A Critical Look at the "Genocide in Rwanda" Story

"All Things Considered"
National Public Radio
Washington, D.C.

Dear "All Things Considered"

I am one of your regular listeners. I have noticed that every second month or so you produce a report on Rwanda and/or Burundi in Central Africa. The most recent was last week. In every program you refer to the "Hutu rebels" and use phrases like "after the genocide."
The fact remains that the Tutsis, the supposed victims of the genocide and only 9% of the population of Rwanda before the conflict, are in power in Rwanda. They have a well-armed army, supplied by Israel and the U.S. through Uganda, and became so strong that they intervened in the conflict in Burundi as well as in Congo.
By contrast, the Hutus, 91% of the population, have been disenfranchised. Hundreds of thousands of the Hutus are still refugees. Thousands of them are jammed into Rwanda's prisons on accusations of "genocide." In the meantime, the destruction of the Hutu power structure in Burundi is also underway.

The facts on the ground do not support the "genocide" story. The violence in Rwanda started after the elected Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi (both Hutus) were killed when their plane was shot down on April 6, 1994 by Tutsi rebels. The date of the tribal fighting is agreed upon by all witnesses as April 7, 1994. Western reporters did not enter Rwanda till the end of April 1994, but these media had already reported "100,000 killed" by then with no evidence on the ground. In May 1994 the figure was arbitrarily raised to 200,000 killed and thereafter to several times that.
I have looked at journalists "on the ground" reports and all they amount to are a few hundred bodies discovered and rumors of "thousands" more killed.

Rwanda and Burundi were once one country. From 1899 to 1916 they were ruled by Germany. From 1916 to 1962, the rulers were Belgians. These European rulers systematically used the policy of divide-and-rule and left a legacy of intense bitterness. The sources of the bitterness can be understood if one realizes that the small minority of Tutsis (9%) ruled the great majority wth the help of the Belgians. The majority Hutus (91%) were kept in a condition of serfdom.
The story of Rwanda and Brundi is the story of rising political awareness of the Hutus and the attempts of the Tutsis to suppress them.

This classical case of divide-and-rule (comparable to the ANC-Inkatha conflict in South Africa) was compounded by the work of European missionaries who converted the Tutsis to extreme Christian fundamentalism.

Israel, whose agencies are active all over Africa now, is the more recent factor in the ongoing tragedy of the Hutu people. (Israel can best be described as a European settler state planted in the Islamic heartland through the justifications of religious fundamentalism and extremism.).

With a fundamentalist group, heavily armed, in power in Rwanda, it takes some gall on your part to keep on claiming that the people in power are the victims and the vast majority, made homeless in their own home, are a nation of killers and murderers en masse.

Unfortunately, human rights groups in America are so fixated on the idea of the persecution of minorities that they cannot see the suffering of the majority. Human rights' ideology thus becomes a blinding factor.

Peace cannot come to central Africa until the oppressive minority is removed from power and the vast majority achieves its basic human rights.


Kaukab Siddique, Ph.D

2000-09-25 Mon 12:36ct