International Symposium on the Genocide Against Tutsi 2009 (Day 2)
International Symposium on the Genocide Against Tutsi: “15 Years after the Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda. Stakes, Challenges, and Future Prospects.”
Informal Conference Notes
Kigali Serena Hotel, 4th-6th April, 2009
Le role de l’ideologie dans la preparation et l’execution du genocide des Tutsi au Rwanda/ The Role of Ideology in the Preparation and the Execution of the Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda
There was a time when we overemphasized the importance of ideology. Local level: study in 2006. What were the causes of the genocide? 3 categories: ideological, political, economic
Racist ideology. End of independence movement. Tutsi were menaced when the Belgians left.
Typology of the ideology : another challenge. Classic definition: collectivity of value. Ideology changes over the different stages of Rwandan history. Work of the first ethnologues: Tutsi were viewed as a distinct ethnic group, and it was impossible to have national unity because of Tutsi superiority.
1959 : first pogrom. Tutsi didn’t have legitimate citizenship. Genocide ideology : Tutsis were the enemy, worked against the interests of the Hutu community. It was necessary to completely rid the country of the Tutsi.
2006: 85% pp in village thought that genocide was linked to belief that Tutsi better than Hutu, etc.
Small study: questions 3 groups of killers. What were their motivations?
4 main motivations:
1. The Tutsi threat
2. The administration told them to
3. There was no consequence to killing Tutsi
4. Hate because of anti-Tutsi propaganda
Irony of Morality : Constructing Evil to Overcome Enemies and Vice Versa
The speaker only represents the perspective of the US. The US carries the burden of national apathy. We Americans only think of ourselves.
There is something to learn from Rwanda, and there are lessons to prevent it from happening again. Yet, unless there is direct economic consequence for inaction, we can expect no action. Should we assume the worst and act swiftly to quash threat? These suspicions can be corrosive and self-fulfilling prophecies.
We were too slow to call the Rwandan genocide a “genocide.” There has been a high level of support from the US for Rwanda, which is the product of our collective guilt. Curious phenomenon about word “genocide” –does it have magical powers? When we call it genocide, we think it will make it stop…which is why we use it in Sudan also.
July 22, 2004, Congress called Darfur genocide. Bush Administration was asked to lead international intervention effort. Then Colin Powell said it. Should have led to counter-genocidal action in Darfur. Only the US used the word “genocide” to describe Darfur. No one else calls it genocide other than NGOs. Not even AU, Amnesty, MSF, UN have rejected use of term “genocide.” The U.S. shouldn’t use it, either, because it is counterproductive. The use of word “genocide” is now preventing us from doing the right thing in Rwanda because of the real world of international politics.
Even so, we’re not backing off the use of the term. But ICC didn’t say that Bashir committed genocide.
Crux: Extreme moralism, which is the heart of US religious ethos and foreign policy. Clear and unambiguous division between good and evil. While this seems appealing, it is not good for complex situations. Can create enemies and evil, though. Creates an “other.” Dehumanizes the perceived enemies. Psychology: people need to dehumanize others before they can commit violence against them. Evil isn’t a subjective idea; sometimes it exists, and sometimes we must meet violence with violence. Deciding when that action is required can be problematic. Extreme morality limits our political options.
What is natural? If we can do it, it’s natural. If it’s good or bad is subjective. We can’t see things in black and white, Axis of Evil, if you’re not with us, you’re against us. We were good, they were bad. Tendency to create enemies has made us blind to the complexities of our actions.
Morality of good and evil—Hutu thought that Tutsi were evil. Needed to exterminate them. We in the west have a long way to go before we understand Africa and its colonial legacy.
Answering extremism with extremism isn’t the answer. We must be proactive and preventative.
Apocalypse Now: Civil Society, Weapons, and Fear in Modern Genocide
Genocide and public health: 1999 death rates in Rwanda. 40,000 pp died of HIV .6% of susceptible population died. 1,200 died/yr. Genocide: 10.2% of entire population. Couldn’t calculate susceptible population. Mortality rate: 12,750/100,000/yr. Leading cause of death in Africa in 1994 was the Rwandan genocide.
9,500/100,000 2004 in Darfur death rate.
