CNN’s Christian Amanpour and Dallaire Shake Hands With Kagame to Spread Propaganda: Scream BLOODY MURDER!

gravatarI recently watched a CNN Special documentary by Chief International Correspondent Christian Amanpour, Scream Blood Murder. The documentary highlighted various genocides that occurred in the 20th century. It also gave Christian Amanpour a forum to lavish praise on various “heroes” within those genocidal contexts, who “screamed bloody murder” and yet their calls went unheeded by the global humanitarian community.

Unfortunately for me, or maybe for her, Amanpour has very little credibility in my eyes as far as her reporting. Therefore, I took everything she said with a grain of salt. My cynicism of her credibility was reaffirmed when she finally reached the section of Rwanda and the Rwandan genocide, and failed to include an ounce of truth in her reporting. To her credit, she did stress that many people died and some in some very cruel ways, while making sure to exploite the genocidal images of dead bodies floating in bodies of water, disconnected limbs, and skulls and bones to make her point.

If you did not know that people died during these genocides, now you know. But don’t take her word for it, WATCH IT. Over, and over, and over again. Hopefully by watching it so much, her purpose will be served. You see, by constantly being exposed to these images, as anyone who watched the documentary was, people will probably be desensitized to these images and might no longer care whether they see floating bodies. The shock value will have diminished, and it will seem like just another day in indigenous people’s lives around the world where the living and the dead coexist, constantly reminded of past traumas and atrocities, unable to heal and move forward. But the point WAS to move forward and past the traumas right Amanpour or were you just “reporting”?

The undertone of her reporting? Indigenous, non European people’s (well except Bosnia) around the world are savages, and through their savagery committed terrible crimes with and against each other, and it took a various western straight white males to notice and call out the horrors. I mean I don’t have to tell you but, EVERYONE knows how straight white males are the paragon of moral and ethical standards and practices. (note the sarcasm)

In each of her profiles except the last one for Darfur, a straight white male was the focus of honorable action, and courageous fight on behalf of indigenous people (a white French priest for Cambodians, a white American for Iraqis, another white American for Bosnians, and a white Canadian soldier for Rwandans) . Each of the people highlighted gave themselves to their causes, taking great risks, and questioning various super powers and demanding action, and often failing. For Rwanda, the featured heroic westerner was Romeo Dallaire, write of the fictitious book Shake Hands With the Devil.

Amanpour starts off the piece on Rwanda by claiming that Dallaire was brought in “to monitor peace agreements between Hutus and Tutsis” thereby creating the falsified framework in which viewers are supposed to understand Dallaire’s role and “why he did what he did.” Amanpour fails to report that the peace agreements were not between Hutus and Tutsis and neither was the conflict that evolved and eventually culminated into the Rwandan genocide. Instead, she simplifies what happened as is typical when reporting on African politics, and fails to inform viewers that the conflict Dallaire was monitoring started when Rwanda was attacked and invaded by a rebel group from neighboring Uganda. She also fails to tell viewers that these rebels terrorized Rwandans for three years, before the arrival of our heroic Dallaire. Was nobody screaming “bloody murder” then when a sovereign nation was attacked by another nation through the rebels, or did Amanpour happen to be off that da…er three years?

After quickly skipping over all these facts, Amanpour brings us to 1994 when the genocide started. But before that, we are told that Dallaire tried to warn “the international community” that there was a genocide being planned through his infamous fax. But Christ Black a lead counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania already disputed the legitimacy, and credibility of such a fax.

This fax is the single document upon which the claims of a planned genocide rest. It was supposedly sent by General Dallaire to General Baril, another Canadian general at the Dept of Peace Keeping Operations in New York. It sets out the claims of a UN informant named Jean Pierre Turatsinze that the ruling government party planned to exterminate Tutsis, was training civilians for that purpose and that there was a plan to kill Belgian soldiers to provoke the withdrawal of UN forces. This fax has been trumpeted by the ICTR prosecution as the key to the plan to commit genocide. However, all the evidence presented at the Tribunal and elsewhere establishes that, in fact, the fax is a fabrication. (emphasis mine)

In his article Rwanda, “Shake Hands with the Devil”. General Dallaire’s film fails “Reality Check” writer Robin Philpot states the following in Dallaire’s own words about the planning of a genocide:

On September 14, 1994, he [Dallaire] took part in an important French-language television program in Montréal. Dallaire was just back from Rwanda. When asked a question about a plan to exterminate Tutsis, here’s how he answered.

