Organized Crime in Central Africa! - Pierre Péan's statement before the Court of Paris - 23 September 2008
[Here is the CM/P translation of French journalist Pierre Péan’s statement to the Court of Paris in his trial for incitation to racial hatred (Hate Speech?) and racial defamation.
I devoured Péan’s book on Rwanda, ‘Noires fureurs, blancs menteurs’ [Black Fury, White Liars], and wish I could have translated and posted the whole thing here. It describes in the most vivid detail not just who killed how many of whom, by what means, where and why, but how world opinion was shaped so as to make those foreigners who aggressed Rwanda on 1 October 1990, the bloodthirsty Ugandan NRA personnel who still make up the Rwandan Patriotic Front (the putatively Tutsi-RPF), which in four terror-filled years thoroughly decimated the population of that small, tightly-packed nation—and are currently continuing a similar ten-year+ plan of ‘population control for resource rip-off’ in eastern Congo—to turn this Western proxy liquifactionist force into the VICTIMS of the most publicized genocide since WWII; while the Rwandan nation, with its socialist revolution, was brutally penetrated, terrorized and slaughtered—with those whom the RPF couldn’t kill sent fleeing into neighboring states—and these refugees, men, women and children from every ethnic and tribal background are still being decried as ‘genocidaire’, as risks to Rwanda’s vaunted national security, and are today being hunted down in the millions—like Alaskan game caught in the floods of Sarah Palin’s helicopters, but by a factor of 100K.
So much of the information that is essential to an understanding of the geopolitics and history of Central Africa is written in French, that, since I’ve started translating some of these texts, I’ve been overcome with anxiety over just how best to let my friends back in Babble-ON know what’s up. If you watched the last presidential debate, even at 3 am—when it tipped off here in Paris—it was impossible not to get the screaming mimis over how poorly informed the two candidates were—and what that says about the level of politico-historical awareness of the general public in the US.
Not surprisingly, Africa was not discussed Tuesday evening. But to hear both McCain and Obama talk about the Russian (‘imperialist’?) ‘invasion and illegal occupation’ a plucky wannabe democracy like Georgia on the same day that the NYTimes posted an article describing Georgia’s continuing deadly attacks on the 'break-away region' of South Ossetia and the further killing of Russian peacekeepers in the UN sanctioned mission to that autonomous republic, just sorta tightened the unReality bolt in my neck, like dropping a couple extra tabs of Owsley’s right in the middle of an already very creepily bad trip.
And Péan’s trial, which will hear the Court’s judgment on 7 November (so, you know, it won’t influence the American vote, uh-huh.), is a similar shaky gondola ride down the canals of Uranus: a writer whose whole life has been spent in searching out truth and seeking justice for Africa, in opposing French colonialism and the corruption of his nation’s information system, is dragged before the national bar by some of his own putatively anti-racist and anti-imperialist sponsees. His crime, it seems, is that, once again, he has disagreed with the dominant opinion. But what is most chilling about his statement here below--at least for those of us who work the genocide beat—is that this time—because when these charges of racism were first brought against him, the nearly 70 year old Péan threw a serious heart lock—this time the promiscuous purveyors of false history, that MTD (Media-Transmitted Disease), as they did with Slobodan Milosevic's hypertension and appear to be on the verge of doing with a hunger-striking Dr. Vojslav Seselj at The Hague Tribunal for Yugoslavia, seem to be prepared to neutralize those who question their orthodoxy with the extremest of extreme prejudice. –mc]
Organized Crime in Central Africa!
Statement by Pierre Péan before the Court of Paris
23 September 2008
I have experienced being charged with incitation of racial hatred and racial defamation as a marking. A branding more profound than that of my ancestor who was condemned for dealing in contraband salt and died two years later in prison in Brest. He had only sold some salt in Mayenne that he’d bought in Bretagne, for the sole purpose of feeding his family. What I’m charged with is much more serious than to have tried to avoid customs officers collecting unjust taxes. If criminal law considers the incitation to racial hatred to be a violation, then, as far as I’m concerned, it is a crime. It always leads to the spilling of blood.
