Rwanda Information Portal

Rwanda: Too Much Suffering Inflicted on Rwandan and Congolese People

I have been to Rwanda and to Congo. I have seen the suffering Rwanda has inflicted on the Congolese people in order to STEAL Congo’s minerals. I know they use the excuse of hunting down Hutu Militias but the folly of that theory was exposed when Uganda and Rwanda fought in Kisangani.

I am also familiar with the fact that there are dozens of Rwandan officials who fled when they resigned including the latest Kayumba Nyamwasa.

It’s also true that some former Hutu militias or military leaders from the genocidaire government are part of the Rwandan government. One high profile one is General Gatsinzi.

I have seen starving Rwandans in rural Rwanda. I always wondered if Kigali and the rest of the country are in the same nation.

I have met survivors who escaped the genocidaires and survivors who survived the current Rwandan government killings. They all have had their families wiped out. It is hard for me to minimize anyone’s loss of life. The minute by minute stories are very real.

You may also want to look at the Common Wealth Human Rights report or Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International if you think hearing from the survivors/victims themself is not enough.

Hutu and Tutsis existed long before the Germans (initial colonial masters) and Belgians. Ethnic issues existed even within the ruling Tutsi dynasties. Anyone who perpetrates the myth that it was the Belgians who created the issue will lie to you that a Tutsi is a Camel.

by Kpete – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/community/?userid=60554107&plckUserId=60554107

March 10, 2010   No Comments

Numbers of Tutsi and Hutu Victims of Rwandan War

In his article “How free is free” published on his blog, Christopher Vourlias presents the article of Geoffrey York: Rwanda’s blood-soaked history becomes a tool for repression as an “otherwise excellent piece”, but goes on to criticise the author in these terms:

How can you breezily write a sentence like this – “Ms. Ingabire says she doesn’t know how many Tutsis died in 1994, how many Hutus died, or even whether the number of Tutsi victims was larger than the number of Hutu victims.” – without mentioning that such a revisionist opinion contradicts a very large body of genocide scholarship? Should a journalist accept a statement like that at face value?

If knowing the number of victims on both sides is so important, it would be wise to consult those researchers who have already raised the question and who provided enough elements showing that Ingabire is right to say that she doesn’t know…
In fact, the answer to this question raised by Mr Vourlias is given by one commentator on Mr York’s article, who writes:

Mr. York’s article is headed in the right direction based on his limited research on the matter. I highly recommend that he reads a key scientific study by Professor Christian Davenport and Allan C. Stam. It would also be instructive for my York to watch this lecture by Professor Davenport at the University of Michigan.

In minute 31 of the video professor Stam demonstrates how the number of people killed in the Rwandan genocide were made up by Professor Seltzer of Fordham University. Professor Seltzer said he arrived at his figures (which are universally used and quoted)on the notion that an estimate of about or that at least 6 million died in the Holocaust was sufficient for the nuremberg prosecution. He goes on to say that he can no longer recall why he settled on his numbers.

In fact, as written on the fordschool.umich.edu website,

Allan Stam, Professor of Political Science and Faculty Associate at the Center for Political Studies and his colleagues drew from a number of data sources, and their conclusions call into question much of the conventional wisdom about the the violence.

They find that there were several forms of political violence being enacted at once (genocide, politicide, civil war, random violence and vendetta killings), that the extremist Hutu government as well as the Rwandan Patriotic Front engaged in violent activity against Rwandan citizens, and that the majority of victims were likely Hutu and not Tutsi.
These findings have implications for public policy, advocacy, humanitarian intervention as well as post-conflict reconstruction
.
Coming to a New Understanding of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide

March 9, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda’s blood-soaked history becomes a tool for repression

by Geoffrey York – Globe and Mail (theglobeandmail.com)

Victoire Ingabire dared to speak of Hutus victims of genocide

Victoire Ingabire dared to speak of Hutus victims of genocide

Kigali — The symbolism was incendiary. In front of the mass graves where 250,000 genocide victims are buried, a Rwandan politician dared to speak of the Hutus who were killed in those same terrible months in 1994.

