Wednesday 8 July 2020
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newtimes - 1 month ago

The Genocide against the Tutsi is that and nothing but

Just so that nobody is diverted by this pandemic and forgets, we are still in the season of sorrow. The sorrow of remembering over a million of our fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons, all who perished in the most horrific death of all time. The dreadful death perpetrated over nothing else but being who they were. A society that, bound together as one people, had fended off regional expansionist adventurers and distant, invading slavers, falling in the pit of shame that’s genocide? The ghastly ignominy will eat into the inside of every Rwandan, victim and perpetrator (despite denial), for eternity. We’ve said it countless times and we’ll repeat it over and over until their elephant ears ache. “They” being those who still toy around with the nomenclature of that gory genocide. The Genocide against the Tutsi is that and nothing but. Its root is known and so is its intent, evolution, execution. For that, its name is unequivocal. And it counted an unequivocal million-plus dead innocents. The victims’ exact number may not yet be established and, in fact, it may never be. Whatever the case, the last count was established at 1.04 million but, understandably, still counting. With remains of the victims still being discovered, some in mass pits that went for graves, it’ll be hard to determine the exact number. Add those thrown in lakes, rivers and elsewhere and you’ll be hard put to account for all. Moreover, the aim was to leave none to tell and, indeed, a tiny number is left to tell. Still, the number is not five hundred or eight hundred thousand or under a million. It’s over a million, period. Rwandans may have lived as a trinity of hunters of the wild, cultivators of the land or keepers of cattle but it was a diversity that was strengthened by that complementary cord of their bond. This was until the arrival of the colonialist and his religion that set in motion a divide-and-rule crusade to destroy that trinity bond, as everybody knows now. It’s then that the colonialists began a campaign to ‘demonstrate’ how Bahutu, Batutsi and Batwa were of different “races”, later ‘softening’ it to “ethnic groups”, that shared no origin. Classification had started.  After juggling the groups they settled on projecting Batutsi as the “true colonialists” and thus, symbolization was complete. When the 1959 pogroms against Batutsi were successfully fulfilled, they knew they had accomplished their job and were ready to grant independence. Discrimination had taken its throne. Proxies for colonialists were in place, so these could remotely control their dominion. Indeed, the government in power went through the remaining stages of genocide commission to accomplish the task bequeathed them by colonialism. The Task: to effect the rest of a well-mapped-out programme that would deliver the desired result.  Dehumanisation had been done for the ‘independent’ government. So it’d been handed foreign invaders, pests, cockroaches, snakes, et al. Organisation and polarisation were a walkover. Creating the Interahamwe militia to supplement the terror force of the army. Setting up the RTLM radio and some print media to support government and politicians’ broadcasts propaganda and involve the populace. Relocation and removal as well as massacres were already the order of the day. It’s thus that the last-but-one stage of the Genocide against Batutsi, targeted from the times of colonialism, was detonated on April 6, 1994. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council had recalled the bulk of its peacekeeping force. To smoothen extermination of those targeted? Your guess is as good as mine. It would not be until after three months that Rwandans, led by RPF/A, would halt it. Twenty-six years hence, Rwandans live even more harmoniously than they did, pre-colonialism. But no, two members of the UN Security Council, USA and the UK, among the decision makers who ordered the peacekeepers to take to their heels, must revise the naming of that horror. Champions of Rwandans’ peace, some at the expense of their burning backyards, have remembered that that carnage had other victims, other than Batutsi. They’ve heard about “collateral damage”, even coined “friendly fire”, etc., but ignore all. They don’t want to see who, from colonial days, was targeted for extermination. Remember, none of them even wanted to hear the word “genocide” in connection with Rwanda. It’d taken place under their gaze and they dreaded the word “reparation” would be broached, as if Rwandans cared for such trinkets. It was all the government, in its infancy, could do to convince them to open their eyes to the glaring evidence of a genocide. The government had even to bend backwards to accept the derogatory shortened naming of “Tutsi” in place of “Abatutsi”, to placate them. Yet, to-date, it’s too painful for them to accept the truth. When one remembers the number of genocide fugitives they are harbouring, one begins to wonder. Must they stoke denial, too? Superpowers that you be, quit the nonsensical polemics of trying to share out blame. It’s a cheap game unworthy of self-respecting governments that you ought to be. The Genocide against the Tutsi derives its name from the reality of that long ‘targeting history’.

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