For almost three years, I have been dragged through the mud by the various media—I’m thinking here especially of Charlie-Hebdo, which hews the contours of freedom of expression with its very own hands; in the best stories, I am depicted as a racist, but also as an anti-Semite, a revisionist, even a negationist, as was the case in Le Point under the byline of Mr. Bernard-Henri Lévy.
This is just simply unbearable. Besides which, my heart cannot stand any more of these monstrous and unjustified attacks. If you went along with the charges made by SOS Racisme, which is carrying water for Ibuka, itself an agent of the government in Kigali, you would nullify my whole life, all my struggles, all my commitments in this one fell swoop.
This affair has caused me to look back and ask myself many questions. I am not going to burden the court with all the details of a half-century of my very full life, but I think it is imperative that you know the important role played by all my commitments against colonialism, against racism and for the development of what we have come to call the Third World. After having militated against France in Algeria, taken part in the large demonstrations in Paris, especially the one in Charonne in 1962, I left for Africa at the end of that year, with a contract from Gabon—not France—to serve as an attaché to the cabinet of the Minsiter of Finance in Gabon. I was, and have remained for a long time, what is called a Third Worldist. I lived in Gabon until the end of 1964, where I worked diligently against French neo-colonialism. Such diligence forced me to leave Gabon more quickly than I had planned.
Since that time, I have maintained constant contact with Africa and Africans. I have had to travel nearly a hundred times to the continent; I wrote several books on French-African relations, including one which brought me a great deal of public attention, ‘Affaires africaines’ [African Affairs], in 1983, but also, ‘L’Argent noir’ [Black Money], ‘L’Homme de l’ombre’ [The Shadow Man], ‘Manipulations africaines’ [African Manipulations], and ‘Main basse sur Alger’ [Ripping Off Algeria].
I have struck up and maintained close relations with many Africans. I was a patron of SOS Racisme, took part with Christophe Nick in the creation of Stop La Violence. Africa was such a presence in my home that, as soon as she had finished her studies, my daughter moved to Africa. She still lives there with her three children. My wife, whom I got to know in Africa, is the godmother to a Congolese girl. My sister is married to a Cameroonian, is also godmother to a little Congolese girl, and, in the African community of Sablé, she is affectionately known as ‘the Blacks’ Mama’.
Despite this history, in 2005, at the age of 67, I suddenly and brutally threw all my convictions overboard, and was seized by an irrational hatred of Tutsis, I suddenly put all my energies into harming them? This, obviously, makes no sense. I respect the Tutsis as I respect all the citizens of the world, whatever their origins, their color or their religion, and I even feel a very great compassion for them, when bearing in mind the genocide that was directed against them in 1994.
At the beginning of this trial, and in order to appreciate the words being held against me from pages 41 to 44 of my book, Noires fureurs, blancs menteurs [Black Fury, White Liars], it is important that the court understand what brought me to write this book.
Like everybody else, I was totally shocked by the images of slaughter-by-machete aired on every TV channel in April and May of 1994, massacres that later came to be described as the ‘genocide of the Tutsis and moderate Hutus’. I was later confronted on a very personal level by the consequences of one of first murders that followed the attack on the plane carrying the two [Hutu] presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, and in which, on 6 April 1994, President [Juvénal] Habyarimana had his life taken: it was the killing of Agathe Uwilingiyimana, the sitting Hutu Prime Minsiter [of Rwanda]. I, in fact, played a part in saving her five children. I followed with astonishment the violent attacks against France when Operation Turquoise was put together. At the time, I was finishing my book, Une jeunesse française [A French Childhood], I was privileged to be taken into François Mitterand’s confidence on the Rwandan drama. On 1 July 1994, just before he was to meet with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, I saw important French policy-makers on Africa weeping openly in the halls of the Élysée Palace because they couldn’t understand why France was being so violently attacked. But in 1996 I was confided in by a former pan-African militant close to one of the members of the RPF’s ‘Commando Network’, which mounted the attack on the presidential plane 6 April 1994. An attack intended to seize power for the rebels of the RPF, a large majority of whom were Tutsis. An attack, the world now concurs, that triggered the genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
After that, I attracted much general attention with all that I said and wrote about the Rwandan drama. With Jean-François Bizot, I wrote my first article on the subject in L’Almanach d’Actuel in 1997. An article in which the essential was already stated: that Paul Kagame, head of Ugandan Military Intelligence, left Uganda in 1994 at the head of a band of Tutsi exiles armed by that country to seize power in Kigali by military force. We were also saying that Paul Kagame had finished his conquest by shooting down the plane carrying the Rwandan president, and that he knew very well that by acting thus he would unleash the anger of the Hutus against the Tutsis of Rwanda, considered the allies of the RPF rebels. This is not very elegant to say, but I believe, in this situation, it is important. In Actuel we specifically wrote these sentences: ‘Put yourself into the head of Paul Kagame at the moment he decided to ‘neutralize’ the two Hutu presidents of Rwanda and Burundi. He knew he was going to bring on chaos, to set off the genocide of his own people, the Tutsis. At the age of 2, he had to flee the first genocide [and allusion to the exactions of 1959, the moment of independence, that sent thousands of Tutsis into exile]. He saw no other way to bring the Tutsis to insurrection. And being a good revolutionary, he figured the ends justified the means. History is not made by the faint hearted. . . .’ I have to say that this very long article remains without a response from that period. No one took it up, not even to contest it, not then and not later.
