Retired French soldier shocked by minister paying homage to deceased Genocide denier

Lt Col Guillaume Ancel, who was involved in the ‘Opération Turquoise’, expressed his shock on Twitter in reference to a tweet by the French Ministry of Culture which pays tribute to Pierre Adolphe Péan.
Guillaume Ancel. / Internet photo

A retired French soldier who broke the silence and published a book about the real acts and mission of French “Opération Turquoise” in Rwanda which was to stop the advance of RPA (which was stopping the Genocide) has expressed shock seeing a French culture minister paying homage to a Genocide denier who passed on Thursday.

Lt Col Guillaume Ancel, who was involved in the Opération Turquoise, a French-led military operation in Rwanda in 1994, expressed his shock on Twitter in reference to a tweet by the French Ministry of Culture which pays tribute to Pierre Adolphe Péan, “one of the worst deniers of the Genocide.”

Pierre Péan died Thursday aged 81.

Franck Riester, the current French Minister of Culture, tweeted paying homage to the departed French journalist.

Riester said: “Pierre Péan leaves us and leaves us the memory of the journalist, the investigator and the passionate writer he was.”

He referred to Péan, by and large, as a worthy journalist whose work left a mark on French journalism.

Those who reacted on tweeter, like Ancel, expressed shock and disappointment.

Rwandan genocide researcher Tom Ndahiro said: “Praising a genocide ideologue and Genocide against the Tutsi denier like Pierre Péan is malice, hypocrisy, evil, an insult to intelligence and memory… at its best.”

Jean-François Pascal, a French national posed: “Why would Péan have lied about Rwanda? For protecting Mitterand and his clan untill the end?”

Over 10 years ago, Péan was accused of having promoted racism and divisionism in his book, ‘Noirs Furueres Blancs Manteurs’ (loosely translated to ‘Black Furies, White Liars’), published in November 2005, about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Péan wrote that what took place in Rwanda was not Genocide against the Tutsi by the extremist Hutu but the reverse. His book was widely criticised by different scholars and governments around the world for it incites hatred and racial discrimination among Rwandans.

Genocide survivors filed a petition against Péan in 2006, through SOS Racisme, an anti-racism rights organization.

Ancel has in the past spoken out and written on his experience, disclosing how he was “advised” to stay silent on the role of the so-called combat mission in Rwanda.

On June 22, 1994, he was assigned to Opération Turquoise as FAC of a combat company of the 2nd REI (Foreign Infantry Regiment, Nîmes) with which he left on June 23 that year.

He, among others, expressed his disappointment and frustrations after failing to get an audience to testify on his role during Opération Turquoise in attempt to cover up the French role in the Genocide.

He has told about how, when he returned home after Opération Turquoise he was puzzled about the role that French troops played on the ground and the support to the interim government and the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) whose disintegration they witnessed in the face of the then advancing RPF/RPA.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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