Archive for March, 2011

By BIZIMANA Jean Damascène, LL.D–12 March 2011

It is an established fact: every time genocide is committed, it is followed by its denial.[1] With regard to the genocide against the Tutsi, denial is characterized by two specific aspects. First, it intensifies as each annual commemoration day draws near; then, it takes on changing and innovative forms depending on the times. (more…)

By Felix M. NDAHINDA

The Hague Peace Palace – premises of the International Court of Justice among other institutions – hosted on 26th April 2008 a controversial event under the catchy title:   “Conference on Peace and Development in the Great Lakes Region of Africa”. The gathering featured Mr “Hotel Rwanda” Paul Rusesabagina who was made famous worldwide by a 2004 Hollywood movie for his “heroism” in saving lives of more than a thousand peoples during the infamous genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994. (more…)

By Andrew Stobo Sniderman

If machetes (rise and) fall in Africa and no American voters are listening, do American politicians care? No, says history. “If every member of the House and Senate had received one hundred letters from people back home saying we have to do something about Rwanda,” a senator explained in 1994 after the United States stood by while 800,000 people were butchered in three months, “then I think the response would have been different.” No one wrote, and popular silence abetted official indifference. (more…)

March 17th, 2011

Author and activist Lisa Shannon spoke to a Grand Rapids audience Wednesday night at the conclusion of the 16th Grand Rapids Community College Diversity Lecture Series.  Shannon delivered a compelling lecture on the triumphs and struggles of creating her non-profit organization, Run for Congo Women, and her experiences in the Congo that left her everyone in the room astounded.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo was thrust into conflict after the 1994 Rwandan genocide.  Ethnic Rwandan Hutu militias fled to Congo in search of refuge, resulting in Rwanda invading twice to eliminate the militias.  Since 1998, the conflict has drawn in multiple African armies, displaced 2 million people, and 5.4 million have died.

Even more appalling is the ubiquitous nature of rape as a weapon of war in the conflict.  Rape is used in war for several purposes, such as intimidation, humiliation, obtaining information, rewarding soldiers, spreading HIV/AIDS, and ethnic cleansing.  Since the beginning of the conflict in 1998, it is estimated that 3 million women have been raped, resulting in an increased prevalence of HIV, reproductive health issues, unwanted children, and early deaths in girls and women.  Shannon told the story of a friend, Generose, who had a Hutu militia show up at her house, demanding money.  She gave them everything she and her husband had, but the militia began to beat her husband.  She cried out to alert her neighbors, and as a punishment, they killed her husband, cut off her leg, and forced her children to eat the leg.  When her son refused to eat his mother’s leg, the militia killed him.  After passing out from the extreme pain, Generose was gang raped.

Despite being called the deadliest war since World War II, it goes widely unnoticed by the international community.  On the lack of response by the United States and other governments, Shannon said, “We are sending a powerful message by not doing anything about this conflict.”  What most Americans fail to realize is that we can do something.  The conflict is fueled by our electronic purchases; minerals that are found in cell phones, lap tops, and other electronic devices are made with tungsten, tantalum, tin, and gold.  These minerals are mined in the Congo, where armed groups finance themselves through the illicit trading and selling of these minerals.  Shannon lobbied heavily for Congress to pass the Conflict Minerals Trade Act, which regulates the importation and trade of minerals found in electronic devices, and continues to push tech companies to use conflict-free minerals in their products.

At the end of the night, Shannon invited everyone to do something to end the conflict.  “Most people don’t do anything not because they don’t care, but because they’re afraid they’ll stumble.  But stumbling your way through something is better than doing nothing.”  For more information, you can visit www.enoughproject.org, or http://athousandsisters.com.
Continue reading on Examiner.com: Lisa Shannon Shares Her Fight To End Atrocities In Congo – Grand Rapids City Buzz | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/city-buzz-in-grand-rapids/lisa-shannon-shares-her-fight-to-end-atrocities-congo#ixzz1GsXmcGzY

By Lewis Smith

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Campaigners for a law change making it harder for war criminals to use Britain as a safe haven were yesterday celebrating the first arrest made under the new legislation. (more…)

On April 6, 1994, all hell broke loose in RWANDA, signaling the commencement of the pre-planned genocide of the Tutsi. That same September, 1994, with the help of the French Catholic Church, 37 year old “Father” Wencheslas Munyeshyaka escaped from Rwanda, having desecrated Sainte-Famille parish in Kigali where he would invite his parishioners to meet their death, under his supervision. (more…)

By Deroy Murdock–February 17, 2011

Kigali, Rwanda — Rwanda is like a black Switzerland. Its nickname is “The Land of a Thousand Hills.” This is a gross understatement. Beyond the runway at the airport here in the nation’s capital, one struggles to stay on flat ground for long. In every imaginable direction, hills roll, small mountains dwarf tea plantations, and dramatic, volcanic peaks vanish into the clouds. Curvaceous bends on narrow byways penetrate lush valleys and craggy canyons. On twisted roads, a modest miscalculation could trigger a treacherous and likely fatal tumble into oblivion. (more…)