The following year, 1998, after the media attacks launched against France, carried by various groups—Survie out in front of them—and by fierce supporters of the new power in Kigali, a parliamentary commission of inquiry sought to find out if French politicians and military officers had behaved badly in Rwanda. The Quilès report, which concluded that France had perhaps committed some errors in Rwanda, but, in no way, was complicit in the genocide, did not satisfy Kigali, or its French supporters, who, on the contrary, did not thereafter cease to ratchet up the intensity of their attacks. Omitting, of course, any mention of the responsibility of the ‘Commando Network’ in the 6 April 1994 attack.
After that, Kigali’s version of things was imposed as the official version of the Rwandan drama. A version that had the advantage of being simple—I would say even simplistic. It reduced the effect of the Rwandan story to a confrontation between Good and Evil, the Bad Guys and the Good Guys, the evil Hutus and the righteous Tutsis. If one is to believe the popular media notion of how things happened, for good measure, the Hutus were led by a ‘Tropical Nazi’, and aided by a ‘Hitleresque’ Mitterand and his Waffen-SS.
In 2000, more and more exasperated by the spread of these manifest falsehoods, I tried to unmask them by starting a new investigation into those who ordered the 6 April attack, convinced that the revelation of Paul Kagame’s personal involvement in this attack, and then of his personal responsibility in the genocide, would, at least, cause those of good faith to reflect on these events. I published the results of this inquiry in the journal Le Nouveau Papier. The essence of the conclusions drawn by Judge [Jean-Louis] Bruguière, on which he based the international arrest warrants he ordered in December 2006, is found in this piece. But this was another futile gesture. No one dared to discuss the results of my inquiry. TV, like the rest of the main media, continued to gobble up the lies of the Rwandan Head of State, who, some, like the Belgian professor [Filip] Reyntjens, consider to be ‘the greatest living war criminal’. As we saw in the past with the Soviet Union, the media continued to give air time to the ‘useful idiots’, as we used to call them at that time, the ‘fellow travelers’, and the militants passing themselves off as independent witnesses. I’m not talking here about the sincere stories of survivors who lost their entire families in the massacres—I respect their suffering and their desire to testify. As with all witnesses, they have a part of the story. But history, if it includes them, goes well beyond them, especially when it is still in the making. And there are those who would exploit their suffering.
Watching this spectacle, my irritation grew into anger: because the violent installation of Paul Kagame in Kigali did not slake his thirst for power. He continued his war beyond the frontiers of Rwanda, spilling largely (and that is an understatement) into the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. RPF troops, aided by Ugandans and protected by American Special Forces, under the pretext of tracking down the genocidaires, went on to kill hundreds of thousands of Rwandans and Congolese; they destabilized Zaire, going all the way to Kinshasa in 1997 to install as president their puppet, Laurent-Désiré Kabila. The mass crimes of the Rwandan invaders were coupled with a pillaging of the country’s vast riches. The following year, under the pretext that their puppet was not executing their decisions with sufficient enthusiasm, the RPF troops renewed their military adventures in the ex-Zaire. Because Paul Kagame succeeded in making himself the principal representative of the victims of the Rwandan genocide, the International Community did not react to the mass crimes he ordered and was fully responsible for, and which were declared to be genocide by a Spanish Judge.
