Showing posts with label genocide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label genocide. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Graphic Novels and the Rwandan Genocide

Rwanda 1994 by Pat Masioni 
Deogratias by Stassen
Dogma by stéphane betbeder and bonetti

Monday, March 28, 2011

Libya: No-Fly Zone, Cont'd

The opening to president Paul Kagame's op-ed piece in Rwanda's New Times:
My country is still haunted by memories of the international community looking away. No country knows better than my own the costs of the international community failing to intervene to prevent a state killing its own people. In the course of 100 days in 1994, a million Rwandans were killed by government-backed "genocidaires" and the world did nothing to stop them. So it is encouraging that members of the international community appear to have learnt the lessons of that failure. Through UN Resolution 1973 we are seeing a committed intervention to halt the crisis that was unfolding in Libya.
Below Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni praised Gaddafi's independence and condemned his excesses, such as his meddling with Uganda's monarchs (blogged here)

This Afriknews piece by Stéphanie Plasse gets to the root of Gadaffi's black Tuareg fighters - and their loyalty:
In the 90’s, Tuaregs fleeing repression in Mali sought refuge in Libya. During the rebellion, Muammar Gaddafi served as mediator between the authorities in Mali and Niger on the one hand and the Tuareg rebels on the other. "He doled out large sums of money to the leaders of rebel movements. He helped them in order to secure his hegemonic position in the Sahara region," says Camille Lefebvre, a specialist historian on Niger. The result of Gaddafi’s support has enabled many Tuaregs to acquire Libyan nationality thereby allowing them to join the northern African country’s army. And according to Moussa Al Koni, the Libyan-Tuareg soldiers who number between 3000 and 4000 have been transferred from the traditaional base in the south to the north of the country where the protests are taking place. "Gaddafi formed the ’Maraoui’ division composed of Tuareg fighters. These (Tuareg foot soldiers) have been used in Chad and Lebanon where many of them lost their lives." (more)

We never thought we 'd see it, but those are Arab fighter jets (Qatar and UAE) flying over Libya. In the Guardian, Jason Burke looks at what it means to have Qatar funded Al Jazeera on ground and fighter jets in the air:
Then there is the key role played in the "Arab spring" by al-Jazeera, the satellite TV channel set up by the emir in 1996. Broadcasting from Doha, al-Jazeera is now the dominant Arabic-language news outlet in the region and increasingly recognised around the world. Al-Jazeera English is gaining fans...Al-Jazeera's role and Qatar's decision to send planes are both rooted in Qatar's size, its location on a spur of the Arabian peninsula and the emir's efforts to ensure his country's independence from much bigger neighbouring states such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.
If Al Jazeera reporters find themselves eporting on a Gadaffi compound bombed by a Qatari fighter, they should take some tips below from Jon Stewart and the Daily Show on how to handle all the full disclosures:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Nigeria: Fat Biafrans

Hypertension, Diabetes and Overweight: Looming Legacies of the Biafran Famine, a recently published study conducted by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu. The study says there is a predisposition towards obesity among Biafrans conceived during the famine between 68 and 70.
This study showed higher BP, higher p-glucose and higher weight in middle-aged Nigerian people exposed to severe undernutrition in utero and in infancy. Comparing unexposed offspring with that of starving pregnant women, fetal-infant undernutrition was associated with significant increases in the prevalence of hypertension (from 9.5 to 24%, defined as SBP≥140 mmHg) and impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes (from 8.0 to 13%). Famine in early childhood was also associated with an increased prevalence of adult blood pressure in the hypertensive range (from 9.5 to 16%). Given the additive effects of early famine and adult overweight, early undernutrition followed by later overnutrition seem to provide two fundaments for the adverse metabolic and cardiovascular outcomes seen in today's Nigeria....
NYT's McNeil Jr breaks it down even further. Sounds to me like "fetal undernutrition" is a kin to a "fetal programming" that later on in life predisposes a body to overcompensate in order to stay in prep mode for an hibernation that may, or may not, come. More on "rapidly increasing prevalences of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes and hypertension in Sub-Saharan Africa" - here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sudan/ South Sudan: Referendum - T Minus 103 Days

Sudan 360 "drums for peace"/"we are the world" video doesn't suck.

