The Emancipation of the Rwandan People
The written speech 1 * for the convention of the
Rwandan People’s Government in Exile (GREX)
2 December 2023
keith harmon snow
“Until the lion tells the story, the hunter will always be the hero.”
This African proverb aptly sums up the reasons for the Western world`s contemporary (mis-) understanding of Rwandan history and events in Central Africa.
The pre-colonial era was no picnic for Hutus. The so-called ‘history’ of Rwanda told by the Tutsi monarchist historian Alexis Kagame (1912-1981) was the authorized history of the Tutsi monarchy and at its base it was as dishonest as the stories Americans have always told about Cowboys and Indians, or Israel’s stories about the Palestinians, or the stories that the former CIA station chief Larry Devlin told about the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, or the stories that the Paul Kagame regime and it`s propagandists tell about the first president Gregoire Kayibanda and the HUTU Revolution.
We have to examine the falsification of African history carefully, because history is not dead, it is also part of the present. The roots of all the contemporary violence in Central Africa can be traced through the violence of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). This includes all the lies, and disinformation.
So, it is necessary to understand the depth of these lies and the manipulation that the RPF-Inkotanyi has engaged in.
I will give a few examples of how the RPF has controlled and manipulated information and how this information has spread like the cancer of the RPF itself.
* Due to time concerns, the written speech differs slightly from the actual speech given.
The RPF has successfully inculcated the lie that the founders of the Hutu Social Movement and the events of the 1960s were part of the Hutu plan to exterminate the Tutsis. This is patently false.
Most genocide scholars in the West (USA, Canada, & Europe) and almost every book they have produced about genocide lists the Bahutu Manifesto as one of the first indications that the Hutu wanted to exterminate the Tutsis. However, let us recall that it was the “Mise au Point” issued by the Counseil supérieur du pays set the tone for the Bahutu Manifesto that was published after. The Counseil supérieur du pays was a Tutsi monarchist council.
In February 1957, in anticipation of the United Nations’ fourth triennial visit to Ruanda, scheduled for the fall, the Counseil supérieur du pays, stacked with monarchist Tutsis, issued a manifesto that situated Ruanda’s problems in a black-white racial context and completely dismissed the Tutsi Apartheid against the Hutus.
In response, in March 1957 nine Hutu intellectuals published the Bahutu Manifesto, a liberation tract that very respectfully challenged Tutsi supremacy and called for radical reforms. This was not a call for genocide or a precursor for genocide in any way.
The Bahutu Manifesto criticized “anti-colonial nationalism” by the elite Tutsis and praised colonialism for protecting the Hutu masses from what would have been even worse in the absence of the colonists.
The response of the Tutsi aristocracy was an increasingly violent militarist revival born out of Tutsi entitlement, intransigence and supremacy. The Tutsi aristocracy portrayed themselves as victims, as an oppressed and superior people descended from heaven and born to rule over the lesser Hutus.
The Tutsi monarchists were abusive, punitive and unrelenting, and they fought tooth and nail to preserve the social order, and this was a social order that relied on absolute force, violence and the enslavement of the Hutus. Let`s call this what it is: TUTSI FRAGILITY (like white fragility) where even the tiniest challenge to Tutsi power and the monarchist supremacy was considered an outrageous injustice and an offense to the Mwami (Tutsi king).
The Tutsi monarchists responded to the Bahutu Manifesto with a reactionary, counter- revolutionary, call-to-arms. They wanted blood. They began a war of words that soon led to attacks and even assassinations of HUTU leaders.
In the days immediately following Mwami Mutara’s death in 1959, armed bands of Tutsi and Twa roamed central Rwanda attacking Europeans and European property. A Belgian agent was wounded by a Hutu mob officered by Tutsi, while Twa commandos hunted down another Belgian agent, a known Hutu sympathizer, who escaped when Belgian reinforcements arrived by accident. Attacks also occurred against a pro-Hutu Catholic newspaper and other ‘targets.’
Tutsi plans were executed with amazing speed. In September 1959, Twa commandos serving the monarchist Tutsi Union Nationale Rwandaise (UNAR) party assaulted the Hutu leader Joseph Gitera: the news spread like wildfire through the population.
On 27 September Gitera’s moderate APROSOMA party issued a communiqué that described the Tutsi people as “exploiters by nature, xenophobic by instinct, and communist by need, as manifested by the UNAR party.”
