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Never again

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I hope.

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, I think it would be a good idea to understand what happened that ignited the attacks and what didn’t happen that allowed them to go on to such an obscene extent. So I’m directing interested folks to one of the two best sources of local African news and opinions (thereby giving up one of the unique elements of my blog).

Firoze Manji, Fahamu
This 150th issue of Pambazuka News is dedicated to the international mobilization on Remembering Rwanda. This marks the 10th anniversary of a human catastrophe of gigantic proportions that led to the massacre of nearly a million people in Rwanda in the space of a few months. It was an event that was made all the more shameful for the criminal negligence of the international community, in Africa and beyond, to intervene – despite their full knowledge of what was happening. 1994 marked a tragedy that unfolded in Rwanda whose repercussions continue to be felt throughout the Great Lakes Region.

The focus on Rwanda is important not only as an act of solidarity with the survivors of the genocide. It should also be a reminder of the unfolding tragedy in the Great Lakes, particularly in the DRC, when many millions more have been and are being massacred.

Rwanda has been, as Mahmood Mamdani says in ‘When Victims Become Killers’, the “epicentre of the wider crisis in the African Great Lakes. Tied together by the thread of a common colonial legacy – one that politicized indigeneity as a basis for rights – the region has little choice but to address the Rwandan dilemma, if only to address its own dilemma. … [This] will require a regional approach through a regional agenda that approaches the centre as firefighters would approach the heart of a raging fire, from outside in.”

With the recent establishment of the Pan African Parliament there exists the potential mechanism for fighting the raging fires that consume both DRC and Burundi. But will there be a sufficient political will to engage?

This issue of Pambazuka News takes a different format from usual. We have a series of editorials from a number of international experts and activists, and provide resource materials for those wishing to learn more about Rwanda and what is being done for the anniversary of the genocide being commemorated this month.

In addition, jimmyT at The Joint came up with one of those symbolic blogger gestures that I think appropriate:

Wednesday, the Joint will be dark in remembrance of over 800,000 murdered human beings.

I don’t know how to spread the word, and would love to see a few other people join me. Maybe I’ll post around a bit, make the suggestion, see if anyone with a webpage will take theirs down for the day.

Have to figure out the html code to make a quiet, black screen, to replace my index file. Maybe just a message, and a couple links.

If you have a site, send a message to the Rwandan people. Show them that we haven’t forgotten them again, that there are people in the world thinking of them on Wednesday. As it turns out, other than Belgium, no high level diplomats will be attending memorials in the country next week. Again, the Rwandan people feel as if the world doesn’t care.

I’m gonna show them that I do care.

Honestly, I won’t shut down Prometheus 6 for the day. But then, Rwanda had been a near daily subject over there for a week or so and will be a daily subject through the week.

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About Prometheus 6

  • P6

    Ms. Tek:

    In the end, green is always good, no matter where it came from or how it was obtained.

    That is the whole idea behind money—that it’s been raised to an almost religious level is…unfortunate.

  • P6

    I just (and I mean just) read an editorial in the NY Times on this that, among other issues raised, suggests the problem had semantic roots; how do you genocide using machete? And much like Israelis are soldiers while Palestinians are “gun men,” genocide is a civilized institution—outside “civilization” it’s just barbarism.

    Other things were raised, like being close enough to watch the action thru binoculars and crowding around the TV to watch the news reports—the proverbial “film at 11″—and waking up 100 days later realizing the 8000 people per day were killed and EVERYONE LEFT ALIVE was complicit.

    No good guys here. Just a lot of lessons to be learned.

    I could almost wish for Africa’s absorption into a Western system so that there are better ways of exercising power that leaping immediately to the last resort. If it weren’t for the FACT that prudent business judgement requires taking advantage whenever possible.

  • Economics will always override everything. Geed is one of the seven deadly sins. If there is a buck to be made, someone will do whatever they can to make that buck. Sometimes being self serving will override prejudices. In the end, green is always good, no matter where it came from or how it was obtained.

  • Eric Olsen

    Very interesting, thanks. I get the sense that underlying decisions regarding intervention – anywhere – is an economic-type evaluation that is applied to social/political/military questions: ie, “will our time, money, lives ‘spent’ here yield a tangible result?” The closer to a perceived state of “chaos,” the less enthusiasm for intervention. And Africa, in general, is perceived as quite chaotic.

  • P6

    I prefer dealing with accessible problems. And racism (which I suspect was the expected reason) is a side effect of economic decisions that has taken on a rather monstrous life of its own. Healing the damage caused by colonial policies falls into the category of international public goods-something that will benefit everyone, but the benefit is so long term no capitalist worth his salt will take it on.

    Ms Tek, whose meaning I initially missed because this isn’t a topic where I flex my sense of humor, seems to be saying economics overrides racism, not that racism isn’t in the mix.

  • JR

    P6, your explanation makes it sound more like economics, as does Ms. Tek’s.

  • P6


    Pressed to speculate, I’d say it’s cultural. In colonial times, Africa was “developed” as a source of raw material and as a market. Not as a producer. Not as partner or participant.

    There IS a club of nations, and very few African nations have membership.

    I’ll ignore the rest of the…discussion here.

  • Eric Olsen

    and that reason is??…

  • apparent bad guy

    I agree with Ms. Tek, but for an entirely different reason.

  • Well Eric…

    What do you think? Why do you think that no one stepped in? You know what I think. I can’t see how anyone can come to another, logical, conclusion… esp considering recent actions.

    Africans are not important. Genocide, mass rapes, mass gaves, hunger and starvation is okay if you are African. Unless you are an African sitting on diamonds or Oil. Otherwise, to hell with ya!

  • David,

    How are yours? Are about to quote false facts again and then run away from the issue when you are shown six ways from Sunday that you are falsifying information?

    Want to revisit “CLINTON’S FREE SPEECH ZONES” again?



  • Joe

    Yeah, I was just kidding. I knew what you meant.

  • Eric Olsen

    My guess is that they were satirical.

  • Ms. Tek,

    How are your comments helpful?


  • Um… no…

    re-read. Bush- in the wilds, I.e. BUSHES.

  • Joe

    Ohfercryinoutloud! There you go about Bush…again!

  • Africans are just a bunch of bush, monkey eating, violent, topless, bone in the the nose, stupid people with nothing that is of any used to the western world…

    You know… a bunch of “ubangy bang-bang, ooga mooga”.

    Unless they are sitting on an oil field or diamond mine.

    The Africans gave the world AIDS.

  • Eric Olsen

    And why would that be? Is it racial, geographic, cultural, economic?

  • P6

    So far the only lesson I’ve seen is it takes one hell of a lot of death and misery to get the world to react to an African problem…far more than it takes anywhere else in the world.

  • Eric Olsen

    880K is a vast number of people, unspeakable. Thanks for the reminder P6. Is there a specific lesson to be learned from what happened there? How can the “never again” hope be most likely made real? I just don’t know all that much about it.