Each year, As Kwibuka approaches, it has always been expected that the planners and perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi, and their fellow travelers, will raise genocide denial, and attacks intended to further wound the survivors, to fever pitch. This year, at Kwibuka29, with even more Western allies behind their camp, they are not only louder still, but their tactics are morphing into a more sophisticated campaign.
The naked, overt hatred, so graphically exulted by Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), still echoes through the decades. With the advent of digitisation, however, it is metastasizing to every corner of the world. Social media is saturated with it. But there is a discernible change. The rabid hatred is painted in softer, even nuanced tones, the better to be embraced by Western politicians, parliamentarians, academics and of course media.
A Belgian based organisation, JamboAsbl, established precisely to deny the Genocide Against Tutsi, and promote the Hutu Power ideology, is now worming its way, slowly but surely into the Belgian establishment. Its leadership and most of its membership, is composed of descendants of the leaders of the genocidal PARMEHUTU (Party for the Emancipation of Hutu), and its even more extreme offshoot, HutuPower.
It is an organisation that has everything needed, to be proscribed and shunned by any decent person. Instead, some of its members are campaigning to enter the European parliament. If successful, they will no doubt use the platform to continue their hateful anti Rwanda diatribes, and to advance the PARMEHUTU agenda. And their success is likely.
This Kwibuka, one of their leaders, Gustave Mbonyumutwa, was boasting of the invitation to his orgnaisation, to the commemoration of the Genocide Against Tutsi, and the murdered Belgian peace keepers. It is a grotesquely offensive, cynical sham. An organisation whose entire reason for existence, is to deny Genocide Against the Tutsi, invited to pretend to commemorate the victims of that genocide.
It is the first time that any member of the organisation, which, like all the adherents of the HutuPower ideology, who seek to deny the Genocide Against Tutsi, by promoting the notion of a “double genocide,” has been persuaded to use the correct term, Genocide Against the Tutsi. It is undoubtedly a price JamboAsbl felt was worth paying, in exchange for being recognised at an official commemoration, in particular for the Belgian peacekeepers. With their political ambitions, they could not be seen not to commemorate Belgium’s murdered peacekeepers.
As JamboAsbl, is given a platform to make speeches about a genocide it pretends never happened, across the waters in America, another HutuPower ideologue and genocide denier, Claude Gatebuke, disports himself, as a genocide survivor, before a rapt American audience, at the Jesuit Loyola University.
“Our stories of surviving the Rwanda Genocide are painful but powerful. Despite perpetrators like Paul Kagame trying to silence us, we’ll never stop seeking justice for ALL victims” he tweets, before inviting his readers, to “check out over 100 authentic survival accounts in our book…” Like some slick salesman at a bazaar, “check out our range of woven carpets…for you at the knockdown price of…”
And Mr Gatebuke is in every respect a salesman, although his wares are more snake oil, and manufactured lies than goods. He sells himself as a survivor of genocide. Note the “our stories of surviving genocide…” Not Genocide Against the Tutsi, the only known genocide in the Great Lakes region of Africa, but an imagined genocide he is trying to superimpose on the actual one.
There are many survivors of this dreamed up genocide. They include journalist Venuste Nshimiyimana, an important figure in setting up the hate radio, RTLM and latterly of BBC Gahuzamiryango, and Voice of America (VoA).
At the height of the genocidal murders in Rwanda, Nshimiyimana, was touring the country, advising the genocidal leadership on the best way of increasing the numbers in the Interahamwe militia. Gatebuke’s parents are fugitives from justice, for crimes of genocide.
It is clear that the quieter, more discreet Nshimiyimana’s purpose in claiming to be a genocide survivor, is to create a story behind which he can conceal his past. Gatebuke on other hand, is a tireless proselytiser for what has been termed, Accusation in a mirror (AiM).
This is defined as “mirror politics, mirror propaganda, mirror image propaganda, or mirror argument…a hate speech incitement technique…AiM refers to falsely imputing to one’s adversaries the intentions that one has oneself and/or the action one is in the process of enacting…”
This technique began early, at the planning stage of the Genocide Against the Tutsi. Listen to RTLM broadcasts, detailing the tortures and murders that were being committed, which they attributed to the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF).
As the propaganda arm of the planners and perpetrators of murders, RTLM broadcasters knew the minutiae of these crimes, in a way that the RPF would learn only later. Post genocide, the technique is making great us of digital technology. So, Gatebuke becomes a genocide survivor, who refers to the then commander of the RPF forces who halted the genocide, as a perpetrator.
Anyone who has read Anjun Sundaram’s book on Rwanda, will not have failed to notice this device. For him, the mass murderers who had fled to the then Zaire, now Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and were waging an insurgency against the RPF led government, were the heroic rebels, fighting against the “repression.”
Similarly in her much publicised book, journalist and writer, Michela’s Wrong, who, like a number of other Westerners, has turned into a virtual HutuPower activist, promotes the genocide planners and perpetrators’ audacious lie, that somehow, it was the RPF that was responsible for the genocide.
The motivation for the likes of Gatebuke, Nshimiyimana, JamboAsbl, in perverting the truth with AiM, is clear. What is not so clear is why so many in the West not only tolerate it, but support and encourage it.
Does Loyola University in America, believe Gatebuke, when he postures as a “genocide survivor” and President Paul Kagame, as a “perpetrator”? Do the BBC, and Voice of America, believe Nshimiyimana’s claim that he is a genocide survivor?
We are in the first week of Kwibuka, the 29th year of commemorating the over a million men, women, and children, victims, of crimes so harrowing, the human mind automatically shields itself from trying to imagine them. The survivors of those crimes however, do not have that option, they have to relive it all, and somehow find a way of keeping their minds, a way to go on.
But, if you expected that any decent person, would rally to the support of Rwandans during this time, you would be sorely mistaken. One of the world’s major newspapers, the New York Times, chooses this particular moment to give a platform to Anjun Sunduram, to continue his obsessive diatribe against the Rwandan President.
Long time director of Human Rights Watch, Ken Roth, chooses this exact moment of remembrance, to rally to the HutuPower campaign of demonising their perennial hate figure, the Rwandan head of state, Paul Kagame. Loyola University, a Catholic institution, invites a rabid genocide denier, a charlatan who claims to be a genocide survivor, to address them on the genocide he denies.
JamboAsbl, an organisation designed to carry the HutuPower torch into the future, is invited by the Belgians, to give a speech about the Genocide Against the Tutsi, which they proclaim never happened.
Are all these people, these organisations, and institutions simply misled into supporting genocide ideology and genocide denial, or is something altogether more pernicious at play?
To put it in a way that Westerners will readily understand, it is as though on Holocaust Memorial Day, major newspapers, journalists, academics, education institutions, like Loyala University, were to choose that moment, to amplify neo-Nazi campaigns to twist the truth of the genocide against the Jewish people.
If such a thing is unthinkable in the case of the Jewish Holocaust, should it not be equally unthinkable, in the case of the Genocide Against the Tutsi?