In hindsight, it is quite clear that the description of the monarchist Tutsi people in this communiqué was profoundly prescient; meanwhile, addressing the crimes of the Tutsis in the 1959- 1968 era remains rather taboo.
It was true: the monarchist Tutsis and UNARists were out of their minds with vengeance, xenophobia and hate. It is exactly what we saw—and what we see—from Paul Kagame and the RPF 25- 30 years later. So, who, exactly, set the stage for the 1994 genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda? It was the extremist Tutsis.
It is time for change in Rwanda.
The famous Belgian ‘White Father’ of the Catholic Church, Monsignor Andre Perraudin, is almost always portrayed in academic texts (and contemporary accounts that revisit Rwanda`s history) as a Hutu sympathizer whose support for the Hutus confirms his role as an evildoer and Tutsi hater. These claims do not hold water.
Any accurate portrait of Monsignor Perraudin would properly define him as perhaps one of the world`s most important and first liberation theologists. This is why Paul Kagame and the RPF attacked the Catholic Church.
Andre Perraudin saw with his own eyes the violent and intransigent nature of the monarchist Tutsi supremacy. A thorough examination of Monsignor Perraudin’s statements and actions has to take into account the force and violence of the Tutsi Monarchist institution.
Monsignor Perraudin’s experiences in Switzerland during World War II led him to declare that “[t]his [UNAR] tendency resembles strongly the ‘national socialism’ that other countries have known, and which have caused them so much grief.” To Andre Perraudin, the Tutsis behaved like the NAZIs from World War II.
Also, in 1959, an extremist Tutsi leader, Gratien Sendanyoye, authored an incendiary Tutsi warrior epic poetry tract that called for military mobilization and labeled Hutu leader Joseph Gitera a traitor.
Another example is the attack against Dominique Mbonumutwa. The RPF narrative and many academics suggest that this was the “spark” that ignited the attacks by Hutus against Tutsis in 1959 and in the years that followed. That is a twisted interpretation of the truth.
There were many provocations and attacks and assassinations—both attempted and successful—committed by the Tutsi extremists, and their agents or loyal subjects, that preceded the attack against Dominique Mbonumutwa. ( Dominique Mbonumutwa was the first president of Ruanda, for nine months, but only in an interim capacity, and Gregoire Kayibanda was the first Prime Minister, both elected at an emergency (limited) public forum on 28 January 1961. Gregoire Kayibanda was the First President ( of the First Republic) of Rwanda following the elections of 6 October 1961)
The establishment narrative about ‘genocide in Rwanda’ portrays the Tutsis as victims from the late 1950’s forward to today. There are also many examples where the pre-colonial era depicts the Tutsi monarchies as the great benefactors of the Hutus. This is the extremist Tutsi historiography, comparable to the hunter’s version of the Lion hunt.
These accounts ignore the Tutsi terror campaigns of the independence era (1958-1963) and the decades that followed (1963-1990). The Tutsis are almost universally portrayed as a mistreated people who were undeservedly dispossessed of state and country. This portrayal of the Tutsis as victims, the narrative which subsumes all others from 1959 forward, was inculcated by the elite Tutsis and their Inkotanyi.
After their flight into exile, which, we must of course mention, was as often by choice as not, the Tutsi elites called their UNAR armed guerrillas Inyenzi—a term that represented their pride in their ability to attack at night, hit and run, inflict damage, terrorize the people and the country, and retreat by day. It was also a term meant to invoke terror in the population. We have to remember, too, that many of the monarchist Tutsis CHOSE exile over participation in the First Republic, and that not every Tutsi in exile supported the Inyenzi.
Every Inyenzi attack was a provocation and the Inyenzi and their leadership KNEW that Hutu would retaliate against interior Tutsis. The RPF also knew that every attack would result in the death of more Tutsis. The Inyenzi didn`t care. The RPF didn`t care. In fact, we now know that Paul Kagame and the English-speaking RPF Tutsis didn`t care about the French-speaking Tutsis who never left Rwanda (in the 1959-1968 era). In fact, Paul Kagame hated them, considered them traitors, betrayers, and both killed them directly and facilitated their killing through the RPF military advanced and the RPF infiltration of the Interahamwe.
The monarchist Tutsis tried to KILL the First Republic. They did everything they could, knowing that thousands of people would be injured, killed, or uprooted from Ruanda.
