The Rwandan Genocide, Reimagined

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<ul><li><p>Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, LLC</p><p>The Rwandan Genocide, ReimaginedNoires fureurs, blancs menteurs: Rwanda 1990-1994 (Furious Blacks, Lying Whites: Rwanda1990-1994) by Pierre PanReview by: Mark DoyleForeign Policy, No. 154 (May - Jun., 2006), pp. 83-85Published by: Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, LLCStable URL: .Accessed: 16/06/2014 07:03</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact</p><p> .</p><p>Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, LLC is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extendaccess to Foreign Policy.</p><p> </p><p>This content downloaded from on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 07:03:29 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>Rewriting Rwanda </p><p>By Mark Doyle </p><p>Noires fureurs, blancs menteurs: Rwanda 1990-1994 (Furious Blacks, Lying Whites: </p><p>Rwanda 1990-1994) By Pierre Pean 544 pages, Paris: Mille Et Une </p><p>Nuits, 2005 (in French) </p><p>etween April and July 1994, I spent most of my time reporting on the geno </p><p>cide in Rwanda for the BBC. One day I would be counting cadavers piled high in a rural church; on another, I would interview perpetra tors or victims. I remember looking out from a half-destroyed Kigali hotel at red-hot tracer bullets forming an arc in the night sky. I recall inter viewing the International Red Cross representative-one of the few for eign aid workers not to have run away-who said into my micro phone, "I stopped counting at 500,000 dead." </p><p>What happened in Rwanda in 1994 is now fairly common knowl edge. Just for the record, though, here are the facts as I understand them: The genocide was perpetrated by an extremist ethnic Hutu regime that responded to a military attack by ethnic Tutsi rebels by trying to </p><p>murder all Tutsis-as well as those Hutus prepared to make peace with the minority Tutsis. </p><p>For several years prior to the genocide, the majority Hutus had received French diplomatic and </p><p>military backing. By contrast, the </p><p>Mark Doyle is a BBC world affairs corre </p><p>spondent. He was an East Africa </p><p>correspondent for the network during the </p><p>Rwandan genocide. </p><p>Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), who led the rebellion, had been brought up in exile in neigh boring, English-speaking Uganda. By the end of July 1994, an estimated 800,000 were dead, the vast majori ty of them Tutsi. The operation was extremely well organized. The Hutus killed at a rate faster than the Nazis killed Jews in World War II. </p><p>Thus far, I think the author of Noires fureurs, blancs menteurs Rwanda 1990-1994 (Furious Blacks, Lying Wbites: Rwanda 1990-1994) would hardly disagree </p><p>with me. </p><p>over the Hutu government and ended the genocide) fails to explain the entire story of such massive killing. </p><p>The context is the years that led up to the war-during which, according to Pean, the minority RPF forced itself onto the scene and com </p><p>mitted gross human rights viola tions-and the years that followed. </p><p>He cites the wars in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, which followed the genocide, as some of the worst acts committed by the RPF. Rwanda's support for two invasions of the Congo undoubted ly contributed to millions of deaths </p><p>When attempting to reinterpret the history of one of </p><p>the most violent episodes of the 20th century, a bit </p><p>more consistency and credibility is required. </p><p>But in this controversial new book, French investigative journal ist Pierre Pean goes on to claim that the real catalyst of the genocide was not the Hutu regime, but the Tutsi rebel who allegedly shot down Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana's plane on the night of April 6, 1994. This event triggered the genocide. </p><p>Tipped off by the publisher's blurb on the cover, I prepared myself for crude historical revi sionism. But this is not, for the most part, a crude book. Pean doesn't deny the genocide. He says it was "barbarous." But, he says, the con text is all-important, and the "offi cial history" (told by the Tutsi rebels who won a military victory </p><p>in that country. This context is important and valid. It can also be twisted to distract from the indis putable facts of the genocide. </p><p>Pean relates how a cabal of white writers and propagandists in Europe have, according to him, lied by pro moting the narrow "official" version of events while hiding examples of the RPF's malfeasance. He then painfully attempts to exonerate France from blame for arming the Hutu genocidaires. Moreover, he glosses over some of the more impor tant aspects of the French military intervention in southwest Rwanda at the height of the killing, when they created a so-called humanitarian zone-namely, that France allowed </p><p>MAY |JUNE 2006 83 </p><p>This content downloaded