The heart of Africa has bled for 18 years now! I have, first off, tried to convince politicians and journalists to act, to examine the whole situation, and to denounce the lies of Paul Kagame.
The publication in 2004 by Le Monde of a part of the investigation by Judge [Jean-Louis] Bruguière, ironically, inspired a new combative spirit in Kigali and its sycophants to promote its lying version of the history of the Rwandan drama, and to accuse and insult France, through its political and military leaders. So I decided once again to do battle against this disinformation—with the only weapon I know: investigative reporting. A deep investigation, reported in a 544-page book, which opened a route to the truth. An investigation aimed at exposing just how such a rewriting of history was achieved, and how Paul Kagame was relieved of any responsibilities in the attack of 6 April 1994. Because the event that triggered the genocide, I repeat, was most certainly this attack, and many knowledgeable writers on the Rwandan case now share this view.
I have been an investigative journalist for almost 40 years, and specialized in sensitive investigations for 30 years. To approach the Rwanda drama, I used my usual methods, questioning a great many people, but paying special attention to written materials. However, I decided not to go to Rwanda, because I figured that questioning witnesses under a bloody dictatorship that allows thousands to rot in prisons, that has everywhere set up people’s courts, and eliminated whomever it saw fit, made little sense. Calling it a ‘bloody dictatorship’ is not meant as a provocation: this term has been used by many observers and NGOs, but also and especially by the Spanish judiciary acting on a complaint from the International Forum for Truth and Justice in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, headed by Juan Carreero, over the assassination of 9 Spanish nationals (2 missionaries, 4 Marist monks and 3 members of Spanish Doctors of the World) in Rwanda and in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
I believe that it is very important for the clarity of the discussion that will follow here to bear in mind the true nature of the regime led by Paul Kagame. And I will limit myself for now to reading you the beginning of the Spanish court order that came out last February calling for 40 arrest warrants against the political/military power structure in Kigali:
“Today reasonable and well-founded evidence is presented according to which, beginning in the month of October 1990, a politico-military group, well armed and organized, initiated from Uganda a series of actions of a criminal nature on the territory of Rwanda.
“Over the next four years, there took place different organized and systematic activities the purpose of which was to eliminate the civilian population, as much by instigating military hostilities against the Rwandan army as by the perpetration of terrorist acts of varying intensity and range, executed on the territory of Rwanda, principally in the northern and central regions, all of which actions were carried out under a stable and structured command, based on strategic as well as organizational plans.
“Once this group had seized power through military violence, it used the same methods to install a reign of terror and a criminal structure parallel to the legal state, through the use of planned and premeditated imprisonment, the rape of women and young girls, the perpetration of terrorist acts (sometimes carried out in such a way as to make them appear to have been committed by their enemies), the jailing of thousands of citizens without the least judicial authorization, the carrying out of targeted assassinations, the systematic destruction and elimination of dead bodies by burying them without any identification in mass graves, incineration on a massive scale or throwing the bodies into lakes and rivers, as well as indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population based on a predetermined ethnicity, with the purpose of eliminating the ethnic majority, and also the commission of violent acts in Rwanda and in its neighbor, Zaire (today the DRC), perpetrating indiscriminate and systematic massacres of the refugee population, as well as acts of large-scale looting in order to finance these criminal activities and enrich the leaders.”
The regime in Kigali has for some time understood the importance of ‘communication’ to its survival, and knows how to push the right buttons. Were they approaching a Soviet-era reality with their USSR-style interrogations of this or that person well-known to the authorities? Obviously not. It was the defectors and dissidents who had succeeded in revealing the true nature of the Stalinist regime. But there were enough people driven out of Rwanda, including some close to Kagame, to avoid this problem.
After having deepened my knowledge about the attack of 6 April 1994, I dove into an imposing mass of material that I was able to pull together on the Rwandan drama: notably the Quilès report, documents from the Élysée Palace, newspaper articles, and, most surprising, a great number of documents put out by the Hutus but that had, since 1994, simply been censored for no other reason than that they were from the Hutus, all of whom were considered categorically to be genocidaires.
