Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa : From Tragedy to Useful Imperial Fiction
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The book comprises three parts. The first part addresses the little-discussed but crucial events preceding the assassination of the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi
Former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali declared, "The Rwandan genocide was 100% American Responsibility."
Former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali declared, "The Rwandan genocide was 100% American Responsibility."
on April 6, 1994, which triggered massive killings. These include the invasion in 1990, drawn-out guerrilla and terrorist warfare, imposition of a new political and economic order followed by an ill named “peace process” that sanctified the occupation of the country by the invading army, and the assassination of two African heads of state.
The second part, “The Heart of Dark Imaginations,” shows how popular literature on Rwanda has been built on the old clichés, metaphors, and conventions generated during 400 years of slavery, the slave trade, and colonialism, and helped justify them. The resulting narrative is perfectly crafted for the “new scramble for Africa.”
The third part takes down the so-called international criminal justice as applied to Rwanda and explains how and why the murderous, never-ending war in Congo began.



Publié par
Date de parution 27 novembre 2013
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781771860055
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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Robin Philpot

From Tragedy to Useful Imperial Fiction
© Robin Philpot and Baraka Books 2013 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Cover and book design by Folio infographie Photo credits: All photos by Robin Philpot except "Paul Kagame in Israel" ( Africa International ) and "Rwandan refugees at Zaïre-Rwanda border" (Jacques Godon). Legal Deposit, 4th quarter 2013 Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec Library and Archives Canada Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication Philpot, Robin [Ça ne s’est pas passé comme ça à Kigali. English] Rwanda and the new scramble for Africa: from tragedy to useful imperial fiction / Robin Philpot. Translation of: Ça ne s’est pas passé comme ça à Kigali. Includes bibliographical references and index. Issued in print and electronic formats. ISBN 978-1-926824-94-9 (pbk.). – ISBN 978-1-77186-005-5 (epub). –ISBN 978-1-77186-006-2 (pdf). – ISBN 978-1-77186-007-9 (mobi/kindle) 1. Genocide – Rwanda – History – 20th century. 2. Rwanda – History – Civil War, 1994. I. Title. DT450.435P4813 2013 967.57104 C2013-907435-X C2013-907436-8 Published by Baraka Books of Montreal. 6977, rue Lacroix Montréal, Québec H4E 2V4 Telephone: 514 808-8504 Printed and bound in Québec Baraka Books acknowledges the generous support of its publishing program from the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles du Québec (SODEC) and the Canada Council for the Arts. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada, through the National Translation Program for Book Publishing for our translation activities and through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) for our publishing activities. Trade Distribution & Returns Canada and the United States Independent Publishers Group 1-800-888-4741 (IPG1);
To the memory of Juvénal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira and their staff whose shamefully trivialized assassination led to a terrible human tragedy. They will not be forgotten.
T his book would not have been possible in the original French version and in this new enriched English version without the support and participation of a vast number of people. I sincerely thank them for their understanding and contribution through aid in research, interviews, comments, criticisms, and more. Thanks are due to the original French-language publisher Les Intouchables in Quebec and later Duboiris in France. They withstood unbelievable pressure to ensure the book would be available. Thanks also to Phil Taylor at for posting an earlier version in English and in German when all other English-language publishers chose not to touch the book or the issue. Thanks to Ed Herman for insisting that I update the book and publish a hard copy. Thanks also to my colleagues at Baraka Books for supporting this publishing adventure and to Josée Lalancette for her skill and devotion to book design. Any errors are entirely my responsibility.
Robin Philpot
November 1, 2013
List of Illustrations

Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Internal Refugees, 1993
Paul Kagame in Israel, October 1996
Marie-Béatrice Umutesi
Faustin Twagiramungu, Prime Minister of Rwanda, 1994-95
In Comparison: “The Mood for Spy Hunts”
Internal refugee camp just north of Kigali, c. January 1994
Letter from Louise Arbour refusing to grant an interview
French investigative journalist Pierre Péan
Jean-Paul Akayesu, Maison centrale d’arrêt, Bamako, Mali
Front Page of New York Times Magazine , September 15, 2002
Rwandan refugees at Zaïre-Rwanda border, November 1996
Raymond Chrétien, special envoy of the UN secretary general in the 1996 refugee crisis

Until lions produce their own historians the story of the hunt will glorify only the hunter
African proverb

