I have always been sceptical about a human race known as “experts,” I can now confirm that my sceptism. When I was researching on an academic paper “micro level determinants of Genocide,” I had to spread my inquiry across many disciplines of study and had to go through volumes of literature in some interesting field of study such as anthropology, psychology, behavioural and conflict economics, History, peace studies and many others.
I also had to read less interesting authors, some were lawyers, Journalists; some times some of the authors were adventurous and less educated NGO staff looking for a place to pour their emotions. The highlight of my study though was a simply written but well researched and well written paper by a Belgian professor less “famous” or infamous than Reitjens or René Lemarchand.
The paper is an empirical analysis of the double genocide theory during the Rwandan genocide using panel and cross section data.
I don’t intend to analyse his paper, but one of the things that I need to highlight in his research method is the selection and the training administered to research assistants before undertaking the actual research. In his other papers on the Rwanda genocide and they are a number; one of the things that strike you is, how careful he is in selecting the best minds even for what other researchers take for granted such as data collection.
In a research for one of his land mark papers on the Rwanda genocide, the good professor identifies final year university students, most of them mathematics or statistics major with a good command of English and French languages and with good grades to boot.
This is not an added advantage in the selection process, but, a basic requirement for selection. He then proceeds to train the research assistants not just in data correction techniques but, research ethics as well.
That an accomplished quantitative Economics scholar who focuses on analysing determinants of conflict can go to great lengths to ensure that his research is not only credible but reliable tells a story.
The fact that a research process must be credible, reliable truthful and impartial in is not simply a research ethic or tenet that must be observed by academics only but by all is a given. In fact, it behoves every one who proffer literature for public consumption including reports to strictly observe these principles.
That all those who research and report on issue of public importance which usually have legal implication as my lawyer friend likes to say should not be an issue for discussion.
One thing comes to the fore however, research requires more than availability of staff, interpreters, a good topic or issue to research on and money. It requires a level of intellectual capacity that is most often being put to good use in academics rather than some corporate or international organisation offices.
The major reason for this is that, often the best brains in the business end up in Labs, Research Centres and classrooms where they are at liberty to exercise their mind, rather than corporate and international organisations.
True researchers belong to a race of people that is zealous in pursuit of truth, only the truth and nothing but the truth. Which is a “rare” commodity in places such as the United Nations and International Organisations Offices; the word is so alien to them, some might need interpreters to understand what it means.
This brings me to the issue of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. A lot has been written and continues to be written, some exhibiting the highest level of research acumen, while others simply empty of substance and reason.
While academics delve into massive amounts of data collected from thousands of eye witnesses for more than a decade and half, there are mercenaries out there concocting data and adducing fantastically false results and reports which in the end are not worthy the paper they are written on.
But why are they doing this and what is in it for them? This need not be a topic for research; perhaps the best topic would be “what drives them?” We may not know what drives them, but the reason is there for all to see, thus we need not waste resources researching on why.
For research is a science of the “unknown,” what we know we, we just know and we can authoritatively talk about it.
We Rwandans know without an iota of doubt, that, one of the reasons why, there are people who are hell bent on proving the double genocide theory, are because this theory already disintegrated long ago in academic cycles and no one is interested any longer.
Secondly, the Génocidaires, majority of who live in the west, took with them a good measure of Rwanda’s wealth. This wealth was invested in businesses in the west in partnership with extremely influential people, who have opened doors to invaluable friendships in the industry, the business world, in academics and even in government.
Of course the Génocidaires would like nothing better than to cleanse themselves of the blood stains and the easiest way would be to invest in something that would make them look like the rest of the “savage” Africans and their friends would love to prove the savagery.
Another thing we are certain about is the existence of inept academics and captains of the social enterprise who were mired in genocide. These were the first ones to proffer the double Genocide theory until it crumbled before their unbelieving eyes and minds like a pack of withered cards.
Some of these were erstwhile Gurus of the old regime, with their wisdom gone awry, they begun to behave like a Pirate Captain shepherding a sinking ship in the high seas hoping to hit high ground and save his soul.
What is new with the Congo report then? Nothing! Nothing we have not heard of before. Any new truths? no! Its not even old truths in a new package, there never was any in the first place. What is in the so called leaked draft are old facts that every one knows, there was nothing new about people dying in the DRC during that period it is common knowledge unless one was not watching CNN.
People died in the DRC during that period and the whole world knows about, thousands died from poor living conditions in crowded camps, others died of epidemics and diseases, while many other died due to violence and they are still dying today. This is a fact that cannot be denied, but, it does not amount to Genocide, irrespective of the cause or who killed them.
One thing that is surprising though, is that the reporters aver that there were deaths from weapons other than guns and this to them is proof that this was genocide and not war.
They want to say that people in war die of bullets, explosives or other western instruments of war, however, a few weeks ago some UN peacekeepers were killed by DRC militias not with guns, but same rudimentary tools, was this genocide?
They do not mention that Hutu Militia Controlled refugee camps, executed thousand and thousand of people wanting to go back to Rwanda, they don’t mention mass execution of women and children by Hutu Militias in the DRC while they scampered out refugee camps to scavenge for food because their food rations had been confiscated in preparation for war.
This is not heresy; it was in reports filed by NGOs and UN agencies working in those camps. Surely they had or know about this, but double genocide it must be!
Another intriguing bit of the “draft report” is the mention of the Congolese Hutu and by the way I have not seen the report, I am basing myself on a few facts posted on websites and what I have heard in the news and news analysis.
I do not believe that Congolese Hutu as the report say had identification documents detailing that they were Hutu, this was not part of identification documents in the then Zaire. How then could they be identified differently from other Congolese?
It is hard to say if the authors of the report took a moment to think and analyse what information they had collected, but even without thinking, one needs a retarded mind to include such speculation in a report.
In Rwanda, killers needed an Id to confirm whether one was Tutsi or Hutu, despite that the killers were neighbours and sometimes relatives, would it have been easier in DRC without?
That the authors were looking by all means to prove a double genocide and tarnish Rwanda in the process goes without saying. Like my Kenyan friend likes to say Rwanda has become like an orphaned boy being whipped by orphanage workers simply because he is a live when, he should be dead.
This what some powerful forces out there seem to be doing, however, this orphan may be young and weak, but, he is alive and is determined to live. Genocide is not just any death it is planned and executed against a people with the purpose of inhalation.
The proof of genocide does not lie in numbers or weaponry but in the plan and motive.
Like the tea lady in the comedy of errors, “you ain’t got it, and you ain’t having it, not from me, no sir not this time!”
Emmanuel Murangira is a development economist and Practitioner