Archive for April, 2008

Western media on Rwanda

April 28, 2008

I was watching some video about Rwanda on You Tube, and the same comment kept coming: “how could the US just stand by and watch all that people die?”

It irks me every time I hear that stupid comment.

The fact is the US didn’t stand on the sidelines in Rwanda. The US was involved in Rwanda’s business from day one. They trained and supported Paul Kagame and his accomplices before their invasion of Rwanda in October 1990, which triggered the war that would culminate into the civil war of 1994. Both Bushes’ and Clinton’s administrations kept the money coming to the RPF throughout the whole process and to this day they haven’t changed anything about that policy.

The problem is not what the US didn’t do so much as what they did do. Today Paul Kagame is certainly the only head of state who can invade another country and kill over 2000 people a day for more than ten years and still get away with it. How come? Well, he made sure the US dirtied their own hands so bad they would have no other choice than to support and protect him.

I mean really, how do you go about confessing to triggering the slaughter of over 5 million people? They’d rather keep portraying him as the “man-who-stopped-the-genocide” and keep doing quietly their pillaging-of-natural-resources and experimenting-on-people business in the Congo.

They’d rather look away when Kagame’s RPF army kills thousands of civilians in broad daylight and millions at night. Entire regions of Rwanda have been emptied of their population. Remnants of the victims were burned and dissolved with chemicals. All this has been well documented, even some of it was filmed, but to this day Kagame remains, in western journalists’ mouth, the “man-who-stopped-the-genocide”. 

Peter Verlinden remains among the very few journalists who did their job and genuinely informed the public on RPF crimes in Rwanda and the Congo.

 

 

Michael Jackson is dead!

April 26, 2008

Ok, not that Michael. This one was white (and has been his whole life). It’s Michael Jackson the famous Beer Hunter. Funny, I can’t imagine the other Mike having a beer. It just seems so out of character. He’s supposed to sip candy syrup or something like that. Nothing bitter. I can’t even picture him drinking coffee.

I hadn’t visited his website in months -if not years- so it was kind of a shock to find out he is dead. His legacy lives on, though, judging from the amount of visitors’ posts on his blog. Damn, he even had assistants for his research. Now that’s a hobby. If one must have a hobby, shouldn’t it be as pleasurable and relaxing and social circle-enlarging as drinking beer?  

 

 

Cynthia McKinney

April 21, 2008

In all countries, there is always that rare political figure who goes into politics to really try and improve people’s lives. Such characters are very hard to come by. Like a priest or pastor who would actually believe in the gospel. Here I mean we all believe in something, but professionals are never fanatics. After a war, veterans of both opposing armies find it easier to become friends than civilians who didn’t even take part in the battle. A soccer or basketball star will change teams in a second while his fans would rather die than sit on the opposing team’s bench.

Cynthia McKinney belongs to that breed of politician. She doesn’t play games. She’s honestly trying to improve humanity’s condition. She is probably the only American politician who dares to speak openly about the genocide of the Hutu in Rwanda by the blood-drenched hand of Paul Kagame’s RPF.

Maybe there is a God after all. 

 

Arundhati Roy

April 15, 2008

It’s been years since I read Arundhati Roy’s God of Small Things , and I still haven’t read anything as impressive as that. They say that you don’t buy a book, you buy the cover. Well, it must be true because i remember picking that book up in a library and had it not been for the author’s cute face on the back, I probably wouldn’t have opened the first page.

So what’s so special about Mrs Roy? Apart from the manga-like big eyes and tiny face which psychologists say universally inspire simpathy and deter any agressive behavior from any member of the mammals family from men to bats and tigers because those features are just too reminiscent of our babies’ ?  

The God of Small Things wasn’t a compelling page-turner. I remember forgetting many times where I had left the story and as a result, picking it up twenty pages earlier. That usually isn’t a good sign. It normally happens with a boring book or a very generic one with nothing new in it. The feeling of “deja vu” makes you confused about the course of the story. But you can’t say that about this one.

I enjoyed every minute I spent on it because of the original style.  Yes, the flashbacks and juggling of main characters were at times confusing to my weak intellect, but it still felt like a nice, peaceful conversation. Nothing flashy in there. I coud also easily relate to the author’s views of the western world, since we’re both from a third-world country.

But I think what makes Arundhati Roy’s writing unique is her unabashed honesty. She says things in that book that we all normally keep within the immediate family circle. You know, like that story that will always make you and your siblings laugh, but that nobody else will find funny because you didn’t spend your childhood together. Most writers won’t tell that story to their readers, but Arundhati does, without hesitation. She deployed the same fearless honesty in her more political book about the so-called globalization, and in her Come September speech, bluntly saying things to the West that most thirld-world people would rather keep quiet about, and wisely so. After all, it’s never a good idea to rattle the cage of a lion. Especially if you’re the one in the cage and the lion got the key. The weak always have good manners, says a Rwandan proverb. 