Perhaps more astonishingly, Victoire Ingabire was not imprisoned for her taboo comments – not so far, at least, although the police have interrogated her three times and accused her of the crime of spreading “divisionism.”

Her challenge is posing an uncomfortable dilemma for the minority Tutsi-led government that dominates Rwanda. Sixteen years after the genocide of an estimated 800,000 Tutsis by Hutu extremists, can the authorities tolerate a political candidate who appeals openly to the Hutus who still comprise 85 per cent of Rwanda’s population?

How long can the government use the genocide as a justification for strict controls on the political system? And who decides the official history of the genocide?

The woman at the centre of the storm is an unlikely politician: a cheerful 41-year-old emigrant who has worked as an accountant at a U.S. company in the Netherlands for the past decade.

She wears a frilly-strapped dress and giggles merrily when she is asked about the barrage of wild attacks on her in Rwanda’s state-controlled media.

But she is backed by many of the Hutus who fled to Europe and North America during the Rwandan wars of the 1990s. She clearly has money and resources. She rents a large house in one of Kigali’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, where she has a Land Cruiser parked in the driveway.

Ms. Ingabire’s decision to return to Kigali this year has sent shock waves through Rwandan politics. In a country where ethnic divisions are officially never discussed, she has dared to raise Hutu grievances – especially the killing of thousands of Hutus in 1994 and 1995, which she describes as a “crime against humanity.”

It’s a potent appeal. Many Hutus feel excluded from power, excluded from the best jobs and schools, and afraid to speak out. It was to them that Ms. Ingabire was deliberately appealing when she returned to Rwanda in January – after 16 years in exile – and made her controversial comments at the genocide memorial.

Ms. Ingabire has carefully couched her appeal in diplomatic language. She condemns the genocide, calling for reconciliation and dialogue. She denounces “extremists” on all sides. She urges the authorities to bring all criminals to justice, regardless of ethnicity. She pledges to work for a peaceful country, united in mutual respect.

Yet merely by talking of Hutu victims, she has triggered a firestorm of reaction. She and her assistant were assaulted by a gang of young men in a government office. Her assistant, who was badly beaten, has been jailed for “genocide” crimes. She is facing a police investigation for her alleged “genocide ideology.” And even the country’s powerful President, Paul Kagame, has warned that “the law will catch up with her” – a clear threat that she will be arrested.

At the heart of the battle between Ms. Ingabire and Mr. Kagame is a stark disagreement about Rwanda’s identity. The President argues that any talk of ethnicity must be suppressed because Rwanda is still in a fragile post-genocide period, where hatred and violence could rise again. His opponent sees this as an excuse for repression, leading only to resentment and bitterness among those who cannot speak out.

It is unclear whether the government will permit Ms. Ingabire to challenge Mr. Kagame in the presidential election in August. The President won the last election with an official margin of 95 per cent, and he has brooked no real opposition since 1994, when he led the Tutsi rebels who defeated the genocidal Hutu regime.

So far, Ms. Ingabire has been denied permission to gather the 200 signatures that she needs to register her political party. She is routinely subjected to fierce attacks in the pages of Rwanda’s only daily newspaper, the state-connected New Times, which refuses to publish her responses to the attacks.

“I don’t know why the government is so afraid of me,” she says. “They watch me and follow me all the time. I know anything can happen to me – they can arrest me, they can kill me.”

The managing director of the New Times, Joseph Bideri, confirmed that the newspaper refuses to give any “space” to Ms. Ingabire’s responses. He wrote a personal letter to her on Jan. 22, vowing she would never get a “platform” in the newspaper because she is a “genocide denier.”

In an interview, however, Mr. Bideri was unable to provide any evidence that Ms. Ingabire denies the genocide. In fact, in her public speeches and in a lengthy interview with The Globe and Mail, she repeatedly acknowledged and condemned the 1994 genocide. She draws a distinction between the slaughter of the Tutsis – which she calls a genocide – and the killings of many Hutus, which she describes as a “crime against humanity.”

Although she emigrated to the Netherlands shortly before the genocide began, Ms. Ingabire’s own family suffered in the genocide. Her brother was killed in 1994 because he was mistaken for a Tutsi.

