Face au danger : Série The Last Stand, vol. 1 (La contre-attaque) (French Edition)
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The point, rather, is that in many instances some crucial historical facts were left out, or their significance underrated or misinterpreted. Much of the literature that appeared in the wake of the tragedy revolved around good guys vs. A staff writer for the New Yorker, the author has produced a masterwork of travel writing as well as one of the most chilling accounts of the sufferings endured by genocide survivors. No other work has had a more decisive impact in shaping the image of the genocide among the English-speaking public.
Yet, the book is short on analysis. It says little about the how and why of the killings. Allusions to the Holocaust are unconvincing. So is his tribute to Paul Kagame as the hero who brought the genocide to an end see also Gourevitch From this uncomplicated tale of woe emerges an image of the Hutu as the collective embodiment of evil.
This is where the narrative carries implications that go beyond the realm of travel writing: it is not unreasonable to assume that this uncritical rendering of the genocide has had a powerful hold on the official thinking of US policy-makers towards the new Rwandan state. To this day the Tutsi-dominated state enjoys the support of the US government. Among the early reports on the genocide, none matches Africa Rights, Rwanda, Death, Despair and Defiance September for the clinical description of the atrocities inflicted upon Tutsi victims, ranging from political murders to collective massacres in churches, schools and stadiums, and the daily manhunts conducted on the hills.
Significant as it is to our understanding of the sheer savagery that has accompanied the carnage, the Africa Rights report is utterly silent on the crimes and torture inflicted by Tutsi soldiers on innocent Hutu civilians, some of which are by now well documented Nduwayo , ; Amnesty International ; Des Forges ; Reyntjens and De Souter Revealing is this idyllic description of Rwanda in the cities are more animated than ever, the rural areas are again under cultivation, all children are attending school, the churches are overcrowded with people, the road-menders are at work on the roads and the widows weed out the public gardens , Important as it might be in other respects, his major collaborative work, Les medias du genocide , has a reductionist bias.
It emphasizes the effects of the Hutu-controlled media as the only determinant of the bloodshed. Recent research by Straus also shows the limits of ideology as a motivating force Straus , chap. This, however, is not meant to detract from an otherwise illuminating collection of. Despite its impressive array of valuable statistical data, A.
Gakusi and Mouzer, Unsurprisingly, the comparison between the Rwanda genocide and the Holocaust has proved hard to resist. The most sustained exploration of the parallel came from Marc Levene, who argued that in Rwanda as in Nazi Germany genocide was the concomitance of the crises experienced by modernizing states. Compelling as the analogy may be in some respects, its limitations are no less obvious. The contextual differences cannot be ignored:. Drawing from a variety of materials, including interviews with exiles, Eltringham likewise offers particularly thoughtful critique of the Holocaust template Eltringham , But as Eltringham shows, on that score as on many others there is no unanimity among exiles; possibly as many among Tutsi and Hutu would endorse the analogy as would challenge it Eltringham , Whether informed by Holocaust references or not, however, the tendency of Rwandan government officials to grossly overestimate the number of Hutu perpetrators is well established Straus , 95, note 1 , and stands as a major obstacle to reconciliation.
A wealth of revelatory insights can be gleaned from the growing body of witness literature by Hutu and Tutsi survivors, as well as from the testimonies gathered by outside observers. The accompanying photos by Robert Lyons provide a chilling visual counterpoint to the text Straus What makes this contribution unlike any other is the resonance of authenticity conveyed by the interviews, which, in his words, combined with the extraordinary images of inmates, offer a largely unmitigated and intimate view of the Rwandan genocide ibid.
The witness literature can be conveniently divided into two kinds of narratives - by Tutsi survivors of the genocide, and by Hutu who survived the manhunt conducted by units of the RPA in eastern Congo after the destruction of the refugee camps. The scenes of apocalypse she describes are no less emotionally wrenching as the images of murder witnessed by Tutsi survivors.
His book is also a remarkably lucid commentary on the social context of Rwanda in the early s, on the ambivalent relationship of ethnicity to murder, on the involvement of school drop outs in the killings. This is only one of the many illuminating insights that make his book worth reading. All of these add up to a devastating commentary on the conspiracy of silence surrounding one of the biggest ethnic cleansing operations that followed in the wake of the genocide.
Among Tutsi survivors of the bloodbath Yolande Mukagasana was the first to tell the story of her excruciating experiences while trying to escape death, of how her husband and three children were murdered, the first before her own eyes, and how in the end she owed her survival to the reluctant protection of a Hutu colonel of the FAR : La mort ne veut pas de moi , co-authored with Patrick May, is more than a tale of woe; it also tells us a great deal about the way ethnicity can be manipulated, both as an incitement and a deterrent to murder.
In Les blessures du silence , in collaboration with the photographer Alain Kazienierakis, she returns to Rwanda to confront the killers, including those responsible for the death of her children. Revisionism covers a wide gamut, from the outrageous to the plausible.
To this day some Hutu extremists stubbornly insist that no genocide ever occurred, only a spontaneous outburst of violence in reaction to the threats posed by the RPF Braeckman ; Lanotte , If anything can be termed surreal it is the denial of the massive evidence supplied through countless testimonies and eyewitness accounts.
For the sake of clarity we shall look at four distinctive issues around which hinges most of the discussion about revisionism: How many lives were lost during the killings? What is the onus of responsibility borne by the RPF? What has been the role of France before, during and after the genocide?
HUDOC - European Court of Human Rights
On both counts the answers are anything but clear. As has been noted, citing numbers is a widely used rhetorical device. Since accurate head counts could not be taken in most cases, none of the contradictory numbers that have been offered concerning victims of massacres including the genocide or of refugees fleeing from or returning to Rwanda and Burundi are substantiated Vansina , Nonetheless, whether dealing with victims or killers, not all estimates are arbitrary. Official statistics regarding the number of Tutsi victims are unreliable and predictably at variance with the estimates cited by social scientists.