Long term health effects: PTSD, depression, intergenerational transmission of psychological disorders
Violence prevention. It’s low cost, high efficiency. Rebuilding is high cost, low efficiency. After genocide, everyone rushes in after the event and start looking at the victims. Shift the trend back and look before the event at potential perpetrators, we don’t look at leaders or those developing the paradigm ;we look at average people who are susceptible to bad influences. Based on research done in the past. 144 adolescents who were very violent. Interviewed to find out why violence was useful. 12-step program on generating alternatives to violence. Afterward, they had fewer resort to hostility. Those kids had fewer parole violations later.
While genocide is planned by kingpins, it is committed by average people. Social change comes from the top, but can also come from below. Work with individuals and communities directly.
Phase 1: retrospective analysis in Rwanda
Phase 2: prospective analysis in high-risk jurisdictions
Phase 3: development/implementation of programming
Phase 4: program testing and refinement
We focus on the perpetrators instead of the survivors because to protect the survivors, we must prevent people from acting again.
History of ethnic hatred: taught in schools churches, administrative areas
Economic crisis: structural adjustment late 80s early 90s, coffee collapse.
War: one army, two aims
Idle threats of intervention from internationals
Youth bulge: major population growth was 15-25. Unemployed.
Hatred of Tutsis. Taught before independence but stressed after independence. Evil people, cruel and hypocritical. Believed they deserved to be killed.
Became like monsters with no remorse.
**Rwanda was suffering from an intensely militarized civil society who were told they would be killed enslaved by people invading the country. Had to protect themselves, defend, with no rules of engagement. “Our leaders were telling us that if the Tutsis took control, they would put us into slavery and we would be killed.”
People were also afraid of the Interahamwe and ruling authorities. People would have considered them an enemy of the nation.
“Tsunami Effect” people were completely overwhelmed by what was happening. They were recruited. “Government didn’t control anything and we believed we were all going to die.” People felt socially overwhelmed.
3 of 40 male respondents said they didn’t believe what was happening…it was like judgment day. Thought it was the Biblical apocalypse.
Youth: defiance of parents, acting impulsively, defending “manhood,” trying to achieve enough material security to get married and have a family.
The Perfect Storm of genocide: pressures: militarized civil society, self-community defense; fear of ruling authorities; hatred; greed; youth bulge; tsunami effect. Youth are very susceptible to messaging.
Rwanda is at a crossroad. Model security and prosperity. Now in a position to move forward on how to discuss, teach , move beyond genocide. Emphasize victims, give hope and identity to all Rwandans—to bystanders, etc. but certainly people born after the genocide. Engage opinion leaders; Include the social sciences as well as politics and law.
One national blueprint for what the organizational vision is for recovering from genocide. Should be taught in schools and churches. Must be targeted messaging for different age groups. Don’t guess. Talk to people and use data. Can’t change behavior unless you know what people think. Involve the media, be provocative. Coordinate NGO messaging under a national agenda. One governmental message where everyone is working together. Rwanda has shown us a path to success.
Exacerbations ethniques dans les discours du President Gregoire Kayibanda/ Ethnic Exacerbations in the Speeches of President Gregoire Kayibanda
Twa was supposed to be Twa, Hutu was to be worker, Tutsi was to be the leader. In 1963, July 1, anniversary of independence, speech was not partisan, but he said at the end of the speech, “I will finish by speaking to Tutsis. Tutsi hegemony has come to an end. Tutsi should stop creating groups of proud people who are trying to step on the Hutu people. Living on the sweat of others without working themselves. We have to work for ourselves, and those who are educated among you.” At the highest level of the government, it was clear that the government was perpetuating genocidal and ethnic ideology.
28 Jan of 1963. Kayibanda talked to Rwanda refugees. Genocide speech. Genocide has the same roots as fratricide, homicide, etc. Tutsi were spies and sought to change the bright future of other Rwandans. Showed as not contributing to good future of Rwanda. “PARMEHUTU is the party that has come to liberate and save the Hutu.” Never any peaceful ideology, always controversial. He said this in Nyakizu, which did not know ethnic division. In 1966 he said PARMEHUTU had to fight against the hypocrisy of the Tutsi, that the Tutsi had torpedoed the development of Rwanda. Same kinds of speeches made in 1994. On May 1, Labor Day 1967, he said these are the days of Hutus, and you have been bound by ubuhake (feudal hegemony) saying that “it is the day of our ethnic group.” We are liberating ourselves from the undemocratic former rules. Labor Day liberates you from situations like the Great Depression in Rwanda (famine) across the country.