“When people talk about the pain they feel, they need to understand that everybody feels pain,” she says. “We have to understand the pain of others. When I condemn the genocide, I’m also thinking of my brother. Not all Hutus are killers, and not all Tutsis are victims.”

International human-rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have criticized the Rwandan government for attacking and harassing opposition leaders such as Ms. Ingabire. Amnesty says the Rwandan law on “genocide ideology” is so vague and ambiguous that the authorities can use it to suppress dissent.

There is strong evidence to support Ms. Ingabire’s allegations of war crimes against Hutus. For example, a United Nations investigator in 1994 estimated that 25,000 to 45,000 civilians, primarily Hutus, were killed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front – the army of Mr. Kagame, now the governing party. Many other civilians, including thousands of Hutu refugees, were killed in further attacks in later years. Only a small handful of RPF members have been prosecuted for the Hutu deaths, which remain a taboo subject in Rwanda.

Ms. Ingabire says she doesn’t know how many Tutsis died in 1994, how many Hutus died, or even whether the number of Tutsi victims was larger than the number of Hutu victims. Some observers say she is leaving the impression of an equivalency between the two sides, despite historical evidence that the Tutsi victims were far more numerous and were the only ones subjected to a deliberate campaign of attempted extermination.

But even the Rwandan government has struggled with how to write the history of the genocide. At the memorial where 250,000 victims are buried, a guide says it commemorates only the Tutsi victims of the genocide. Yet he distributes an audio guide that calls it a memorial to the “Tutsi and moderate Hutu peoples” who were killed.

Didas Gasana, editor of a weekly newspaper whose staff is often harassed and threatened by the authorities for its independent views, says the government needs to provide justice and truth to the Hutu victims. “There needs to be debate and justice and openness,” he says. “It’s a part of history that can’t be denied.”

Mr. Gasana is himself a Tutsi. And despite the official view that ethnicity has disappeared, he says he is often told privately by government officials that he should not write such critical articles – because he is a Tutsi.

Geoffrey York – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/rwandas-blood-soaked-history-becomes-a-tool-for-repression/article1487568/.

March 9, 2010   No Comments

Mrs Victoire Ingabire About False Allegations in the New Times

Here follows the letter addressed to The New Times in Kigali, about the diffamatory campaign orchestrated by its journalists after her visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre at Gisozi.
She writes:

Chief Executive Officer
Editor-in-Chief
The New Times Publications SARL
Immeuble Aigle Blanc
P. O. Box 4953
Kigali – Rwanda

Subject:
Right of rectification and reply to libels published in Sunday Times on 17th January 2010 and The New Times of 18th January 2010:

o The Sunday Times of 17th January 2010 – Editorial – “FDU’s Ingabire desecrates memory with Double Genocide theory”

o The Sunday Times of 17th January 2010- Front page: News – Ingabire espouses Double Genocide Theory

o The New Times of 18th January 2010 – Editorial – “Genocide deniers: the law should take its course”

o The New Times 18th January 2010 – Front page: news – “Govt won't stand violation of the laws-interior Minister”

o The New Times 18th January 2010 – Front page: news – “Political Parties, CNLG slam Ingabire 'divisionist' politics

Dear Sir,

As the chairperson of FDU Inkingi, I have been subject of a deliberate and continuous heinous and/defamatory campaign in your newspapers accusing FDU Inkingi’ public intervention at the Gisozi memorial site of Genocide denier, double Genocide Theory, desecrating memorial, divisionist’ politics, inflammatory statements, and many other shameless insults. The worst was to maliciously spread serious accusations related to the genocide, the most severe crime against humanity historically

I would strongly like to set the record straight regarding the genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda. My position is still and has always been that the genocide against Tutsi took place in Rwanda and all criminals should be brought to book.

I am disappointed by the hatred propaganda, violent, offensive and injurious language towards my person and the FDU Inkingi I represent. It is unfortunate that my words were intentionally twisted. Readers of your papers are purposely made to believe in the content of those offending articles based on untrue facts.