“The plan was more political. The aim was to eliminate the coalition of moderates….. I think that the excesses that we saw were beyond people’s ability to plan and organize. There was a process to destroy the political elements in the moderate camp. There was a breakdown and hysteria absolutely…. But nobody could have foreseen or planned the magnitude of the destruction we saw.” (Note: people who understand French can listen to these excerpts on the Montreal CIBL community radio web site http://cibl1015.com/node/52742

That is how Dallaire spoke when he just got back. “Nobody could have planned it all”.

Yet, Amanpour and Dallaire now both want us to believe that there was a planned genocide by Hutus towards Tutsis.

The misinformation keeps piling up as Amanpour informs viewers of that fateful event that set all the killings into action. She does mention that the Rwandan president’s plane was shot down, but fails to address why that event was significant aside from the fact that, after it happened, savage Hutus went on a killing rampage to exterminate any and all Tutsis they could find, or any moral and upstanding “moderate Hutu” who took a stand against the killing. Instead, Amanpour states the assassination of the two presidents “was the moment Hutus were waiting for” implying that perhaps the Hutus were responsible for killing the president, so that they would have an excuse to carry out their genocidal plans. Writer Robin Philpot points out the following however,

All information, all research and all investigations, and especially Judge Bruguière’s, now point to Paul Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Front.

And this information has been around so much so that even a Spanish Judge found similar damning information, and even one of Kagame’s top aid has now been arrested per the arrest warrants issued by the Spanish and French. No mention of any of that from the Amanpour documentary though. Kind of odd but also expected.

After giving Dallaire a forum to answer “tough” questions regarding the horrific events in Rwanda, such as “how did you feel”, she fails to question Dallaire’s allegiance to the RPF and Paul Kagame. In his article Re-writing the History of the Rwandan Genocide, Robin Philpot states this of Dallaire:

In the field, according to Booh-Booh [the Chief of the 1994 United Nations Mission in Rwanda], Dallaire abandoned his military responsibilities to do politics, though that was not his job, and he violated the principle of neutrality by becoming the objective ally of the RPF. Moreover, Dallaire’s “duplicity” was widely known in UN mission circles.

Amanpour  fails to question why Dallaire, a UN worker, helped a rebel group that invaded a sovereign and peaceful country, kill millions of people all for the eventual power grab that they now enjoy.

I was starting to wonder whether there were ANY, and I mean any indigenous person who advocated on behalf of their people when Kagame was brought into the picture as the brave indigenous hero and I almost fell off my chair and died. I was not surprised to see Kagame in the documentary, in fact I would have been surprised not to see him. But to see that even though Dallaire failed, Kagame triumphed anyway left me weak. What are you doing to me Amanpour? Are you an accomplice to the whole Dallaire/Kagame propaganda? Quite transparently so! And I can’t wrap my mind around what parallel universe Dallaire screamed bloody murder on/for.

Really, CNN? Do better.

The Acronym IN.YE.NZI: A Symbol of Bravery

On the 4th of December 2008, CNN aired a two-hour documentary on genocides titled: Scream Bloody Murder. In this documentary, the reporter, Christiane Amanpour, reminded the audience that a common strategy used by most genocidaires is to dehumanize their victims prior to killing them. In Cambodia for instance, the Khmer Rouge called their victims “Worms” while in Rwanda , the Hutu extremists called their victims “Inyenzi”, a Rwandan word that translates into Cockroaches in English.