An international Labor Day became now a national party. Ruling Party day. These speeches that were made between 1971 and 1973, he came back to the issue of getting rid of external influences on the culture, namely the influence of Tutsi. He was saying the Tutsi was a foreigner, an external force, not a Rwanda. He used a lot of German words in the speech. Saying culture was that of nobles, using it ironically, saying that Tutsis were considered nobles. The Hutu will no longer be considered as the lower class. Used curse words in his speech to show that the Tutsi would have no more place in Rwanda.
Hypocritical Tutsis are not necessarily the smartest of the people. What you seem to be joking with is a serious issue. You are incompetent, or you act with us to move forward. These are some of the root causes of what happened in 1994, unfortunately no one rose their hand to speak against it.
Negationism in Rwanda
Next to South Africa, Rwanda is the best known country in Africa, but not necessarily for all the right reasons. Rwanda is the case study everyone points to as an international failure. Lots of exhibitions, books, etc. have come out about Rwanda in the past year. And there are many people who deny that some people have tried to pretend that the genocide never happened. Where there is genocide, there is denial.
3 senior bishops in Catholic church have said the Holocaust never happened. Genocide of the Armenians by the Turks. Turkish government punishes any state that recognizes that as a genocide.
5 sources of denial:
1. Hutu Power. Extremists. Deny what happened. Want to do it all over again.
2. There are strong political and religious forces in Europe who continue to perpetuate genocide denial, working with genocidaires.
3. Rwandans who are not exactly genocide deniers, but who are so hateful of the present government that they trivialize the genocide. Greatest example of this is Paul Rusesabagina, who alleged that Kigali today is the same as Kigali in 1994. Patently untrue.
4. French establishment. Enemy of the RPF since it was created, and has done its best to discredit the RPF. French allowed the genocidaires to escape into Congo. Now their denial is manifest (Mitterand said : Le genocide? Ou les genocides? ) in the airplane crash in 1994 which the French want to pin on the RPF to show that the genocide was not preplanned by Hutu power. No one has any real evidence on who shot the plane down. Serious followers of Africa will not say they believe Bruguiere, even though there is no evidence.
5. Rwanda’s own axis of evil. Small group of thugs driven by an extreme paranoid anti-Americanism that leads them to believe that everything that has happened is a big American conspiracy. Only 12 people, but because of the internet, they create a ton of damage.
Bubu, Ellender, Black, Robin Philpot said Romeo Dallaire is a stooge of the USG.
If you listen to Christopher Black, an international criminal lawyer, would believe: genocide is a myth. There was no French involvement in Rwanda. There was no ethnic problem in Rwanda prior to 1990. Before 1994, Rwanda was a semi-socialist country, a model of Africa. The plane was shot down by the Belgians, Americans, the RPF, and with the help of Romeo Dallaire.
Negationnisme au Rwanda post genocide/ Negationism in post-genocide Rwanda
It was a system thought through. Everyone saw it happen in plain daylight. We don’t tell the stories of what we saw. The RPF prevented the genocide from going all the way to the end. Even the Rwandans from the exterior saw that, understood that, and fought. It was the French who supported the Hutu. The genocide was ending and the Zone Turquoise was established; and that’s when the negationism began. Some believe there were interethnic massacres.; not just a massacre of one side.
The Congolese refugees were shown on the media as the refugees of the genocide, when they were actually the killers. Those who disagreed were killed so they didn’t impede the genocide of the Tutsi.
[Then Janet Kagame, First Lady of Rwanda, walked in.]
The genocide is recent history, only 15 years ago. Today we can talk to the whole world, but there is a sense that no one will ever understand what happened here. The world was sympathetic, but the world is not tender with innocent victims. During the genocide, we were killed for reasons for which we were not responsible. When you are killed for something you can’t help, you are an innocent victim.
After Congo became the center of media attention, Rwanda started to ask why no one understood that the refugees there were being seen as the victims.
Le Negationnisme a l’heure de la surinformation/ Negationism at a time of a surfeit of information
Different forms by which the genocide took place. Interethnic conflict, double genocide, spontaneous genocide? Why do people still think it didn’t happen?
Shedding light on the issue: we have to have a lot of information on something to see it clearly. This clarification was provided by the media, with perspectives, images, etc. We question the witnesses. We collect the responses and we reflect.
For some, it was impossible for people to believe that French soldiers threw Tutsis from their helicopters in a humanitarian mission. Cecil Grenier was on the Mucyo commission. He pre-rejected some witness accounts.