Based on demographic data of a total of Tutsi population of , on. In view of the total number of human lives lost approximately 1. Compared to such careful estimates the figure of , cited by Pierre Pean carries little conviction. The global figure of 1,, dead cited by the Rwanda government, though too precise to inspire confidence, conveys a realistic order of magnitude, but there are reasons to question whether Even more controversial is the number of Hutu who participated in the slaughter.
Christian Scherrer for his part suggests the possibility of an even higher percentage, i. In an impressive piece of research based on field work and interviews with perpetrators and survivors, Straus reaches the more plausible estimate of between , and , active participants ibid. He goes on to raise the question of the perpetrators profile, and makes the arresting argument that most of the killing 75 per cent of all genocide deaths was done by perhaps 10 per cent of a total of roughly , genocidaires, i.
In his landmark book on the Rwanda genocide the author comes up with an estimate of a number of perpetrators equal to 7 to 8 percent of the adult Hutu population and 14 to 17 per cent of the adult male Hutu population at the time of the genocide.
Straus , Such findings are important not only because they run counter to the officially-sanctioned conventional wisdom of the Rwandan government, and much of the unwisdom of foreign observers, but because they demonstrate how erroneous and counter-productive is the collective guilt argument when it comes to exploring ways of bringing about national reconciliation. The report, known as the Mutsinzi report, issued in April , states that the presidential plane was brought down by Hutu extremists close to the president, as an attempt to neutralize the moderates in his government, including Habyarimana.
Though flawed by factual errors, inaccuracies and improbable assertions Reyntjens , the report found a receptive echo among observers of the Rwanda scene in France and elsewhere.
Despite the scantiness of the evidence, the notion of a criminal plot concocted by Hutu extremists is still the standard explanation advanced by a number of journalists, historians and genocide scholars. Adding to the intensity of the debate a number of ONGs have taken up position on opposite sides. In retrospect one wonders why so little attention has been paid to a number of articles, testimonies and books which give the lie to the official Rwandan thesis. The pattern of challenge and response analyzed by Kuperman points to a key aspect of the dynamics of violence preceding the genocide.
While there is evidence that the author harbored grudges against Kagame for doing little to save his family from the clutches of the genocidaires, this is hardly enough to call his testimony into question. These had already been richly documented by Reyntjens and Desouter in their Working Paper, drawing attention to the thousands of civilians killed by the RPF after its violation of the cease-fire on February 8, Desouter and Reyntjens As reported by Vidal, it includes a two-year prison sentence May 2, June 5 for the alleged mishandling of funds set aside for the payment of officers salaries Ruzibiza, , 48, note 1.
Whether these facts lessen the credibility of his testimony is open to debate. The evidence at any rate is too overwhelming to be dismissed out of hand.
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According to Collins, the conventional narrative spawned by much of the media and not a few scholars conveys a misleading view of what really happened. The widely accepted narrative of the akazu genocide is simply an endorsement of the RPF war propaganda. Admittedly, the author overstates his case, yet there is much about his argument that needs to be taken seriously, including his refutation of the genocide as the outcome of a long-standing, akazu -engineered master plan to exterminate the Tutsi.
The double genocide argument is also explicitly set forth by Ruzibiza , By drastically downsizing of the number of Tutsi victims, he suggests that, if anything, Kagame is guilty of an even worse genocide. Woe unto those observers, journalists, scholars e. Action Survie whose views and actions are at odds with his version of the truth. The short answer is that it fails to convince. More specifically, and notwithstanding statements to the contrary, the fact is that the scale of the massacre of Tutsi civilians has been widely perceived as far exceeding that of the Hutu at the hands of the RPA; furthermore, the sustained coverage given to the genocide of Tutsi in the media has all but eclipsed the massacre of Hutu by the RPA; finally, some of the worst atrocities committed by the RPA occurred not in Rwanda but in eastern Congo French, , UN, The double genocide thesis cannot be dismissed out of hand.
Some reputable scholars did not hesitate to single it out as one of the most important book s on Rwanda to appear over the last ten or fifteen years. This is not the first time that accusations of criminal behavior have been directed at the RPF, or that evidence to that effect had been pieced together. But never before has a such sustained effort been made to establish the scale of such crimes, their contextual circumstances, locales, and the responsibility of the individuals and organizations involved. No other analyst has done a more commendable job of interviewing defectors and former RPF operatives.
Few other professional journalists have been willing to take the same risks, and go to such lengths in conducting interviews and collecting data. The result is a book unlike any other. The reader is confronted with descriptions of how tens of thousands of innocent Hutu civilians were sent to their graves, how they were killed, by whom, and where.
Biumba, Kibeho, Karambi, Gabiro, Gikongoro, are among some of the names that will be remembered as sites of mass murder, along with those identified with the crimes committed by the interahamwe. Clearly, this is journalism at its best. The consensus of opinion about the performance of the UNAMIR is that it has done little to prevent the worse from happening: it has been morally inept, politically counter-productive and financially onerous.
For most Belgian observers its failure to prevent the assassination of ten Belgian blue helmets on April 7 cast irreparable discredit on the UN in general and its military assistance mission in Rwanda. In his remarkably honest and meticulously researched memoir , Rwanda: La descente aux enfers , the author offers a more nuanced judgement, framed in a detailed analysis of the daunting obstacles faced by UNAMIR in its mission to Rwanda.
Some are well-known, such as the presence on the ground of troops drawn from different countries, whose levels of competence and training are uneven, and where issues of coordination are complicated by language barriers.