Friday, November 24, 2006

Rwanda: France weighs in on genocide

In the event of any lingering doubts you might have about the facts of the Rwandan genocide, have no fear. France is now the self-proclaimed expert on what triggered the genocide, and who is responsible. A French court has issued warrants for their arrest. The indicted happen to be nine of President Paul Kagame's closest government aides--including armed forces chief James Kabarebe and army chief-of-staff Charles Kayonga.

They are accused of involvement in the shooting down of a plane carrying Rwanda's former president - an incident the French judge claims sparked the mass slaughter.

The elephant in the room here is the preposterous notion that the downing of then President Habyarimana's aircraft was what triggered the genocide. The French judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, is investigating the case because the crew of the plane were French and the families filed a case in France in 1998. The credibility of the case appears to rest on a brazen re-reading of history, whereby the Hutu extremists who murdered over 800,000 Tutsis were somehow directed or at least in collaboration with the Tutsi-led army (RPF), supposedly directed by Kagame from exile in Uganda.

Go France! Invent the facts and make it up as you go--the rest of the world does it equally shamelessly!

I cant believe anyone is taking this seriously. Habyarimana's assassination by surface-to-air missile and the assassination of 800,000 Tutsis by machete and petrol fires are separate events. Thousands of eyewitnesses and survivors to the genocide have already attested to the identity of hundreds of convicted genocidaires, all Hutu, most unapologetic: none of them claimed direction or affiliation from Kagame, or any other Tutsi on the planet. Why would they?

BBC and AFP have been reporting on recent developments:

"The French allegations have sparked anger in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, where around 25,000 people are reported to have taken part in a government-organised demonstration against France. Foreign Minister Charles Murigande told AFP news agency Kigali had recalled its ambassador to Paris as they didn't "see why he should be there at this point"." I'm tempted to drive over to Kigali this weekend and savor all the anti-French ruckus.

On an entirely different front -- I'm a big fan of flags, so I cant avoid commenting on Rwanda's 'new look'.

Here's the new Rwandan flag, since Kagame took power after the events of 1994. It looks kind of South Pacific to me, less austere than the old one below.

Such was the old Rwandan flag, so devoid of creativity they had to put a big 'R' in the middle to distinguish it from the dozens of other African countries with this same color format.

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