Obama's Sudan  speech from UNGA on friday didn't suck either - even with its Prendergast-Ocampo addendum :)
Indeed, there can be no lasting peace in Darfur -- and no normalization of relations between Sudan and the United States -- without accountability for crimes that have been committed. Accountability is essential not only for Sudan’s future, it also sends a powerful message about the responsibilities of all nations that certain behavior is simply not acceptable in this world; that genocide is not acceptable. In the 21st century, rules and universal values must be upheld...
Sudan 365 - number of days to the referendum in Sudan

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rwanda: Kagame - Season 2, Cont'd

The spat over the UN leaked report continued at the Q&A after president Paul Kagame's Sept 16th Oppenheimer lecture at IISS in London. Full lecture + Q & A - here. In the Q&A, Kagame pointed out:
...that the UN's failure to stop the genocide against the Tutsis in 1994 should invalidate any criticism of his forces.
I wouldn't say it invalidates criticism of his forces, but that prior failure goes a long way in invalidating the UN's authority to even make those criticisms in the first place.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Africa: Films

Sudan/London - BBC 4 premiers Gabriel Range's I'm A Slave (2010) tonight (click on pic). Written by Jeremy Brock, it stars Wunmi Mosaku as Malia, a Sudanese 12 yr old taken to London to work -- above they talk about the making. The good folks at S&A also unearthed another clip - more here.

Ghana/New York - BBC's Strand talks to NY writer and critic Michael Atkinson - here- about the deafening festival buzz around Sean Baker's Prince of Broadway (2010), which opens in NY, Sept 3rd. The film spins--in a guerrilla documentary manner--a tale around Lucky, an illegal immigrant-New York street hustler from Ghana, played by Prince Adu, who is left with a baby to pull off what looks like a Pursuit of Happyness situation.  S&A has more on dir. Lee Daniels signing on to help the film go mainstream:

Rwanda - Trailer for Alrick Brown's Kinyarwanda, a tale interweaving six different tales that together form one grand narrative, which the filmmakers claim provides "the most complex and real depiction yet presented of human resilience and life during the [Rwandan] genocide."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rwanda: "Abyssnian Jews"

Kigali Memorial Centre, Gisozi/ pic: I, Inisheer

Switching from French to English instruction in schools and joining the British commonwealth were some of the moves Rwanda made to turn the page on what it considers a Franco-colonial genocide past.On visiting Rwanda, Josh Kron writes in the Guardian that even though Rwandans now downplay their Hutu and Tutsi ethnicity, Tutsi, because of the "historical contingency" in Israel's and Rwanda's genocide experiences, are now more inclined to play up their "Jewishness" and also trace their genealogically connection to Israel:
...what caught my attention most were the references to Israel, the references to the Jews. At first it seemed obvious; as historical cousins of genocide Israel and Rwanda had a special bond. Like Israel, Rwanda had escaped genocide to become a shining example in a troublesome part of the world. But the reference and affirmation was much more than historical contingency; it was, according to them, true blood. According to some historians and Tutsi scholars, the group originally came to Rwanda from Ethiopia in the 15th century. Although played down by the current government, the belief persists. To Tutsis, the genealogical lineage to Ethiopia connects them to a greater constellation including ancient Hebrews.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Rwanda: Franco Doesn't Phone or Live Here Anymore

France 24 looks at Rwanda's decision to join the Commonwealth and how the country ties its Francophone-ness to a genocide past it's trying to shed for new Anglophone clothes:

So what did France do? Author Stephen Kinzer wrote in the Boston Globe:
Even as the genocide was unfolding, reports of France's support for it began appearing in French newspapers. French soldiers who arrived in Rwanda believing that they had come to protect victims soon realized that they were, in fact, protecting killers, and several communicated their disgust to French journalists. In 1995 President Jacques Chirac of France made a remarkably honest confession of his nation's guilt. "France . . . delivered protected people to their horrors. These dark hours have sullied our history forever and are an insult to our past and our traditions." Unfortunately Chirac was not speaking about Rwanda, but about France's delivery of French Jews to the Nazi murder machine during World War II. His statement suggests that it takes nations at least half a century before they can apologize for their misdeeds.
And less time than that to commit the same misdeeds again.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sudan: "Our Strategy Has Three Principal Objectives..." -- The Rehash, Pt. 2

AlJazeera's Inside Edition brings together Bona Malwal (Sudanese Govt adviser), Abdelwahab Al-Affendi and Mr.--I told you so--Alex de Waal to discuss the United States policy shift on Sudan.

De Waal says Foggy Bottom's new phrasing, "a definitive end to genocide," will now shift the focus away from a politics of stopping atrocities to a politics of finding the conclusive political solution of moving Sudan forward.

Sudan: "Our Strategy Has Three Principal Objectives..." -- The Rehash

American Prospect's Mark Goldberg asks GI Net's Sam Bell for his thoughts on last monday's rollout of the United State's "new" policy on tackling the crisis in Sudan.

Goldberg and Bell also discuss why Bell and other Dafur advocates were disappointed the president wasn't there with Rice, Gration and Clinton that morning.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Africa: Reconsidering U.S. Military Options Regarding Genocide

Sarah Sewall's essay in The Boston Review is one part the political history of the term "genocide" --a word coined by Raphael Lemkin after WWII, I gather--and it's also 2 parts analysis of coming up with what's even harder -- grounds for the United States to harness the political will to contain genocides.

The 2007 Genocide Prevention Task Force (chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen) has drawn up a guidebook for using the blunt tool of U.S. leadership in addressing the surgical precision needs of preventing mass killings, and its report, Sewall writes, "has become the go-to guide for genocide prevention."

Sewall argues that the report's abrogation of full scale military intervention for, instead, the political pragmatism of focusing on prevention, which makes it easier to galvanize international political will, maintains a "deeper dysfunction haunting both the Report and U.S. policy":
Narrowly interpreting a prevention mandate allows the Task Force to sidestep the most controversial and challenging aspect of dealing with genocide: the use of military power to halt or contain mass killings once they have begun. The Task Force acknowledges that

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sudan: Campaign Promise? What Campaign Promise?

The first paragraph in Ginger Thompson's report in the New York Times today was enough to make many in John Prendergast's camp of Dafur activists rupture a blood vessel:
The Obama administration has formulated a new policy for Sudan that proposes working with that country’s government, rather than isolating it as President Obama had pledged to do during his campaign...
Anticipating Clinton, Rice and Gration's unveiling of the administration's new Sudan plan on monday, Enough's Laura Heaton fires:
The evidence from the first seven months of Gration’s tenure – and even more importantly, the 20-year reign of the NCP – is unambiguous: Khartoum is not partner that can be cajoled into behaving in the interests of its people. The administration’s only accomplishment thus far was to negotiate a partial return of humanitarian groups that had been expelled by the regime. This is hardly a “victory,” but rather a return to a miserable status quo for millions of Sudanese who have been driven from their homes and are now warehoused in miserable camps. The regime has shown time and again that it will do whatever it takes to maintain its grip on power. Easing up on Khartoum simply gives President Bashir and his close-knit circle of advisors (many of whom rose to power alongside Bashir in the 1989 coup) the chance to stall and make excuses, while fomenting violence and undermining peace efforts behind-the-scenes. With continued, devastating effect for the people of Sudan.
So what's Washington's leverage here? Bashir co-operates and Ocampo drops the warrant? Does Bashir care? Will the chance to side with Washington and stick it to Oxfam and the rest make Sudan pucker up? Monday will tell.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rwanda: Writings About a Post-Genocide Society

In TNR, Professor of History at the University of Chicago, Christine Stansell, reviews Jean Hatzfeld's writings on post-genocide Rwanda, which was faced with problems of re-integration and reconciliation on an unprecedented scale.