Although it is absolutely outrageous to call a human being a cockroach, it is important to know that in Rwanda, up to date, the acronym “IN.YE.NZI”, not to be confused with the Rwandan word “Inyenzi “, has a positive connotation owing to the tactic used by a Tutsi rebel movement that devastated the First Republic of Rwanda throughout the 1960s.

The Origin of the Acronym IN.YE.NZI

The acronym “IN.YE.NZI”, not to be confused with the Rwandan word “Inyenzi” which translates into cockroaches in English, was coined by a Tutsi rebel named Aloys Ngurumbe back in the early 1960s. In two separate interviews, one with Rangira and Kalinganire from the Rwandan Newspaper KANGUKA No 52 (one of the Rwandan pro-RPF Newspapers in the 1990s), published on February 12th, 1992 and another one with the BBC on November 8th, 2003, Aloys Ngurumbe proudly explained that IN.YE.NZI is an acronym of the following words: ‘INgangurarugo yiYemeje kuba ingeNzi”. These two interviews can be accessed online at Rwanda Development Gateway and Inshuti websites.

Originally, the acronym IN.YE.NZI, and by extension the word Inyenzi, had a positive connotation to do with the tactic used by this rebel movement. According to Dr Jean-Marie Vianney Higiro, Ingangurarugo was an army division under Kigeli Rwabugili, a Tutsi King who ruled Rwanda at the end of the 19th century. Hence, the acronym IN.YE.NZI means a member of Ingangurarugo who has committed himself to bravery.

Etymologically, the word ingangurarugo comes from “kugangura urugo rw’ibwami” or “to provoke trouble at the king’s court.” When Rwabugili was still a child, he and his friends attacked Rwogera’s (his father) court and took away his cattle. More broadly then, ingangurarugo then means troublemakers. Aloys Ngurumbe clearly stated that his comrades chose this label for the guerrilla movement. It was not chosen by the extremist Hutus to whom it is now attributed in many writings on the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

In a recent interview with James Munyaneza from the Kigali New Times (Rwanda’s First Daily Newspaper), David Munyurangabo, a former member of the IN.YE.NZI rebel movement and therefore Ngurumbe’s comrade, confirmed the above information in these words: “My participation [in the Rwanda’s liberation] falls in the category of Rwandans who had been expelled from their country. I was part of Ingangurarugo [yiyemeje kuba Ingenzi] a rebel group formed shortly after the 1959 Tutsi expulsion from Rwanda, which then the Rwandan authorities nicknamed Inyenzi (Cockroaches)”.

The “IN.YE.NZI” Civil War

This is a war that was directed against the First Republic of Rwanda by the Tutsi rebels who were exiled in neighboring countries, especially in Uganda and in Burundi, in the aftermath of the Rwandan Revolution of 1959. This war was a deliberate attempt to regain power by force. In the 1960s, the IN.YE.NZI rebels would attack at night and kill innocent Rwandan civilians. Then they would rapidly vanish in the countryside or retreat into Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda or ex-Zaire (DRC).The IN.YE.NZI rebel movement was supported by some Communists Powers of that time, while the Rwandan Government could rely on its Western allies for support, especially Belgium.

The “IN.YE.NZI” war left serious impacts not only in the Hutu-Tutsi relationships but also in the Rwanda’s politico-socio- economic situation. As a direct consequence of the IN.YE.NZI civil war, during the First Republic of Rwanda led by President Gregoire Kayibanda from 1962-1973, the Tutsi inside Rwanda were marginalized in almost all social sectors, a situation that substantially improved during the Second Republic of Rwanda led by President Juvenal Habyarimana from 1973-1994.

The “IN.YE.NZI” Rebels Fuelled Hatred, Pleading Bravery

Due to the ability of the IN.YE.NZI rebels to terrorize the country by killing innocent civilians and to disappear shortly after, when the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) came in, the Rwandan population associated the IN.YE.NZI rebels with the Rwandan word Inyenzi, which translates into cockroaches in English, mostly due to the ability of the IN.YE.NZI rebels to hit-and-run overnight.