from on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 07:03:29 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>1[ In Other Wordsj </p><p>some extremist Hutus to escape; extracted some key members of the genocidal regime; and refused to sup port the United Nations in its efforts to save lives. </p><p>One of the main building blocks of Pean's "other side" of the story is the judicial inquiry mounted by lead ing French investigating judge, Jean </p><p>Louis Bruguiere. Because the crew of Habyarimana's plane was French (and all on board were killed when it spiraled into the ground near Kigali </p><p>Airport), Bruguiere was mandated to investigate. Although the judge's inquiry has not been made public and the case has not been brought to court, a March 2004 scoop in the French daily Le Monde revealed that Bruguiere's report claimed the assassination was organized by the RPF commander, Paul Kagame-who happens to be the current president of Rwanda. </p><p>What's more, Pean argues that Kagame committed this act knowing it would provoke a massacre; that </p><p>Kagame knowingly sacrificed hun dreds of thousands of Tutsis in a calculated bid for power. </p><p>In 2004, I asked Kagame about Bruguiere's reported allegation. The Rwandan president said the accusa tion was ridiculous, part of a plan by French authorities to hide French connivance with Hutu extremists. Of course, it's unsurprising that Kagame denies the charge. But it is still feasi ble the plane was shot down by extremist Hutus who feared the polit ical compromises Habyarimana was considering, and so they killed him to serve as the signal that the genocide should begin. It is also feasible that </p><p>Kagame's men shot down the plane as an act of war, not realizing it would spark genocide. The author's take is that the RPF surely must have known </p><p>massacres on a huge scale would fol low the attack. But how could anyone predict such a thing with certainty? </p><p>Pean interviews several people reportedly mentioned in the French judicial inquiry and numerous exiles now opposed to the Kagame regime. His nearly exclusive reliance on French sources-and on Rwandan opponents of Kagame-is a prob lem. He seems to swallow some sto ries and believe sources without stopping to question them. For example, the author claims to have a radio intercept (presumably collected by the Hutu government or the French) of a message Kagame sent to an RPF commander in Kigali in </p><p>December 1993. In this message, Kagame allegedly says: "The general aim ... is the physical liquidation of certain civil and military authorities at certain precise dates and on orders. You'll get the list of victims later, but Number One is well known!" </p><p>Is it really credible that a mili tary leader such as Kagame, who is </p><p>widely respected (and feared) for his tactical skills, would send a radio message on such a sensitive subject on a frequency that the French or their Rwandan allies could intercept? Is it really credible that </p><p>Kagame would incriminate himself in such a message and, further, phrase it in this rather childish way? It looks to me that some of the mes sages Pean attributes to the RPF could be propaganda planted by the French or their allies. </p><p>My doubts were reinforced by a few elements in this book that I know are wrong. For example, Pean accus es the commander of the small and beleaguered U.N. force in Rwanda in 1994, the Canadian Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, of being in the pocket of the United States. That is absurd; Dal laire was extremely critical of the underwhelming U.S. role during the genocide. His critiques were </p><p>made in private during his U.N. </p><p>FkWkUUMIU[U%SIII Sg]I]k]V1 </p><p>The Australian National University - Combined Degree Program The Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy offers graduate education in diplomatic theory and practice at The Australian National University, Australia's premier research institution. </p><p>Our unique Master of Diplomacy Program allows students to earn a degree in diplomacy combined with a degree in another specialisation, such as: </p><p>* Strategic Affa irs*9 Middle-Eastern Et Central Asian Studies * International Relations * International Law * Public Policy * International Et Development Economics </p><p>* Asia-Pacific Studies * Environmental Management Et Development </p><p>The Program is ideal for those whose professional role requires a solid understanding of </p><p>diplomacy, and its contemporary challenges, whether in the public service, or with a multilateral </p><p>organization, transnational corporation or NGO. </p><p>VA Approved for MGIB, Eligible for US Dept of Education financial aid </p><p>APCD 161104FP CRICOS Provider #00120C </p><p>For enquiries a application forms: </p><p>1: 011 612 61257983 </p><p>F: 011 612 61257985 </p><p>E: </p><p> THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY </p><p>84 FOREIGN POLICY </p><p>This content downloaded from