“ T he genocide in Rwanda was one hundred percent the responsibility of the Americans!” Those are not the words of a political leader who has been marginalized like Robert Mugabe, Fidel Castro or Bashar al-Assad. Nor are they the words of a nostalgic African activist bewailing the fall of the Soviet bloc. Former United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali made that statement in July 1998, and he repeated it to me in November 2002 and again in 2004. People in the White House liked to call Boutros-Ghali “Booboo Ghali” or “Frenchie,” while they methodically ejected him from the United Nations, an operation conducted by then United States Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright who vetoed his re-election on November 19, 1996.
His analysis flies in the face of all the clichés and accepted ideas about the Rwandan catastrophe whose effects have spread well beyond the borders of that small African country. The story of Rwanda is so littered with clichés and blind beliefs that a modern Flaubertian would be well advised to draft a new Dictionary of Received Ideas .
Throughout his life Flaubert wanted to compile a dictionary containing all that should be said in good company to be right and proper and to laud the things the right thinking agree upon. What should be said about Rwanda at cocktail parties in Europe and North America which Boutros-Ghali obviously did not say in order to be well thought of among the right thinking? If your ears perk up at such events where Rwanda is mentioned, you are sure to here some or all of the following statements. Rwanda is a beautiful little country perched on a plateau in the heart of dark Africa where horrible Hutu génocidaires massacred a million defenceless Tutsis after a plane crash killed an African dictator on April 6, 1994. The United Nations and the international community hopelessly failed to respond in time despite the clear warning in a fax sent on January 11, 1994 by the valorous Canadian General Roméo Dallaire and the numerous warnings issued by devoted and neutral human rights workers. In a predictable return to its iniquitous and colonialist past, France flew to the rescue of génocidaires and dictators by deploying its army in the Opération Turquoise. The Rwandan Patriotic Front led by the brilliant military and political strategist Paul Kagame, now President of Rwanda, put an end to the genocide when he swept down from the north and marched into Kigali on July 4, 1994, taking power on July 19, 1994. Pressured by impartial, non-governmental, human rights groups and in light of the trustworthy information they provided, the international community got its senses back, established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, arrested and indicted the bloodthirsty génocidaires , and brought these big fish to justice in Arusha, thanks in particular to Canadian Prosecutor Louise Arbour, who later became judge on the Supreme Court of Canada and then head of the UN Human Rights Commission.

Thankfully after centuries during which rape has been a weapon of war and domination, a man was finally convicted by an international criminal court of rape as a war crime. For that crime and other crimes against humanity, the brute is now serving a life sentence in a Malian jail. The génocidaires fled Rwanda while African dictators in the region continued to protect them. As a result Rwanda rightly launched a defensive war of aggression in the neighbouring Congo that continues to this day. Nonetheless, thanks to Jean Chrétien, his nephew, Ambassador Raymond Chrétien, and Canadian General Maurice Baril, the international community came to the rescue of the Rwandan refugees, liberated them from the génocidaires , and made it possible for them to return freely to their country. Since some remained, however, Rwanda was and is justified in pursuing its defensive war of aggression in the Congo. Unfortunately, more than four million people have since been killed. On behalf of the international community, President William Jefferson Clinton and his Secretary of State Madeleine Albright apologized for their timid reaction and ours during the genocide and promised never again to tolerate such crimes. And because we failed to listen to calls to protect Rwanda, we the international community, NATO, USA, Europe are entitled and obliged to invade Libya, Syria, Iran, Mali, Sudan, and any other country we choose.
Who has not read or heard such descriptions? Is it possible that they are just clichés or fashionable misconceptions? Does the truth lie somewhere else? Was Boutros Boutros-Ghali right to lift the corner of the very heavy rock of American responsibility to see what lies beneath?
The problem with the Rwandan tragedy is that nobody dares to look. It’s like the tale of Blue Beard who sweetly hands his wife the keys to his castle but warns her that one door must not be opened. Unlike Blue Beard’s wife, we have all obeyed the tyrant.
The goal of this book is to disobey, to use that key or those keys to open the door and find out what lies behind. ReaMs of paper have been written on Rwanda and the African Great Lakes region. The space taken up in libraries and bookstores is measured in metres but, except for fine points, all these books and reports say the same thing.
As is often the case with unanimity, dissidence is not tolerated, factual omissions and errors signalled are simply drowned out, and silence about crucial events is imposed. In the case of Rwanda, these probleMs are compounded by a shameful servility towards those who wield real power in the world, as well as a profound contempt for Africa.
The unanimity begins with the cavalier and abusive use of the term “genocide” and all its derivatives, such as génocidaires borrowed directly from French, accent and all, thus making it even more sinister. The road map that led to its widespread use tells us more about th

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