Franz Fanon in the Wretched of the Earth said, “The last battle of the colonized against the colonizer will often be the fight for the colonized against each other.”
Rwanda’s unrepentant refusal to talk with the DRC based, Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR) rebels, eat many heads up in the region. Of late, the world evidenced the tug of war between Rwanda and Tanzania after President Jakaya Kikwete proposed round-table talks. Again, despite all misunderstandings, we need to face it that the conflict in the Great Lakes needs to be dealt with. For better or for worse, nothing human is forever. For how long will we live under fear and conflicts?
Currently, the US is in dialogue with the Talibans in Afghanistan. Israel and Palestine have recently resumed peace talks. This means that any conflict, be it protracted or otherwise, can be resolved. Reconciliation is the only way forward wherever there is conflict. Rwanda as well as DRC needs to move forward given that FDLR rebels will never live in DRC forever.
I understand how Kigali feels, especially when it remembers the magnitude of the sin that FDLR committed during the 1994 genocide that wiped out about one million Rwandans, Tutsi and moderate Hutus. I know how traumatizing it is to revisit such history. Importantly though, reconciliation is inevitable shall the region aspire to have peace and prosperity. Africa’s still dependent on its former masters and other rich and developed countries. How come now that such dependent continent is embarking on creating more conflict than reducing them? Again, history is always written by survivors. Methinks Rwanda should search its soul to see to it that the conflict is solved so that life can go on and write a new history of reconciliation.
Rwanda won’t be the first country to embark on reconciliation. Blacks in South Africa suffered more than any country under the Apartheid regime. Nelson Mandela who spearheaded fight against Apartheid was jailed for long. Again, after realizing that conflict can be used constructively to avoid more destruction, Mandela was the first person to forgive Apartheid regime after understanding the way it felt about what it committed. Through talking to each other, both parts in South Africa were able to read each other’s way of looking at things. In the end, South Africa made a precedent to which almost every peace lover refers to. African sage has it that, those who fight are the ones that cooperate. No way can human beings live without differences, conflicts and all sorts of things as far as misunderstandings are concerned. On this ground, it makes sense to call upon Rwanda and FDLR rebels to talk peace, instead of harbouring hatred and vengeance. Such stance won’t solve any problem. Instead, it’ll double if not triple them.
It defies logic, for example, to presume all Hutus as genociders. How if at all those born during or after genocide did not partake in this megalomania? Hutus who did not partake in the crime feel betrayed and victimized. Those judged wholesomely feel that they’ve the duty to cleanse their names. Those born in DRC, just like those who took over after Genocide, who were born in Uganda, think that they’d go back home. This is where it boils down to scheming to deal with current Rwandan regime either peacefully or violently. This is not the situation a country is supposed to live in. Why don’t we want to learn the menacing danger refugees in Uganda caused to Rwanda? Suppose DRC stabilizes and supports FDLR to take on their home government as Uganda did? This means that another calamity is in the making. This is why it becomes inevitable for two sides to talk and reconcile. How if at all, genocide was the work of a select few in power by then? Rwandans need peace. And peace will come from reconciliation.
I know verily that Kigali would like to respect the dead. Again, as Gerard Prunier put it in his book, The Rwanda Crisis; History of Genocide, “Respect of the dead does not preclude the efforts to understand why they died.” Such take helps us to seek truth and peace in order to avoid repeating the same in the name of preserving and honouring the dead.
Prunier goes on saying that Hutus and Tutsi were not created as cats and dogs. Allowing the conflict to shrive amidst Rwandans is but faulting God’s goodwill of endowing us with higher and bigger brains that make us humans and not animals. Sometimes, due to ignorance, fear and confusion, man can commit sacrilegious things that even an animal can’t commit. Again, once this happens, sane minds must intervene. This is why the international community formed Arusha-based ICTR. This aimed at punishing the guilty and redressing the offended. Now, if ICTR and Gacaca did punish the guilty, why then presume all Hutus as killers?
After all, genocide can be said to be the product of European eugenics, especially John Speke by proxy, that created Hutus and Tutsi for their reasons of exploiting them. It is absurd and indifference to keep on, for example, calling the 1994 genocide, genocide against Tutsi. So too, it’ll be nonsensical to keep on alleging that all Hutus committed genocide. To do away from this danger, Rwanda must willingly talk to rebels instead of feeling that the international community is forcing it to talk. The upshot is those situated out of the conflict, see it better than those involved in it.
Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian living in Canada. He writes regularly for “The African Executive” and also has a blog entitled “Free Thinking Unabii”. He is a regular contributor to AfroSpear.
