[Marxism] Rwanda Commemoration of Genocide Not Attended by World Leaders

Tony Abdo gojack10 at hotmail.com
Sun Apr 4 21:46:51 MDT 2004

Only the Belgians bothered sending their top leaders to this conference 
commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide carried out 
agianst the Tutsis. Where were Clinton and Carter?   Was there a 'hidden 
agenda' of the Europeans and Americans asks Kagame?

Tony Abdo
April 5, 2004
Kagame blames int'l 'deliberate failure' for Rwanda genocide, 10 years on

President Paul Kagame denounced the "deliberate failure" of international 
powers to stop the slaughter of up to one million people, at the opening of 
the formal commemoration of the Rwandan genocide 10 years ago.

"We should always bear in mind that genocide, wherever it happens, 
represents the international community's failure, which I would in fact 
caracterise as deliberate, as a convenient failure, to take responsibility," 
Kagame told an international conference in Kigali.

"When genocide takes place, the international community should not shy away 
from its responsibilities.... How could the lives of one million Rwandese be 
considered so insignificant?" he said.

Praising survivors of the carnage and heaping blame on global powers who 
many say could have stopped it, the three-day international conference was 
the first of multiple events to mark the 1994 genocide, which according to 
UN figures killed 800,000 and according to Kigali led to one million deaths.

Conference participants earlier on Sunday were shuttled to areas outside the 
capital to pay homage to the victims.

At the churches in Nyamata and Ntarama, south of Kigali, some 15,000 people 
were massacred after they sought to take refuge there.

The cemetery of Nyanza, another stop on the tour on the outskirts of the 
capital, is the burial grounds for 3,500 people who were abandoned in a 
schoolyard by UN peacekeepers, and later massacred.

One Canadian visitor, Gerry Caplan, welcomed the harrowing tour. "The more 
opportunities there are to explore -- not just the aspect of the bodies and 
the graves but also the background (to the genocide) -- the better," he 

The Rwandan genocide was sparked by the assassination on April 6, 1994 of 
the ethnic Hutu president, Juvenal Habyarimana, whose plane was shot down as 
it came in to land at Kigali airport.

In a deliberate campaign of bloodletting, ethnic Tutsis and politically 
moderate Hutus were targeted from the following day, and only in July 1994 
did a mainly Tutsi rebel movement led by Kagame seize Kigali and put an end 
to the slaughter.

Remembering the events a decade on has sparked soul-searching in Kigali, 
among global powers who were silent witnesses to the carnage and at the 
United Nations, whose tiny contingent of peacekeepers in the central African 
country found itself helpless to act.

"The international community could have kept the genocide from taking 
place," Francois-Xavier Ngarambe, the president of an association of 
genocide survivors, told the conference.

The victims, he added, were "a people who meant nothing to the interests of 
the great powers".

A coordinator of an organisation for students survivors of the genocide, 
Jean-Marie Vianney Usengimana, minced no words. "We are commemorating for 
the 10th time the genocide of the Tutsis of Rwanda. We remember how the 
international community abandoned us."

Among the roughly 20 historians, survivors, lawyers and genocide specialists 
on the conference roster, one of the most anticipated speeches will come 
Tuesday from Romeo Dallaire, the retired Canadian general who led the UN 
mission in Rwanda. He returned Friday to Kigali for the first time since his 
mission and the genocide.

Kagame spared Dallaire criticism, praising him as "a very good man caught up 
in mess."

A 1999 report laid the blame on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and other UN 
officials, as well as on the United States and other Security Council 
nations, for failing to take action to stop the killing.

"Heroes of our time", said Kagame, were the survivors.

"They have suffered in silence for the past 10 years. They lost their loved 
ones, their property. They were tortured, raped, infected with HIV. They now 
live in abject poverty and the whole of the past 10 years have been a 
nightmare for them.

"Moreover, we have overburdened them with demands to reconcile, to live with 
their former torturers, and they have agreed."

He said the perpetrators of genocide were "defeated, not destroyed" in 

Beside the conference, which lasts until Tuesday, other official events 
marking the anniversary will include a march in the capital Kigali on April 
7, the date the killings began.

The same day, also in Kigali, a memorial in the district of Gisozi will be 

The official climax in the string of events is expected to be the formal 
ceremony in the Kigali stadium on Wednesday, which will be attended by eight 
heads of state or government and other foreign dignitaries.

Aside from former colonial power Belgium, no other Western state has sent 
its leaders.
Rwanda genocide 'failure' berated
Rwandan President Paul Kagame has accused the international community of 
deliberately failing to prevent the genocide in the country 10 years ago.

Speaking at the opening of a conference on the killings in the Rwandan 
capital Kigali, Mr Kagame condemned the worldwide inaction at the time.  He 
also questioned whether countries would act differently now.

Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu militias during a 
few weeks in 1994.

The conference marks the beginning of a week of commemoration for the 

'Hidden agenda'
"We should always bear in mind that genocide, wherever it happens, 
represents the international community's failure, which I would in fact 
characterise as deliberate, as convenient failure," Mr Kagame told the 

"How could a million lives of the Rwandan people be regarded as so 
insignificant by anyone in terms of strategic or national interest?

"Do the powerful nations have a hidden agenda? I would hate to believe that 
this agenda is dictated by racist considerations or the colour of the skin, 
I hope it is not true."

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, who was head of peacekeeping at 
the world body during 1994, has accepted institutional and personal blame 
for not doing more to prevent the Rwandan slaughter.

The BBC's Robert Walker, in Kigali, says that over the next two days, 
conference participants will be discussing the causes and legacy of the 
genocide, and what can be done to prevent similar tragedies occurring 

Our correspondent says the government hopes the commemorations will provide 
an opportunity to dignify the memory of those killed, and show the world the 
progress Rwanda has made in reconstruction.

Stability has been restored in Rwanda in the decade since the genocide, but 
the government has been criticised by human rights groups for oppression of 
its opponents.

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