on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 07:03:29 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>command and in public in his 2003 book on Rwanda. </p><p>The ridiculous accusation that Dallaire was pro-American appears to come from the same school of thought, led by French politicians at the time, that there was an "Anglo Saxon" conspiracy against France a plot that Pean appears determined to unmask. Maybe there was a plot. </p><p>But this work doesn't prove one, and, frankly, the swipe against the Cana dian general is so wide off the mark that it makes one question some of Pean's other arguments. The book will be devoured by some and reject ed by others. It will add to the debate but will not be seen as fair-like, I sup pose, almost everything surrounding the awful history of Rwanda. </p><p>That is a shame, because Pean's book contains interesting passages especially those based on the archives of the French presidency and inter views with French soldiers who served in Rwanda. The discussions of </p><p>Rwanda in the French cabinet are fascinating; the late French President Francois Mitterrand appears to have been at the forefront of those who suspected a plot against French inter ests in Africa. And some of the accounts of the key role French sol diers played in stopping a rebel advance in 1993 also shed some fresh light on the run-up to the genocide. The problem with this work is that the search for con text-the other wars, the undoubt ed RPF abuses-is based, in part, on </p><p>evidence of widely varying credibil ity. The six-year Bruguiere judicial inquiry, for example, is offered as evidence alongside what look like dodgy radio intercepts. When attempting to reinterpret the history of one of the most violent episodes of the 20th century, a bit more consis tency and credibility is required. </p><p>What Pean fails to do, perhaps for obvious reasons given his mes sage, is actually step foot in Rwanda to pursue his questions. It is a serious </p><p>weakness to his effort. His publish er tells me he did not visit Rwanda "by choice." After this book, though, it seems doubtful he would ever be allowed to go there as long as the authoritarian RPF government rules the country. IMI </p><p>What They're Reading </p><p>Reading the Italian Mind </p><p>Lfi </p><p>n </p><p>A columnist for Milan's daily Corriere della Sera and author of the forthcoming La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind, Beppe Severgnini is a keen observer of the Italian culture and character In a conversation with FP, he discussed American best sellers, the failure of Italy's politicians, and why Italians would rather write a book than read one. </p><p>FOREIGN POLICY: What do Italians like to read? </p><p>Beppe Severgnini: We don't like to read very much. The truth is that a book that sells 2,000 </p><p>copies is considered to have done well. But there is great pas sion: In Italy, there are many more writers than readers. I hardly know anyone who doesn't want to publish a novel, poem, or memoir. But these same people </p><p>don't realize that, to write, you also have to read; it's like a musician who won't listen to music, or a cook who won't eat. </p><p>FP: But American books tend to sell well. Why? </p><p>BS: Because Americans know how to construct a plot, by making it gripping. Americans know how to narrate a story, both on film and in a novel. </p><p>FP: Many argue that Italy is in </p><p>decline. Is that true culturally as well? </p><p>BS: Well, it's not the best of times. I can discern some move </p><p>ment in the fine ars, writing, both fiction and nonfiction, in the younger generations. I call them the e-generation: euro, e-mail, Erasmus [an exchange program between European universities], and easyJet. The e-generation, </p><p>J-? </p><p>including novelist Niccolo Ammaniti, Gucci designer Frida Giannini, and jazz pianist Giovanni Allevi, is shaking things up a bit. </p><p>FP: Who is the "next big thing" in Italian culture? </p><p>BS: There are scientists [who were] born in the 1960s and 1970s who are now spread across the United States. Stefano Soatto, 38, is director of the vision lab at UCLA, and </p><p>Carlo Rafti, 35, is director of the SENSEable City Laboratory at MIT I have this Web site, called "Italians," which is a true com munity made up of Italians living abroad whom I regard very high ly. Among the 120,000 daily visi tors, there are a few thousand who, well, let's put it this way: If we could pick our next govern ment out of this group, I would feel much better. </p><p>Interview: Davide Berretta, a researcher at FOREIGN POLICY </p><p>This content downloaded from on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 07:03:29 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p><p>Article Contentsp. 83p. 84p. [85]</p><p>Issue Table of ContentsForeign Policy, No. 154 (May - Jun., 2006), pp. 1-16, 1-8, 17-64, 1-40, 65-96Front MatterThe Secret to Success [p. 1-...</p></li></ul>


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