[Marxism] FW: [Dipity] Belgian minister sparks US genocide row
JCraven at clark.edu
Wed Apr 14 08:50:17 MDT 2004
Belgian minister sparks US genocide row
9 April 2004
BRUSSELS - Belgian Defence Minister Andre Flahaut has come under heavy
criticism for approving an official document that says the United States
is responsible for the biggest genocide committed during the past 500
The claim appeared in an official defence ministry magazine as part of a
16-page report on genocide around the world.
The report was published to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 1994
genocide in Rwanda, which left up to a million people dead.
According to the report, the worst genocide committed in the past 500
years has been the extermination of native Americans in what is today
the US. The study said this mass killing began in 1492, when Christopher
Columbus first landed in America, and that the genocide has claimed 15
The report gave no clear end date for the US genocide, implying, said
some analysts, that the extermination of native Americans is still
Number two on the list of the world's greatest genocides was the
extermination of native peoples in south America, the report continued.
Flemish newspaper De Standaard vehemently criticised Flahaut for
allowing the study to be published.
"This publication puts our relations with all north and south American
countries at risk," the paper said in an angry editorial, adding that it
considered Flahaut to be "unfit or incompetent".
Flahaut has already angered Washington in the past. Earlier this year he
said in a magazine interview that he would vote Democrat if he were
American. He was also a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq and briefly
threatened to close Belgian airspace and the port of Antwerp to the
American military ahead of last year's invasion of the middle eastern
The Belgian authorities have sought to play down the impact of the
report. A government official quoted on the website of national
broadcaster RT! BF calle d the furore surrounding the document "a storm
in a teacup".
Despite this, sources say Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel, who was
in Rwanda to commemorate the victims of that country's genocide when the
furore blew up, has already spoken to the US ambassador in Africa's
great lakes region in a bid to head of an embarrassing diplomatic spat.
Michel was on Friday also set to discuss the affair with his US opposite
number Colin Powell, sources added.
Before Flahaut's latest diplomatic gaffe, relations between Belgium and
the US appeared to be improving after two decidedly frosty years.
Earlier this week it emerged that US President George W Bush had written
to Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt to thank him for the role his
country has played inside the Nato alliance and also for
Brussels'efforts to tackle terrorism.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean
politics won't take an interest in you.
-Pericles, statesman (430 BCE)
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