Cockroaches as you may know are annoying bugs that disappear when somebody turns on the light. It is very difficult to get rid of them at once. During the First Republic of Rwanda, the terminology Inyenzi became a generic label for the IN.YE.NZI rebels. During the Rwandan civil war launched by the RPF-INKOTANYI in 1990, sympathizers of President Juvenal Habyarimana and other Hutus opposed to the RPF’s ideology usually applied the label Inyenzi to their political opponents, even though the Tutsi rebels had dropped the acronym IN.YE.NZI for the word INKOTANYI.

Originally, the Rwandan word INKOTANYI means a militia that belonged to the Tutsi King Rwabugili in the 19th century.  During his reign, Rwabugili bludgeoned the majority Hutus into submission. More importantly, Rwabugili waged wars throughout the Great Lakes Region of Africa until his death in 1895. Unfortunately, because of tenacious memories of Rwabugili’s oppression that still resonates in many Rwandans, the term INKOTANYI was widely used during the Rwandan civil war from 1990 to 1994 by Hutu propagandists to link the Tutsi-led RPF guerrilla movement in the minds of Hutus with memories of past Tutsi oppression.

During their interviews, former IN.YE.NZI combatants, Aloys Ngurumbe and David Munyurangabo, failed to clarify what they meant when they adopted the acronym IN.YE.NZI to be their symbol of bravery. As Rwandans, Ngurumbe and Munyurangabo might have been aware of how dehumanizing the term would be should the Rwandan population decide to associate their comrades with the Rwandan word Inyenzi (cockroaches). This situation was mostly predictable for two main reasons: 1) both the acronym IN.YE.NZI and the Rwandan word Inyenzi spell and sound exactly the same in Kinyarwanda and 2) the bravery that goes with the acronym IN.YE.NZI would become meaningless with regard to Inyenzi (cockroaches) which are really annoying but defenseless.

The current RPF-INKOTANYI leadership has always referred to the “IN.YE.NZI” civil war and to its tragic consequences for the Rwandan society as part of a genocide plan masterminded by Hutu extremists, a genocide that started with the Rwandan Revolution in 1959 and attained its paroxysm in 1994 with the Rwandan genocide.

However, one should not ignore that if fueling hatred among Rwandans and incitation to commit acts of genocide was the intention lying behind the acronym IN.YE.NZI, the leaders of the IN.YE.NZI rebel movement that ravaged Rwanda in the 1960s should be held accountable for all of the cycles of violence that characterized the First Republic of Rwanda not to mention the Rwandan civil war launched by the RPF-INKOTANYI from the Ugandan territory in 1990 and ultimately ended with the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

Fuelling Hatred, Pleading Free Speech

During the Rwandan civil war in the 1990s, Hutu propagandists were not the only ones to misuse the media by dehumanizing their opponents as some Tutsi propagandists similarly dehumanized the Hutus who did not fully embrace the RPF’s ideology and were de facto labeled as “Extremist Hutus” instead of “Moderate Hutus”. From 1990 to 1994, many Rwandans who used to listen to RPF Radio MUHABURA attest that, the RPF leadership also used its radio to air programs that were deemed to fuel hatred among Rwandans. Unfortunately, upon coming to power in July 1994, the RPF leadership destroyed any evidence for such programs.

Nevertheless, the best illustration of how the Tutsi extremists also dehumanized the Hutus is a poem called ‘Nsingize Gisa Umusore Utagira Uko Asa’ (A Tribute to Gisa, a Young Man With an Indescribable Beauty) written by Dr Alexander Kimenyi, that appeared in the newspaper IMPURUZA (No 17) published in December 1990, just two months after the beginning of the Rwandan civil war of 1990s.

“You are a bullfighter who launched a war to free the Nobles [Tutsi]
Since you decided to use the entire arsenal
The termites [Hutu] will run out of the country
Just a few days before the first shell has landed
Those wild rats, corrupted crooks [Hutu] are already panic-stricken
They are looters, hooligans, and killers [Hutu]
I see those traitors with bloated cheeks [Hutu] running in panic and disarray
Those thieves [Hutu] are troublemakers.
The ugly creatures
[the Tutsi mythology preaches that people of Hamitic origin (Tutsi) are generally handsome, whereas people of Bantu origin (Hutu) are ugly]
are insane and furious.
They are the enemies of Rwanda.
They are nothing but a bunch of dishonorable dirt”.