Just as quickly, I experienced a weird feeling that I had never encountered in any of my previous investigations. And God knows I had often met people of questionable repute, gotten inside some seamy worlds, and had, on many occasions, been confronted with disinformation and lies. Here, I was struck by the systematic quality of what I would call an almost industrial treachery, with false witnesses who served to create from whole cloth what would come appear to almost everyone as the truth. Struck by the manipulations of history used by the victors and by the hijacking of certain terms, like ‘victims’, which could refer only to Tutsis. Even the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) didn’t seem to me to be above suspicion, as it refused to prosecute those who took part in massacres committed by the RPF. As Montaigne wrote, unlike the truth, the lie has more than just one face. ‘Because we take as certain the opposite of what the liar says. But the opposite of the truth has a hundred thousand faces, and an indefinite field,’ is how he put it.
My book had to examine Rwandan lies and to unmask the liars who are intent on imposing a falsified version of History on the world. ‘Noires fureurs, blancs menteurs’ is first of all a book about the lies of the power in place in Kigali.
As I wrote on page 44 of my book, ‘the army often used tricks—planes, tanks, and trucks made out of cardboard or wood—to make the enemy think an attack was imminent, or make them waste their ammunition on these false targets. The Tutsi rebels have done much better. They have succeeded until the present day to completely falsify the reality of Rwanda by imputing their own crimes and terrorist acts to others, and demonizing their enemies. To investigate Rwanda proved to be an impossible task, with the victors raising lies and secrecy to the level of high art. (This sentence, which figures in SOS Racisme’s complaint, like all the others, I take full responsibility for.) What one sees here has nothing in common with reality, but instead reflects the sham created by Paul Kagame and his strategists. The masks are everywhere. Kagame and his Tutsi collaborators have until now succeeded in convincing international public opinion that they can stand outside in the rain and not get wet.’
Considering such an observation drawn from many months of investigation, I felt the need to go beyond the factual parameters that described the war set off on 1 October 1990, the date on which the Tutsi rebels most recently penetrated Rwanda. The sophistication of the war of disinformation conducted by the RPF forced me to better understand the culture of Rwandan. After reading a few of his books, I actually met Antoine Nyetera. A Tutsi descendant of King Kigeri III, he has an excellent knowledge of Rwandan history and of its principal actors. He is considered an ‘impartial observer of events, better placed than any other witness to clarify the problems that a foreign expert would not be able to grasp,’ as I stated in a document submitted to the ICTR. He has testified several times before prestigious gatherings like, most notably, the European Parliament. The ICTR called him, and he came to Arusha in February and July 2002, and September 2006. His testimony was entitled ‘The Tutsi Myth and its Influence on the Culture of the Lie and Violence in Rwanda.’
In approaching this chapter, I wanted to contextualize the disinformation that the RPF used, between 1990 and 1994, as a weapon of war to cover their strategy for the military conquest of political power within Rwanda’s long history, a history marked by the use of what I called ‘the lie’, in Kinyarwandan specifically called the ‘Ubengwe’. . . .
The passages that are being used against me are in this first chapter, which merely lays out the ‘rudiments of Rwandan history and geography’, and which I wrote to make clear that, while I do not pretend to be a historian, the French reader should have some idea of the history of the country. And it was essential to add ‘a brief’ description of the characteristics of Rwandan society, especially the ‘culture of the lie’ that is a particular form of civility, and that is not at all extraordinary and has been well-known for a long time. I don’t believe I worked any differently from specialists in Near- or Middle-Eastern terrorism, who, in presenting their analyses, call on the ‘takya’ which is practiced in those regions: the right to lie to defend one’s convictions.
The existence of a ‘culture of the lie’ in Rwanda, which so shocks the president of SOS Racisme, is an obvious fact not only to Antoine Nyetera, but to all Rwandans, an undeniable cultural fact on which several scientists have made studies. I said it’s all about ‘ubgenge’ or ‘ubwenge’, because the Rwandan language uses specifically these terms to name it. In French [or English] there is no word that perfectly expresses it: it could be translated as ‘mensonge’ [lie], ‘ruse’ [cunning], ‘dissimulation’ [duplicity], ‘réserve’ [secrecy], etc. Some witnesses at this hearing will explain ‘ubwenge’ better than I can. I will limit myself here to citing professor Pierre Erny, who, in a study published in No. 40 of the Cahiers de sociologie économique and culturelle (INIST/CNRS), in 2003, entitled ‘Ubgenge: intélligence and ruse à la manière Rwanda et Rundi. He writes: ‘In a society where “the truth is not a dominant element on the scale of values”, where not only is everyone likely to hide the truth, but where the ‘lie’ is considered one of the beaux-arts and mind games are considered among the most exciting, no one is fooled, everyone knows where he stands and how he should react. To put it another way, only outsiders are victimized.’