The Inyenzi also joined the Lumumbist and Mulele and Simba rebellions in the Congo. This is interesting, and it is just one of many details that are profoundly relevant to understanding the true historiography of Ruanda-Urundi and Congo. It is imperative to examine the Belgian role in the decolonization crises in both Congo and Ruanda-Urundi. It is complex, but such things are often distilled down to soundbites or gross caricatures of reality that serve the extremist TUTSI ‘victims’ narrative.
There is an unwritten story that needs to be written under the title THE EMANCIPATION OF THE HUTU PEOPLE or maybe A PEOPLE`S HISTORY OF Rwanda.
With the Civil Rights movement in full swing in the United States in the early 1960s, and anti- colonial resistance and liberation struggles all over the world, Ruanda-Urundi was a very unique situation. It was easy for the extremist Tutsis to sell their victimization to the rest of the world, merely pointing at the Belgian occupiers and declaring themselves a subjugated and enslaved people. Well, it was true, and it wasn`t.
And that is the nature of this extremist Tutsi fascism, and that is what exists in Rwanda today.
It`s time for a change in Rwanda.
The terms Inkotanyi and Inyenzi symbolized the mythology of supernatural powers that were inculcated and bestowed upon the Tutsi and their Mwami. The Tutsi extremists knew exactly what effect the use of these terms would have on the masses of Hutus and petit Tutsis, both in the revolutionary era (1959-1968) and the Civil War era (1990-1994).
Inkotanyi, Inyenzi, Union Nationale Rwandaise (UNAR), Rwandese Alliance for National Unity (RANU), the Rwandan Patriotic Front, the RPF’s Directorate of Military Intelligence in Rwanda today—this is the face of Tutsi Supremacy and terror in Rwanda and Congo.
It was the extremist Tutsi elites who set Rwanda on a genocidal path. The elite Tutsi and RPF narrative omits all mention of the terrorism orchestrated by the Tutsi elites.
This is the hidden history of genocide in Rwanda.
The Hutu and petite Tutsi people will never forget.
Paul Kagame is a terribly sick man. A tortured man. All the pain and sorrow inflicted on him and his family, as refugees, must have taken a toll on him that he never recovered from. Later, 1980-1985,he joined Yoweri Museveni and participated in the bloody campaigns of the National Resistance Movement/Army in the Lowero Triangle in Uganda. He was rewarded with a high post in the new Museveni regime, a post where he is said to have committed horrible atrocities in the new Ugandan state.
In his rise to immortality, Paul Kagame was never afforded a chance to rescue his Self and recover his true nature, his true Self. Paul Kagame, the man, is a discombobulation of a human being who never found his way to having his fractured and discombobulated Self reconstituted and reintegrated to become a whole and complete human being. The effects of the multiple traumas suffered by Paul Kagame—as a child, in the refugee camps, as a soldier—shattered his psyche. There was no therapy to help him reintegrate his shattered Self and no mentor who helped him find a moral compass.
The effects of trauma of the kind that Paul Kagame must have suffered are devastating. In the language of psychology, Paul Kagame was clearly stricken with multiple psychological disorders. Trauma scrambles the brain and lodges itself in the muscles and tissues of the body (this is known as Reichian armoring). We can imagine the gears of Paul Kagame`s brain spinning out of control—and this is no joke or understatement of the diagnosis—all haywire and random and on the verge of explosion, or maybe we should more accurately envision the inner workings of his mind as a broken spring, whammied and warped and kerbanging around like a Jack-in-the-Box trapped inside the tight confines of his skull. The man suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), antisocial personality disorder, paranoia, delusions of grandeur, and he seems to thrive on vengeance and hatred and the commission of horrible violence. Antisocial personality disorder is known as sociopathy, a mental health disease where a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others. This is exactly what we see in Paul Kagame.
Paul Kagame’s brains are obviously scrambled and disfigured, like a machine that has exploded or a bouncing, broken spring, or a ghetto that has been bombed.
Paul Kagame has shielded his wounded Self from all normal human feelings; he has shielded his Self from showing any compassion; he long ago lost any and all moral conscience-ness. Indeed, it requires a whole new vocabulary to even begin to describe the deranged man that is Paul Kagame, or the scale and nature of the horrible crimes he has committed.