In this poem, the young man with an indescribable beauty is Fred Rwigema, a Ugandan General and a Rwandan Tutsi in Diaspora, who led the RPF’s invasion of Rwanda on October 1st 1990. In his testimony to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Abdul Ruzibiza attests that Rwigema was quickly killed by some of his soldiers.  Among other things, Fred Rwigema was killed because of his strong opposition on how the war was meant to be conducted: He was absolutely opposed to any killing of innocent civilians even in the case they were reluctant to quickly embrace the RPF ideology. After Rwigema’s death, Yoweri Museveni, the current President of Uganda, called upon Paul Kagame, the current President of Rwanda. Kagame was then the Chief of Military Intelligence in the Ugandan Army and was also on a fellowship in the United States being trained by the U.S. military Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was asked to return to Uganda and take up a position as the commander of the invading forces.

The IMPURUZA newspaper was one of the best known newspapers of the Rwandan Tutsi in diaspora. It was published in the United States from 1984 to 1994.  As Dr Jean-Marie Vianney Higiro asserted, the Rwandan word IMPURUZA is the name of a drum, which in pre-colonial Rwanda was beaten to call able men to war. In the first issue of the IMPURUZA newspaper, its editor, Dr Alexandre Kimenyi, -a Rwandan national and a Professor at California State University, in Sacramento- explained:  “The reason why we chose this name is to remind us [Rwandan Tutsis in Diaspora] that we too are at war and that we have to continue to show heroism”.

Shortly after the PRF’s victory, Dr Alexandre Kimenyi became a dissident of the RPF. In his biography, Dr Alexandre Kimenyi attests that when RPF got in power, it was hijacked by a group of individuals who betrayed the ideas and ideals which had made it a very popular movement. Dr Alexandre Kimenyi has founded his own political party AMAHORO-People’s Congress (AMAHORO-PC).

Conclusion

Paul Kagame, the current Rwandan President, continues to dismiss calls for justice, fairness and end of the culture of impunity widespread in the African Great Lakes Region. He alleges that such calls are politically motivated efforts to place his liberation army on the same moral plane as mass murderers and thereby weaken his government’s moral authority.

Indeed, with the capture of Kigali by RPF, on July 4, 1994, the simultaneous killings of both Tutsis and Hutus finally came to a temporary halt. It is widely known that after Kigali’s capture by the RPF, the rebels continued killing Hutu civilians and other Tutsi and Twa dissenters in what has now come to be absurdly rationalized as their “reprisal killings.”  Just as in the course of the civil war, a large numbers of Hutu civilians were deliberately massacred by RPF troops – a fact substantiated in the so-called Gersony report named after the UN official who investigated the killings. After the RPF took over power, an even greater number of Hutu lost their lives within and outside Rwanda at their hands.

According to Dr Alexandre Kimenyi, former member of the IN.YE.NZI movement, and former Director of Research and Documentation within the RPF Executive Committee, RPF soldiers did not stop genocide. Instead, RPF soldiers committed mass murder in the process of “liberating Rwanda” not collaterally but deliberately. There is no shortage of witnesses, survivors, and documentations of RPA massacres before, during, and after genocide such as: Compendum of some RPF crimes, Rwanda: Alarming resurgence of killings, and Rwanda: Ending the silence to name just a few.

Therefore, as Dr Guillaume Murere pointed it out all the experts remain certain: the killings in 1994 were so systematic that they must have been pre-planned. Then, one must ask, who was the planner? Who was the mastermind? Since investigations of the Rwandan Government’s part have (so far) failed to find any evidence of pre-planning by Hutus, would it not be logical to investigate the other warring side, that is, the RPF-INKOTANYI and the IN.YE.NZI guerrilla movements?