Bert C said:
I begin to read this article, and suddenly stopped. I stopped when you made the statement that Israel and Palestine have recently resumed peace talks. Even a blind man can see that this is a SHAM. Israel is trying to negotiate the last 20% of the land. A day or so after the talks began, Israel announced that they are going to increase the building of settlements. The Secretary General of the U.N. voiced his concerns a few days ago. Am I to believe that the Western Nations really care Rwanda. If they did that would have intervened and stopped the genocide in 1994. Some believe that Ex-President Clinton work in Africa is done out of guilt. A lot of american have not forgiven him for that.
I hear you blaming victims, because they won’t do what white folks want them to do. I don’t know where you were in 1994, but If you were in Europe you have no credibility, The trauma of war and the daily reminder of that war, seeing people with one arm, sometimes no arms and legs is painful.
Lastly, you don’t seems too spiritual and empathetic. You appear to be political and pragmatic.
Nkwazi Mhango said:
Bert C, thanks for your views however everybody is entitled to his or her views. Sometimes it is better to keep mum than holler. Will you please tell us of the way forward in lieu of looking for unnecessary sympathy? How can a sane person advocate for ‘ the winner takes it all, that has for long been going on in Rwanda? Let Rwanda be ruled by all Hutus and Tutsi without discrimination or criminalization as it currently is. Again, do you think that Congo-based Hutus will live there forever? Goof not my friend. They will one day go back home be it by the way of violence or peace. Sane minds think about peaceful way of resolving Rwanda’s crisis which the administration in Kigali has swept under the carpet. It can work for a while. Again, it won’t work forever. May be what I am advocating does not add up for those who don’t like to face reality and hear the naked truth. You may ignore me. Nemo prophita in patria. Importantly, good contributions aim at solving the problem at hand in lieu of attacking the person. Don’t shoot the messenger my friend. Shall Rwanda and the likes of you keep on daydreaming thinking this is the way out, the reality will awaken them one day. I might be regarded as pragmatic thinker or whatever you may opt to call me. The truth is Rwanda needs to talk to FDLR if she wants to reconcile and heal her people. It it upon Rwanda to decide to commit suttee or emancipate herself from victimization, whitewashing, witch-hunting and whatnot.
I am always amazed at some individuals with childish intellectualism , when they have nothing to contribute to the discourse , and no solution at hand, how they tend to change the conversation and topic, with their regular tired and simplistic rhetoric of how the West and US presidents are the cause of all the woes and calamities in this world, and hence are responsible for solving them all .
President Clinton had no power on earth to stop the genocide in Rwanda.
I don’t see how American presidents can jump all the time whenever there are problems around the globe; and let us be pragmatic, they certainly do not owe Africans, Arabs or any other group of people, stability and prosperity in their homeland.
Also, spirituality and empathy alone are not going to get mankind anywhere, nor solve the vast amount of problems that exist on this earth.
Bert C said:
Ana, this what the Western World could have done: Although the Rwandans are fully responsible for the organization and execution of the genocide, governments and peoples elsewhere all share in the shame of the crime because they failed to prevent and stop this killing campaign.
Policymakers in France, Belgium, and the United States and at the United Nations were aware of the preparations for massive slaughter and failed to take the steps needed to prevent it. Aware from the start that Tutsi were being targeted for elimination, the leading foreign actors refused to acknowledge the genocide. Not only did international leaders reject what was going on, but they also declined for weeks to use their political and moral authority to challenge the legitimacy of the genocidal government. They refused to declare that a government guilty of exterminating its citizens would never receive international assistance. They did nothing to silence the radio that televised calls for slaughter. Even after it had become indisputable that what was going on in Rwanda was a genocide, American officials had shunned the g-word, fearing that it would cause demands for intervention.
When international leaders finally voiced disapproval, the genocidal authorities listened well enough to change their tactics although not their ultimate goal. Far from cause for satisfaction, this small success only highlights the tragedy: if weak protests produced this result in late April, imagine what might have been the result if in mid-April the entire world had spoken out. My heart aches for the survivors, as some live in a country of elitists
Nkwazi Mhango said:
Thanks Ana. You have said well and clearly. All “bedwetters” have always blamed US. Again, when the US intervenes when they abuse their people they brand it the police of the world. I don’t want to spoil your point. May I quote you. “They (Americans) certainly do not owe Africans, Arabs or any other group of people, stability and prosperity in their homeland.” Well put!
Obed Mwakitalika said:
My name is Obed Mwakitalika from Tanzania (Very Proud to be Tanzanian), Let me put my views taking vivid examples in our family life. FDLR are Rwandans, they are living in Rwanda, they still utilize what all innocent Rwandans are producing. RPF was the then rebel group which triggered the genocide in Rwanda. This means that Paul Kagame is the founder of the genocide. FDLR is the opposition group to Paul Kagame of what he did in 1994 during his genocide.
In family life if the family is showing disintegration and the father is considered the head of the family concerned is obliged to take action to reunite that falling family. This statement refers to Mr Kagame, he has no choice but to negotiate with his opponents who are byproducts of his (Kagame) genocide.