On 16th January 2010, after my visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center at Gisozi, I made the following announcement in Kinyarwanda, which was also recorded and is here translated in English, the language of your media:
‘It is clear that achieving reconciliation has a long way to go; it is far away and this is understandable considered the number of people who were massacred in our country, because such tragedy is not something to move on from easily on the one hand. On the other, when you analyse the situation objectively, you don’t find any serious strategy intentionally developed and implemented to help Rwandans to achieve that reconciliation. For example, we are here honouring at this Memorial the Tutsi victims of the Genocide; there are also Hutu who were victims of crimes against humanity and war crimes, not remembered or honoured here. Hutus are also suffering. They are wondering when their time will come to remember their people.
In order for us to get to that desirable reconciliation, we must be fair and compassionate towards every Rwandan’s suffering. It is imperative that for Tutsi survivors, Hutu who killed their relatives understand the crimes they committed and accept the legal consequences.
It is also crucial that those who may have killed Hutus understand that they must be equally punished by the laws.
It is finally very important for all of us Rwandans with our different ethnic backgrounds to understand that we need to come together in unity and with mutual respect in order to develop our country peacefully.
The reason we came back is therefore to find ways collectively of starting off on that roadmap towards unity, working jointly to remove injustices from our country, addressing as one issues of getting Rwandans to live freely in their country.
Thank you.’

Based on my declarations, all those false accusations and the subsequent hate propaganda are baseless and ill-intentioned. It would’ve been better that the reporters contacted me to get my side of the story prior to publishing those inflammatory allegations. I would like also to draw your attention to similar stories aired by other independent media in this respect.

It’s hard to believe that Rwandan journalists write on tragic issues with so much bias and lack of objectivity. One of the FDU INKINGI policy principles is not to entertain any discrimination or injustice among the Rwandan living and the dead.

I shall be most grateful if you could find some space in your next editorials of your newspapers' and on front pages for the relevant clarifications.

Sincerely yours,

Victoire Umuhoza Ingabire
FDU Inkingi Chairperson

CC: – The Minister of Internal Affairs,
- Press house

Document attached: Press release on Gisozi Visit.

via Rwanda FDU-UDF : False allegations in the New Times.

January 19, 2010   No Comments

Mrs Victoire Ingabire Clarifies FDU-Inkingi’s Position on Genocide In Rwanda

After sharp attacks from Rwandan officials and RPF-led journalists for her declaration yesterday at the Kisozi Genocide Memorial, Mrs Victoire Ingabire, Chair of the FDU-Inkingi (UDF-Inkingi), has issued a statement to clarify the official FDU Inkingi’s position on all crimes (Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes) committed in Rwanda.

She declares:

WE ACKNOWLEDGE THAT IN 1994 THERE HAS BEEN EFFECTIVELY A GENOCIDE IN RWANDA

Rwandans,

I would like to thank you again for your warm welcome on my arrival in my country after 16 years in exile. First thing on the Rwandan soil, I went straight to honour our people who died during the genocide; I also explained that rememberance was an important ritual for Rwandans. Because of the many lives we lost in our country, let’s all of us together advocate for NEVER AGAIN. Politicians, those aiming for political leadership, and any other person should stress NEVER AGAIN as their main motto for action.

We agree totally and are conscious that there has been a genocide against Tutsis and we seriously and continuously advocate that all those who were responsible be brought before the courts of justice. We also agree that there have been other serious crimes against humanity and war crimes; those who committed them have to bear the legal consequences. We must all the time remember those tragedies, make sure they don’t get ever repeated. We need also to ensure that people’s lives are effectively and strongly protected by laws.

It is shameful to find people using Rwandans’ suffering and tragedies to silence and oppress others. It is also disgraceful to see some referring to that painful period in our history to lend others ideologies aimed at reducing the seriousness of crimes committed. The main and honorable role of the media is to inform objectively without any bias and raise awareness on possible controversies that could emerge from the tragedy our country has experienced.

Let’s work for a true reconciliation not characterised by intimidation, so that we politicians could put forward effective policies and manifestos, instead of distracting the populations by looking for our interests in exploiting the tragedy that has traumatised every Rwandan.

All of us together, let’s build our country in a total peaceful environment.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza
Chairperson of FDU-Inkingi

via Rwanda FDU-UDF : Press Release of the Chairperson of FDU-Inkingi.

January 18, 2010   No Comments