Basic human rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of the press, justice for all, opening up of political space for competition of ideas and power – should be guaranteed to all the Rwandan people. These basic human rights should be sustained by real economic development, which should promote equal opportunities for all Rwandans instead of the current myth on the economic prosperity in Rwanda. Otherwise underground networks will channel social discontent and an explosion of violence will likely occur again.

 

Young Hutus are massively joining FDLR to escape “oppression” from Kigali

A recent article from Belgian International Radio Television channel (RTBF) has reported that young Rwandan men are massively fleeing Rwanda to join the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR)in eastern DRC. Unfortunately, only the French version of the article is available online and can be found here (http://www.rtbf.be/info/monde/de-jeunes-hutu-joignent-les-fdlr-pour-fuir-loppression-de-kigali-60789 ). However, I have also provided the English version below. 

Paul Kagame, the current Rwandan president, claims that Rwandans must view themselves only as Rwandans and stop using the words “Hutu” and “Tutsi”.
This view is mostly meant to convince western sponsors that RPF is doing a great job at bringing about unity and reconciliation in Rwanda.

On the ground, the untold truth is that this view is mainly meant to cover up not only the RPF’s fear about facing democratic elections in Rwanda but also the RPF ‘s inability to handle the actual state of Hutu-Tutsi problems in Rwanda. 

Since coming to power in 1994, the RPF regime has been desperately trying to underestimate and ignore the existence of such Hutu-Tutsi problems in Rwanda. Several testimonies from the FDLR new recruits attest that the citizens in Rwanda (majority who happen to be Hutu farmers) are exploited under a highly sophisticated economic system to the full benefits of the RPF and other ruling elites.

In order to set up a joint operational plan to uproot the FDLR in eastern DRC, several high-level meetings between Rwandan and DRC officials have been taking place for years but all of them failed to come up with any realistic solution to this crisis (http://www.newtimes.co.rw/index.php?issue=13735&article=11441).

It is important to recall that one should not ignore that the origin of the current DRC crisis is in Kigali not in the eastern DRC. The presence of the FDLR combatants in DRC is a direct consequence of the RPF sinister plan in the DRC. 

Indeed, in the aftermaths of the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Rwanda has invaded the DRC twice, in order to track down the ex-Rwandan Army Forces (FAR) inside the DRC, exterminate them, and install its allies in Kinshasa.

To achieve this goal, the RPF massacred at least 200,000 Rwandan refugees inside the DRC. It even tried hard to conceal evidence for these mass killings by burning victim corpses and scattering the ashes away in the forest and/ or in the river.

These proxy wars inside the DRC forced some survivors of the massacres of the Rwandan refugee of 1996 and 1997 by the RPF soldiers to stand up and defend themselves against these strenuous enemies.

The birth of the FDLR in DRC was a direct consequence of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and the RPF sinister plan in the DRC.
Therefore, attempting to solve the current DRC crisis without addressing its root causes that are in Rwanda, is nothing else than pulling the wool over the public opinion’s eyes.

Despite the fact that up to date, Rwanda continues to stir deadly brew of troubles in Congo (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/04/world/africa/04congo.html), there are still reasons to believe that the Obama administration might not follow the same failed US foreign policies of the past in Africa.

A realistic approach to the current DRC crisis should include tackling the current political deadlock in Kigali. In other words, a democratically elected government is urgently needed in Kigali.

Such a democratically elected government in Kigali would not need to sponsor any armed groups in eastern DRC. In addition, a democratically elected government in Kigali would refuse to offer back-up bases to any Congolese armed groups whose rebellions would therefore die off shortly.

Concerning the FDLR combatants, a democratically elected government in Kigali would not be afraid to directly discuss with them. Direct talks between these combatants and the democratically elected government in Kigali would set up new relationships under which the armed struggle would become meaningless.

The FDLR combatants would therefore not have any reason to refuse to face justice in Rwanda, should some of them have to respond for their acts, just as any other Rwandan in similar situation would have to, especially the RPF members who are internationally accused of several crimes, including crimes against humanity.