We were inundated with information. Information can kill. Reporters without Borders. Journalists die telling us what is true. According to Guy Tenisse, a journalist here at the time, reported the massacres in Kigali. He never figured out who the target was, and who was targeting. He said that observers wouldn’t have been able to tell—which was not true.
L’Etat Major Francais during the expat evacuation knew the difference between who was killing and who was being killed, but said he didn’t. He knew, and he didn’t prevent the government from undertaking their genocide. He didn’t want the media to know that the French soldiers hadn’t prevented the government from doing what they were doing.
Banalisation et negation du genocide des Tutsi quinze ans après/ Normalization and Negation of the Tutsi Genocide 15 Years Later
The genocide of Tutsis was pragmatic because the succession of events predicted the genocide
Tutsi genocide was committed by Hutus to prevent a genocide by Tutsis.
Modification of motives and circumstances. Mix up of real and fake, generalization. Creates fake realities. Need to cover up certain things. Manipulation of memories.
Simplification. “What happened in Rwanda was very human. When you are attacked, your first reaction is to defend yourself. You forget you are a Christian.” Former official in Ruhengeri.
Some Hutu say that the airplane being shot down was a signal that they had to defend themselves.
Double genocide. Crimes committed in Rwanda in 1994 against the Hutu in Byumba, Umutara, Bugesera, etc. counts as genocide against innocent Hutu victims by the Tutsi. So the massacres are equivalent in responsibility.
Manipulation of memory. Suppression of witnesses. Murder of witnesses, destruction of victim property to intimidate them.
The stakes are political. It’s at the heart of Rwandan politics. Despite the wealth of information the genocide, negationism continues. It’s fundamentally linked to politics, here and elsewhere.
De la reconciliation face au negationnisme et au revisionnisme du Genocide contre les Tutsi/ Reconciliation in the face of negationism and revisionism during the Tutsi Genocide
During the genocide, as promoted through Kangura, the anti-Tutsi paper, there was an emphasis on purity in all domains. Murder was politically motivated. Tutsis are proud, hypocritical, etc. It was also economically motivated. Started by foreigners, continued by the Rwandans themselves. Fictional history become collective memory. Official speeches, intellectual speakers, politics, cultural influences, media. You can construct a society as a result of negativity.
Les Juridictions Gacaca en lutte contre le genocide et ses derives/ Gacaca jurisdictions in the fight against genocide and related crimes
Reconstruct man to then reconstruct Rwanda. He is persecuted and anguished by the acts of the genocidaires. Reconcile killers and victims to get the nation going again.
To know the truth about what happened during the genocide
To speed up the trials of the genocide
To eradicate the culture of impunity: this was really prevalent since 1959, with the first pogrom. Killing, stealing, raping, etc….it was fine, it wasn’t punished.
To reinforce unity and reconciliation among Rwandans
In gacaca, people swear culpability without extortion. There are denunciations, punishment.
What is the solution for the future? Then they swore that they were culpable. And then the reconciliation began. Others refuse to avow culpability. Some commit to leagues of silence. In Butare, some even denounce the witnesses.
There are attempts at corruption. This is very current. Some denounced in the past, but now they say they made a mistake, but in fact they have received something in order to contradict themselves.
There is still a genocide ideology among many genocidaires.
-Massive mobilization: People are now starting to say what they have been meaning to say for a long time.Then they tell their story and they are immediately more relaxed. The Gacaca councils have helped us to better understand how the genocide functioned. It’s a decisive step. At the end, we find ourselves in front of people, who declare themselves innocent or guilty. Now we have an idea. Not totally precise, but a better understanding, anyway.
The problem is those people who corrupt the process by paying people off, etc.
Le Negationnisme en France: Modes d’Expression et d’operation/ Negationism in France : Modes of Expression and Operation
Institutional lines, legal lines, media. How did it operate? By mobilizing internal actors. Recruitment of vectors, Rwandan people, in order to perpetuate the perverse idea of negationism.
-The French say that there was only a Hutu genocide, that 4 million Hutus died at the hands of the FPR, Kagame’s rebel army.
-Kagame’s rebel army infiltrated the Hutu military and committed the most killings, leaving them in the road so the media would see.
-Hutus are passive, could never kill. The Tutsi rebel army, however, was called the Khmer Noir.
-The FPR was responsible for all killings from 1990-1993.
-The current system is being influenced by the Anglo-Israeli coalition, who wants to take over the Francophone areas in particular.