It is late 1995 and former US president Jimmy Carter is meeting his Rwandan counterpart, then Pasteur Bizimungu. Archbishop Desmond Tutu is in attendance as well. Carter says to Bizimungu: ‘congratulations for stopping the genocide. But are you willing to involve some Hutu in your government at some stage?’ Bizimungu looks at him, incredulous...
In the past few months, there has been an upsurge of genocide revisionism. English books advancing double genocide theories have been translated in French and vice-versa, while new ones are published.
Another phenomenon is that members of Jambo News - an NGO based in Belgium have deployed in European political parties and are running for parliamentary seats in Belgium.
In a series of articles in this paper on Jambo News, I explained how children of genocide perpetrators have brought a new face to genocide ideology. Having fled with their parents or born in Europe, the youngsters are European citizens with polished, ‘moderate’ language.
Unlike their parents, they do not overtly deny the Genocide against the Tutsi, however, they point out that Tutsi’s too perpetrated a genocide in Rwanda, and especially in the DRC – advancing the figure of five million victims.
I am appreciative that for the first time, foreigners living in Rwanda who read these books are open to discussion. I will not meet every one of them, however, I will try to address the major flaws in the double genocide narrative:
1. The new publications refer to fresh evidence: Troubling revelations obtained through years of undercover journalism; top secret diplomatic cables and United Nations’ reports. However, unlike WikiLeaks, no single author is willing to produce a single piece of the pile of evidence allegedly in their possession. All of them quote the same evidence they can’t substantiate and informants they can’t name and demand our unquestioning trust.
2. All double genocide theorists do not disclose their backgrounds or political agenda; either as children and relatives of genocide perpetrators, their former lawyers and members of defense teams, repeating arguments that were dismissed by international courts; or close friends to former RPF politicians on a personal vendetta against President Kagame.
3. The cited UN Group of Experts’ report is a draft version with unsubstantiated sensational claims that was leaked to the media and NGOs before it was submitted to and dismissed by the UN’s Sanctions committee. The final, UN-approved version is never cited because it doesn’t support their claims. Also, recommendations in the report were finally ignored, after it emerged that Steve Hege, its lead author had made past publications defending the FDLR as a benevolent movement, which will return to Rwanda after the international community has imposed a sanction on the country (The FDLR is on the UN list of terrorist militias). Hege has since deleted those writings from the internet
However, the double genocide theory suffers one fundamental flaw: Its binary character: Hutus versus Tutsi. Their punchline: ‘those who stopped the genocide, perpetrated a genocide too.’ British respected newspaper: The Guardian was even more specific recently: ‘Tutsis were bad from the beginning, and they are responsible for their own death.’
There has never been Tutsis v. Hutus in Rwanda: Not during the Genocide against the Tutsi, not before and not after. Unlike in many countries where ethnic groups live in separate geographical areas, have separate dialects and names, in Rwanda, all live together and speak the same language. It is impossible to tell apart with precision a people that have lived together for a thousand years.
The RPF was never a Tutsi or Tutsi-led organization!
Unlike the revisionists, I am unable to list names of individual politicians and speculate that - so and so is Tutsi, so and so is Hutu because that would defeat the nation-building purpose and because it is illegal in Rwanda – and those authors know it.
Let me just say that from its creation in the late 80s, during the war in the early 90s and after the war – to date, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) has had Hutus and Tutsis at every level of its hierarchy. One of its first operations in January 1991 only three months after starting the war of liberation, was to attack a prison in Ruhengeri and release political prisoners, whom would occupy the top civilian and military hierarchy of the movement. One of its immediate actions after stopping the Genocide in 1994, was to integrate soldiers from the defeated regime into the national army.
As anyone who’s lived in Rwanda can testify, it is impossible to be in an RPF meeting, army briefing or even family gatherings with only Tutsi or only Hutu; for the simple reason that there are no measurements to do so. It is therefore impossible to hold a meeting intending to exterminate Hutu, in a room where there are Hutus and use an army made of Hutus and Tutsis.
Denial of Genocide against the Tutsi has been in the academia and NGOs for a while, it might soon infiltrate European politics. However, the ‘experts’ that readers are discovering now, have been at it since day one, and their ‘new evidence’ isn’t new, nor does it actually exist.
In the past, non-Rwandans who read ‘troubling’ books were fearful - following instructions by the same authors that it was dangerous to discuss those matters in Rwanda, preferring to hold them as truths. We welcome the fact that they have started approaching us and are open about it, albeit with some fear, still; a glass ceiling has been broken.
The views expressed in thisarticle are of the author.