Finally, a democratically elected government in Kigali would provide impartial justice for all Rwandans without any discrimination. There will be no need to send the FDLR combatants elsewhere. Their home is in Rwanda not any where else.

According to Professor Peter Erlinder, the decision to end the current DRC crisis should come from the US and the UK, the only countries that have the power to not only remove any support for the military and economic crimes of their allies in the region but also to cut off any private capitals that continue to fuel Africa’s wars (http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/11/18-2).

Young Hutus are massively joining FDLR to escape “oppression” from Kigali

“Manhandled are the Hutus in Rwanda”, said a new recruit of the Rwandan Hutu rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Oppressed and no decent future in Kigali, young Hutus are massively fleeing Rwanda to plunge into radical ideology and conflict in eastern DRC.

At Lushebere in eastern DRC, these young recruits of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) patrol around a rebellion resort.

The FDLR combatants, some of which have participated in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, which, according to the UN, claimed about 800,000 deaths mainly among the minority Tutsi, operate in eastern DRC.

They are currently fighting alongside the Congolese army against the rebels of the former Congolese Tutsi General Laurent Nkunda.

With a green beret and a rasta necklace, Claude, who appeared younger than 22 years old, fixes his interlocutor with a disturbing regard while explaining his escape from the RPF massacre in Rwanda.

“My father was accused of being a genocidaire and has been imprisoned unjustly. I have been chased away,” he said to AFP, maintaining his AK-47 rifle between his boots.

“In late 2005, the RPF government led by Paul Kagame tried to force me to enter the military services to fight the FDLR. I preferred to flee for my safety,” he continues.

The current Rwandan President Kagame led the RPF, former Tutsi rebellion, which ended the genocide by taking power in Kigali in July 1994.

After passing through Burundi, Claude arrived in the Congolese province of South Kivu where he joined the FDLR.

“The Hutus in Rwanda are harassed by the Tutsi (…). They are speachless and have difficulty finding any job,” he protests.

According to the spokesman of FDLR, Lieutenant-Colonel Edmond Ngarambe, the movement has “received an influx of youth” since 2006, because of the ongoing trials organized by the “gacaca” courts Rwandan people responsible for trying alleged perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

“Every day, people are fleeing oppression in Rwanda”, he said, denying that the FDLR may practice forced recruitment. He criticizes “a spirit of domination in the current Tutsi regime” in Kigali, “which does not evolve.”

Emmanuel, 22 years old, had first fled Rwanda in 1994 – before returning back home shortly after – then a second takeover in 2007.

According to his testimony, after being injustly ousted during a competitive examination for admission in college and replaced by a Tutsi student, he decided to join his compatriots in eastern Congo.”

“Life is not harder (in the rebellion); that is  what pushed me to flee,” says Emmanuel, even though he was apparently aflicted by a malaria crisis.

“I look forward -as anyone here- to returning to Rwanda and regain my human rights one day”, he says hardening his face.

Many young Hutus who fled Rwanda after the Rwandan genocide, grew up in eastern DRC and freely decided to join the FDLR.

In a Torn uniform, his cap lying on the barrel of his gun, Simeon, 20, talks about “the extermination of his entire family” during an RPF attack in his village in 1994 and his escape to the DRC. He also talks about ” a warm welcome” he received within the FDLR family, which he joined 4 years ago.

In his 25 years, another youth who wished to remain anonymous claims to have already spent ten years in the rebellion.

“During the Rwandan genocide of 1994, when my parents were killed by the RPF, I fled to the DRC. The RPF continued to track us throught DRC even inside Congo Brazzaville. The FDLR organization is the only parents I now have, he says.

“My goal is to return to Rwanda one day and not  to permanently stay here. In the meantime, preserving my life is my priorities, he says.

Welcome and an announcement

gravatarBack To My Roots now has a new co-blogger, whose writing I am anxious to read on this blog. I know it will be very educational, and informative.

Hopefully now, readers will have more frequent information to read.

Looking forward to reading…