Unlike postwar Europe wherein the survivors emigrated to the United States and Israel, leaving non-Jewish Germans to come to terms with their past on their own or in Cambodia where there has been no national reckoning, Rwanda was faced with the demographic problem "of reconstituting a nation out of a vast Hutu majority and a tiny Tutsi remnant [...] compounded by the brutal fact that the violence of 1994 was produced by a mass mobilization, and was carried out by an army but also by civilians and a volunteer militia."

Upon the return of the perpetrators from prison, Stansell highlights the picture Hatzfeld paints of the complex nature of post genocidal shame and denial:
Hatzfeld heard the same complaint from Tutsis over and over: “Not one prisoner came asking for forgiveness.” The killers were incurious about how their victims were faring, and oblivious to what the genocide had wrought, except as it affected their own problems with abandoned fields and wives with babies. “They are afraid to have a conversation,” Claudine adds, “so if someone goes near them--quick, they blurt out a bonjour to ward off a handshake, behaving like angels but turning away from any gesture of closeness with us.” In fact, prisoners were more likely to see themselves as dispensers of justice and forgiveness--taking back wives who had been unfaithful, ousting wrongful occupants of their fields--than as criminals in search of absolution. To be sure, the responses varied: some explicitly rejected remorse, but one hapless man ended up dead because he insisted on talking too much, compulsively confessing to anyone who would listen. He produced too much truth, too many revelations, for the community to bear. Others expressed contrition strategically, always in public, so as to build up credibility with the authorities. They never appealed in private to victims’ families.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Rwanda: "A Model for the African Renaissance"?

Fareed Zakaria kind of drools all over Rwanda's president Paul Kagame:
Ask anyone who has studied Rwanda —African or Westerner— what its secret is and they will say leadership, by which they mean Paul Kagame. Kagame commanded the rebel army that ended the genocide and has been a driving force in Rwandan politics ever since. His guiding philosophy is self-reliance, which means he shares in the critiques of foreign aid, such as the one recently penned by Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo. "The debate about good and bad aid misses the point," he said to me while he visited New York last week. "Aid must do things that wean people off aid—if not, aid is a failure." He acknowledged that foreign aid makes up 50 percent of his own budget but pointed out that the number had been 85 percent, and has been dropping steadily.
Anyway, the part where Zakaria goes on about Rwanda being "stable, well ordered, and ... rebuilt every month" brought to mind this clip I saw a while back about the construction of Rwanda's first independent cinema. I guess it is a sign of a stirring bourgeoisie.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sudan: A Stone's Throw From a Genocide, the Business of Mining Gold is Good

Weird report from France24 about the French mining company Areva, which has been mining gold in Sudan's North Eastern Nubian desert since the 90s. Like the anchor says at the start of the report, "how does a company based in a nation like France, a nation which prides itself of being a defender of freedom throughout the world, end up doing business in an African state whose leader is subject of an international arrest warrant?"

Well, neither the report nor the reporter interviewed at the end could answer the question, which makes you wonder what hidden agendas locked horns, got forced into preemptive mode and into making this piece of rhetoric. Areva mines stuff all over Africa, even Plamegate uranium in Niger, so why is it opening its gates for the first time to television cameras and trying to get its own side of this story out? Beats me.

But as an example of a rhetorical sleight of hand, the report is very good. It evades the story of the glaring disconnection of how a gold mine producing 65 million euros in revenue a year for France and Sudan can exist next to a genocide that has claimed 300,000 lives since 2003.

Instead, it tells the romantic, discovery channel story of human beings doing the tough, dangerous, lonely job of extracting a rare metal from a very inhospitable place. The report creates sympathy for the French, Sudanese and Australian miners going about their job, which they treat just like any other job, and even though the report knows it can't sell the ethics of the big picture of what Areva and France are doing in Sudan to a child, it tries to do the next best thing. It lays some of its cards on the table and leaves it to the audience to decide.


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