TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Monday, April 7, 2014

Anniversaries: Start of the Rwandan Genocide


The Rwandan machete pile. Image Source: Iconic Photos.

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the Rwandan genocide, when, in the course of 1994's bloody summer, nearly 1 million Tutsi and moderate Hutu people were killed. 80 per cent of the population massacred the remaining 20 per cent of the country with machetes. In most cases, the killers personally knew their victims and were their neighbours. The knives were sold by the Chinese to the Hutu government at ten cents apiece, for an estimated total cost of USD $750,000. The genocide ended on 15 July 1994. (Warning: explicit images below the jump.)

Image Source: Hassan Boule's Blog.

An article at Red Pepper explains conditions leading up to the genocide. Western interests propped up the Habyarimana regime, whose elites grew rich by embezzling foreign aid. Aid was diverted toward military spending away from humanitarian support and economic development. By 1994, Rwanda's foreign debt had reached USD $1 billion, with an increasingly restive and impoverished population. Red Pepper argues that in the face of this brewing trouble, the government decided to turn the people against each other in order to save its elite stratum:
For the genocide to be perpetrated, the regime needed more than a blueprint and military hardware. It also required an impoverished, desperate population, ready to do the irreparable. Between 1982 and 1994, the majority of the rural population - the vast majority of Rwandans - suffered such immiseration. While import prices soared, the price at which coffee was bought from local farmers was frozen on IMF orders. Destitute coffee farmers and the poorest sectors of the urban population became a permanent reservoir of recruits for the army and the dictatorship's extremist youth militia, the Interahamwe. Meanwhile, a tiny section of the population had grown fabulously rich. In 1982, the wealthiest 10 per cent of the population took in 20 per cent of rural revenues; in 1992, they took in 41 per cent; and by the beginning of 1994, 51 per cent.

The catastrophic social impact of policies dictated by the IMF and World Bank, and the fall in coffee prices on the global market (a fall linked to the policies of the Bretton Woods institutions and the USA), played a central role in the Rwandan crisis. The massive social discontent was channelled by the Habyarimana regime into implementing its plan for genocide.  ...
For the genocide to be perpetrated, the regime needed more than a blueprint and military hardware. It also required an impoverished, desperate population, ready to do the irreparable. Between 1982 and 1994, the majority of the rural population - the vast majority of Rwandans - suffered such immiseration. While import prices soared, the price at which coffee was bought from local farmers was frozen on IMF orders. Destitute coffee farmers and the poorest sectors of the urban population became a permanent reservoir of recruits for the army and the dictatorship's extremist youth militia, the Interahamwe. Meanwhile, a tiny section of the population had grown fabulously rich. In 1982, the wealthiest 10 per cent of the population took in 20 per cent of rural revenues; in 1992, they took in 41 per cent; and by the beginning of 1994, 51 per cent.

The catastrophic social impact of policies dictated by the IMF and World Bank, and the fall in coffee prices on the global market (a fall linked to the policies of the Bretton Woods institutions and the USA), played a central role in the Rwandan crisis. The massive social discontent was channelled by the Habyarimana regime into implementing its plan for genocide. 
This politically-slanted analysis lays all blame at the feet of foreign bankers, the US government, the IMF and the whole system of which administers foreign debt. While this pernicious financial system undoubtedly provided a catalyst, blaming 'banking cabals' has an unpleasant conspiratorial sound and relies on a familiar projection of responsibility on western interests over and above all other actors.

Recording of RTLM's broadcasts during the genocide, 1994. Video Source: Youtube.

From: RwandanStories.
The fact remains that the genocide was perpetrated by local people and their government, who together remain responsible for mass murder of their fellow citizens. Genocide was encouraged by a Hutu radio station, which had been broadcasting hate speech for one year prior to the outbreak of violence; the story of the RTLM radio station reveals the immense power of the media on collective thinking:
Anti-Tutsi articles and graphic cartoons began appearing in the Kangura newspaper from around 1990. In June 1993 a new radio station called Radio-Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLMC [aka RTLM]) began broadcasting in Rwanda. The station was rowdy and used street language - there were disc jockeys, pop music and phone-ins. Sometimes the announcers were drunk. It was designed to appeal to the unemployed, the delinquents and the gangs of thugs in the militia. “In a largely illiterate population, the radio station soon had a very large audience who found it immensely entertaining.”... 

Its stated aim was “to create harmonious development in Rwandese society” but nothing could have been further from the truth. It was set up and financed by Hutu extremists to prepare the people of Rwanda for genocide by demonising the Tutsi and encouraging hate and violence.

Some people - including the Belgian ambassador and staff of several aid agencies - recognised the danger and asked for international help in shutting down the broadcasts, but it was impossible to persuade western diplomats to take it seriously. They dismissed the station as a joke.

David Rawson, the US ambassador, said that its euphemisms were open to interpretation. The US, he said, believed in freedom of speech. Many Rwandans, however, knew the threat. ‘I listened to RTLMC’, said a survivor, ‘because if you were mentioned over the airways, you were sure to be carted off a short time later by the interahamwe. You knew you had to change your address at once.” ...

RTLM was set up and financed by hard-line Hutu extremists, mostly from northern Rwanda: wealthy businessmen, government ministers and various relatives of the President. Its backers also included the directors of two African banks and the vice-president of the interahamwe (militia).
Evidence of a disturbed consciousness of collective guilt is evident in the population's linguistic switch from French to English after the genocide - the dominant Hutus were Francophones, while the minority Tutsis became Anglophone after fleeing to neighbouring Uganda (see further reports on this linguistic shift here, here, here and here). Other post-genocidal psychological stresses are reflected in myths built up around the genocide, relating to witchcraft (see also here), Roman Catholic prophecies and even accounts of space aliens in Rwanda. These are fabrications concocted to appease minds confronting a historic culpability that is too terrible to face directly. Nor, contrary to the rhetoric of reconciliation, has the violence abated: Hutus who fled reprisals from Tutsis after the genocide ended up in militarized refugee camps in neighbouring countries in the mid-late 1990s, and got tangled up in the First Congo War and the Second Congo War. These wars led to the the ongoing Lord's Resistance Army insurgency, and the Kivu and Ituri conflicts, which together have killed over 5.4 million people.

Image Source: The Malaysian Insider.


1 comment:

  1. thank you for respectful post on disturbing event

    ReplyDelete