011. So this is the year to keep your eyes out for the news, and watch as Kagame slowly shrivels, combusts, and eventually destructs.

A few posts are on the way. So again, due to fact that there might not be regular updates, please subscribe so you will know when the blog has been updated.

Other than that, see you in the comments section!

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