Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bloody hands

Last November, Rwanda broke ties with France after French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere implicated then-rebel leader Kagame in the 1994 downing of a plane carrying Habyiramana and the president of Burundi. This incident was the spark that set off a meticulously planned genocide that cost the lives of an estimated million people.

Kagame denied the allegations, denounced Bruguiere as politically motivated and said that he was more interested in covering up the cozy relationship between French authorities and the genocidal regime. Something echoed by one of the inquiry's key witnesses, even though he maintains Kagame's role in the assassination.

I have made it clear that I am not a big fan of Kagame and his authoritarian regime. That said, whether the allegations are true or not, I'm afraid I can't get too worked up over all this.

Kagame was a rebel leader in a civil war. His forces were fighting a regime that had launched many small pogroms and anti-Tutsi campaigns. Am I outraged that he may have killed a racist dictator? Am I disgusted that he fought a regime that was in the process of planning (well before Habyriamana's death) one of the bloodiest campaigns of mass murder of the 20th century?

It's good that Kagame has reportedly agreed to an independent investigation of his predecessor's assassination. But no, I do not care if Kagame is prosecuted for this wartime act. I reserve my tears not for Habyrimana's family but for the families of the one million Rwandans slaughtered in his name.

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