This is all I’m saying. But, in the case of Rwanda, woe is he who has even the slightest question about the official story. And, furthermore, it does no good these days to cast doubt on the official version of things. And since we’re talking about genocide here, even a double genocide, we should seek to bring all these various massacres together into one great crime, like the destruction of the European Jews during WWII. I was well aware of this trap. I wrote on page 22 of my book: ‘In order to make their narrative indelible, Kagame’s unconditional defenders set up a fearsome ‘communications strategy’: make out all those who question their thesis to be historical revisionists of the sort that deny the reality of the gaz chambers or the number of victims of the Shoah. To disqualify all those who questioned the morality of the current Rwandan president, the head of the association Survie did not hesitate to talk of ‘negrophobia’.
‘So little by little there was developed a fierce rhetoric using the vocabulary and the body of criticism engendered by the Shoah. Overall, since there was a genocide in Rwanda, there had to have been Nazis and torturers—and, as a consequence, a bunch of historical revisionists. Whoever put out doubts about the ‘Kagamean vision’ of events, exposed himself to being, in his turn, ranked among the neo-Faurissonien campers.’
This is what happened to me, but I have to say that I am not alone in this case. I am joined by some eminently respectable people. I’m think particularly of the journalist Stephen Smith, who testified before you on Thursday, but also of Judge [Jean-Louis] Bruguière, who, after having ordered arrest warrants against Paul Kagame’s entourage, was called a revisionist, and even a negationist, by Kigali; and also Spanish Judge [Fernando Andreu] Merelles, who, after having ordered 40 arrest warrants against Kagame’s principal collaborators, suffered the same accusations and calumnies. The two judges, moreover, were made the subjects of judicial attacks from the powers in Kigali.
I have for some time now been asking myself why the president of SOS Racisme got involved in this debate on the side of François-Xavier Ngarambe, who, as president of Ibuka, was ordered by the government in Kigali in the beginning of 2006 to file law suits against me. Why, when, in October 2006, at the press conference to announce the complaint filed against my publisher and me, he would speak of my book as ‘a blatant swindle’ and let the lawyer Bernard Maingain speak of my intention as being ‘a return to a fascination with a certain Pétainism’.
Last spring, while reading a book entitled Rwanda: Pour un dialogue des mémoires [For a dialogue of memories], published in April 2007 by Les Éditions Albin Michel and the French Union of Jewish Students, with a preface by Bernard Kouchner, I finally got it. In this book, written by ‘the children of deported Jews and the descendants of Black slaves’, to borrow from Bernard Kouchner’s description, after a one-week trip to Rwanda in February 2006, that allowed them to meet the survivors of the genocide, Dominique Sopo, as a ‘descendant of a Black slave’, developed his own vision of the Rwandan drama. His contribution seemed to me to fold his un-nuanced repetition of the Kigali dictatorship’s official version of things into his own vision of world history, and that he did not hesitate to compare the genocide of the Tutsis and moderate Hutus with the Shoah.
For Doninique Sopo, what happened in Rwanda is merely the product of racism and Western colonialism. According to him, the Rwandan genocide is the ‘last link in a long chain’ (page 58) which he describes as having its source in Greek philosophy, where he sees the genesis of racism: ‘By identifying the Beautiful with the Good, does it not encourage searching for signs of Evil in the physical as well?’ (page 58). Sopo can’t help using the same Manichean criteria to analyze the world and its history: on one side are the good guys, on the other the bad guys. Subscribing to this basic dialectic, he presents Africa as a paradise lost since the arrival of the Whites. And under his pen, the Rwandan drama does not escape this rudimentary analysis.