Kagame in the news again

April 14, 2008

There is a God after all. It seems some journalists have been stirred out of their stubborn sleep by that Spanish judges’ indictment of Paul Kagame and 39 of his high-ranking officers. Hopefully more unbiaised articles like this one will keep popping up.

Jumping out of a moving car for dummies

April 14, 2008

Hilarious story. Just check this out.

Rusesabagina’s interview

April 9, 2008

Paul Rusesabagina is that guy Don Cheadle impersonated in Hotel Rwanda. The main character of the movie actually bears his name. Great performance by Don, by the way. He looked, acted and sounded every bit Rwandan (as long as he didn’t try to pronounce his rwandan name). 

When the movie came out, the Rwandan goverment invited Mr Rusesabagina, the real one, to attend the première in Kigali. He declined the invitation, then went on to talk openly to the press about the “over a million people who had been internally displaced in Rwanda, flying before the advancing RPF army when the events depicted in the movie actually took place”.  All of a sudden, Paul Rusesabagina was no more welcome back to Rwanda than any other hutu from the diaspora. He now fears for his life and well, considered Paul Kagame’s human rights record, there is nothing paranoid about that.  

Today I found this interview by a canadian journalist, I think. Definitely worth checking out.

Rwandan music

April 8, 2008

I was browsing videos on You tube the other day and I stumbled across an ingoma percussion video. It was so beautifully executed, I have to share it with you guys. The complicity among the drummers, the speed they reach at times, they really make it look easy. I know it’s not, for having attended an Ingoma workshop once in Brussels. The position of the drummer’s feet, waist, arms, hands, shoulders and head are all part of the training. The guys in this video are just amazing. It’s like watching a kata performed by blackbelts.  Enjoy.

Arrested on the 6th of April

April 7, 2008

There are not that many things Rwandans of the diaspora agree upon nowadays, but April 6th is a cursed day for all, hutu, tutsi, twa alike. April 6th 1994 is the day the late president Habyarimana of Rwanda and the late president Ntaryamira of Burundi were assassinated. From that day on, most Rwandans’ lives haven’t been the same again.

 

As a tacit consensus, Rwandans who lost members of their family by the hand of Kagame’s RPF organize protest gatherings each year on April 6th to keep alive the memory of their lost ones and to protest against Paul Kagame’s genocidal regime, which to this day, enjoys international political and financial support while it quiety murders Rwandans all over the world and foments wars in neighbouring countries.

I went to such a gathering today, a public protest in front of the imposing Palais de Justice buiding in Brussels.

 

The place was full of cops. They informed us that we had to leave the premises because the Brussels Commune authorities which had authorized the protest two months in advance had suddenly decided to retrieve the authorization and declared the gathering illegal.

 

I have plenty of respect for men -and women- in uniform, but sometimes I pity them. Those cops didn’t realize they had been asked to prevent people from mourning their own. Most victims of RPF didn’t get a proper burial. Their families never got a chance to mourn them properly. In Rwanda, to this day, Hutu people are denied the right to mourn openly their family members killed during the 1990-1994 war.

 

They must have been Interahamwe militiamen, they don’t deserve a burial. Or maybe you wish to join them? ” is the answer one usually gets from the Rwandan authorities.

 

All those gatherings, protest marches and church services are for the Rwandan diaspora just a way to somehow catch up with our duty to our lost ones. To prevent a man from doing that is such a horrible task I would never want to be the one who has to do it.

 

As we weren’t leaving the premises fast enough to the cops’ taste, they started arresting us. The cops were surprised that we complied and didn’t oppose any resistance. How could they understand? They had probably been told that we were a bunch of machete-wielding savages who would eat them up at the first chance we got. 

 

They were putting plastic handcuffs on us. Someone started singing the Rwandan anthem. Everybody joined in. I saw an elderly lady already in handcuffs. They were escorting her to a police van. A very big cop asked me where I was going. I ignored him and joined in the song. He handcuffed me, hands in the back. I swear I have never had any masochistic yearnings, but I just didn’t feel any anger towards those cops. I couldn’t blame them. They didn’t know. They didn’t realize what a despicable act they were engaging in by just “following the orders”.

They handcuffed everybody. Men, women, children.

 

All that time, I couldn’t help but ask myself why anyone in their right mind would handcuff and lock up a grandmother who was only trying to mourn publicly her lost relatives? Exactly what danger were they trying to protect the Brussels population from? Well, maybe they thought the lady would cry so hard that the passers-by would die from sadness.

 

We spent around an hour in the police vans behind the Palais de Justice. Then they put us in prison cells by groups of four, and released us a little after 5PM.