From there, Dominique Sopo cobbles together an entire history in which the Hutus are the Nazis who carry within themselves the ideology of the genocidaire that inevitably leads to the tragedy of 1994. He describes the Manifeste des Bahutu [the Bahutu Manifesto], published in 1957 by Hutu intellectuals demanding that lands be shared and participation in the territorial administration, which, until then, had been in the hands of the Tutsis, as the Rwandan Mien Kampf: ‘This manifesto,’ writes Dominique Sopo, ‘lays the ideological foundations for the future’ (pages 62 & 63). The president of SOS Racisme assigns the final historical responsibility for the Rwandan genocide to Whites, because they instilled in the Hutus their own colonial vision of Rwandan society. Along the same lines, he explains how the Tutsis, as ‘members of a social category’ and ‘residents of a multi-secular Rwanda’, found themselves ‘racialized’ by the colonists, and, thereby, ‘exteriorized’. I quote him: ‘We will, furthermore, end up calling them “the Jews of Africa”, which, everyone must admit, does not bode well for their future’ (page 61).
Before writing a sentence like this, militant anti-racist that he is, Sopo should have worked a little more deeply on this dossier. To have worked on it, in any case, beyond the single week he spent in Rwanda in February 2006, where he only heard the potted histories of the ultra-Tutsis running the dictatorship in Kigali. He would have discovered that the expression, ‘Jews of Africa’, was used designedly by the Tutsis, themselves, in their propaganda. And it was the newspaper, Impuruza, that first used it in 1983: ‘A nation in exile, a people without leadership, the “Jews of Africa”, a nation without a State, all these expressions would make marvelous titles to describe the saga of our people.’ Though more mundane, it would have been enough for Dominique Sopo to meet some Rwandans who did not belong to the RPF, or who did not currently live in Rwanda, to become aware that his vision of Rwanda was totally ideological, that if the Tutsis and the Hutus feel themselves to be different, their differences are not of an economic nature, but ethnic, because the former dominated the latter until the end of the 1950s: this is the reality that the colonial administration previously calculated and crystallized. Some Rwandan historians and Rwandan nationals can explain this subject to you with a vision completely different from Sopo’s.
In his text, and despite a formal introduction critical of comparisons of the Tutsis with the Jews, Sopo constantly returns to the similarities between the Tutsis and the Jews, and, consequently, of the Hutus and the Nazis. The president of SOS Racisme seems not to recognize that to confuse the Shoah and the genocide of the Tutsis is a historical aberration and, moreover, in certain regards, an insult to the memory of the victims and those who survived the Shoah. It even verges on anti-Semitism: in 1933 as in 1939, it was certainly not a gang of Jews who took up arms and invaded Germany. Who would dare support such idiocy? But, it assuredly was the ultra-Tutsis of the RPF who, almost exclusively, took up arms against what was then called ‘Hutu Power’. And it was these same Tutsis who won the civil war and seized state power.
In just a few pages, Dominique Sopo almost perfectly dictates a version of this history that is radically opposed to the one in my book. The history he reports is the official, potted version that is disseminated by Kigali, and retold by those I call the ‘blancs menteurs’ [White liars].
Dogmatically locked into his personal theories of racism, Dominique Sopo, always meanly questioning the intentions of those French—politicians, military people, intellectuals and journalists—who don’t think as he does, and who, like me, speak of a ‘double genocide’, and of ‘accomplices in the on-going genocides and those that will occur in the future’ (page 71).
The president of SOS Racisme certainly has the right to think what he wants about the Rwandan drama, to think in terms of a fundamentalist dialectic of Good v Evil as the driving spirit of History, but I challenge him absolutely when he charges me with racism solely because I don’t think as he does! In my book, I was only trying to search out the truth.
Your Honor’s judgment will answer the question posed by Hervé Deguine, of Reporters Sans Frontières, in an article published in Médias: ‘Can one still write freely about Rwanda?’
I have confidence that the Justice system in my country will absolve me of the terrible charge that SOS Racisme has, outside all legitimacy and disdaining the truth, leveled against me.
 Impuruza was the first newspaper of the Rwandan diaspora. Founded by Alexandre Kamenyi in the US, the title was well chosen to describe the spirit of retaking by force of arms that political power which was lost. Impuruza is the traditional drum used before colonial times by the Tutsis as a call to war.