And this fatal wounding of Paul Kagame`s Self goes back to the earliest years of baby Paul’s childhood, the wounding of the once innocent child that was born—as most all normal healthy children are—a perfect manifestation of the great Creator, of God, or Mohammed, of Shiva, or the Great Cosmic Mother, or Jesus… whomever you believe that the creator might be.
We need not focus on Paul Kagame, however, because he is only a symptom of the problem, albeit the most dangerous, social kind.
THE ATROCITIES OF THE RPF ARE UNSPEAKABLE.
There is, I suppose, one last thing to say about the immortalization of Paul Kagame, because the world has immortalized this… man. In the minds of his supporters he is like Moses, perhaps—though he is an armed and vengeful Moses—who metaphorically parted the sea and led “his people” out of the refugee camps. Or maybe they see him as their own Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s Greek legend, the Odyssey.
For anyone whose eyes are open, and whose heart is true, for anyone capable of grasping concepts of responsibility and integrity and compassion, anyone capable of feeling them, Paul Kagame’s immortality will always be seen more in the image of Mephistopheles, or Hannibal Lector, or some amalgamation of Homer’s Odyssean beasts, Scylla and Charybdis, the Sirens and the Hydra all in the character and behavior of one man.
I see no point here in once again cataloging the crimes of the RPF-Inkotanyi, as others have done this already, and as I have, the tortures, rapes, massacres, incineration, suffocation and other horrible violence.
I first met the RPF in Kampala, in 1991. Soon after that I crossed the frontier from Karambi (Uganda) to Kasindi (Zaire) and bicycled to Goma. Sixteen years later, I retraced my route on a motorcycle with a young Congolese driver. Departing Goma on the road to the frontier with Uganda, we were detained at gunpoint by kadogo that had been kidnapped by the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD)—one of Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni’s many bloody militias operating in eastern Congo. I say kidnapped because these were children, and their lives were stolen from them, and they carried deadly Kalashnikovs bigger than their vocabularies. They took me prisoner, and if the commander of their camp had understood my mission in Congo (to document the crimes of the Rwandan Patriotic Front) they would have shot me then and there.
Coming and going from Central Africa between 2000 and 2011, I documented and catalogued the war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) from 1996-2003 all across the Congo-Zaire. Since then Ihave also documented some of the UNSPEAKABLE crimes committed by the RPF in Byumba and Ruhengeri in 1991, 1992, and 1993. The RPF regime is still committing crimes in Congo and it is a repressive regime in control of Rwanda. Millions upon millions of people have suffered and millions more died.
Where was the international press when the RPF was wiping the people of Byumba off the face of the earth between 1990 and 1995? Well, journalists visited the RPF headquarters in Mulindi (Byumba) but they didn`t “see” anything, and they didn`t question the “silence” or the terror or the “emptiness”. Many of these journalists were embedded with the RPF, and they have only told the story of the RPF “victors” and they keep on telling this story even though it is clearly false.
It`s time for these Western journalists to tell the truth. We know who they are.
It is one thing to do something, it is another thing to cover it up.
It is also critical, at this moment in time, to recognize and to admit, that the Tutsi monarchists and the RPF demagogues were not—and are not—the only extremists. Hutu extremism is also a very real problem.
Rwandans need to unite.
The problems of Rwandan regionalism—the conflicts between Kiga and Nduga, for example, between northerners and southerners—need to be put aside. People on all sides need to come clean.
The colonial system, the ethnicization of the language of Hutu and Tutsi, the Rwandan Civil War of 1990 to 1994, these are the things that have the Rwandan people divided and conquered.
Justifications and lies are indicative of a psychological complex, a pathology that the individual uses to protect himself, to armor himself or herself against the acknowledgement of his own pain and suffering. It is one thing to do something, it is another thing to deny it.
When someone commits an injustice against another person, or even against another being, they have committed an injustice against themselves. When we dehumanize another, when we debase them, we are also dehumanizing ourselves, and debasing ourselves.
Proclamations about JUSTICE and LIBERTY and TRUTH and FREEDOM and UNITY and declarations of TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION are all very wonderful sounding. We can see what Paul Kagame has done with these, and what a huge facade they are in the context of modern Rwanda 1994 to the present day. If these terms are to have any meaning, beyond their deployment as empty patriotic slogans, there needs to be something else included in the mix.
Until we forgive, we do not love. And more than anything else in the world, love is in need of love today.
And so, I will close by saying that we must both understand and never forget our true history. It is only through this understanding, this truth, combined with integrity, forgiveness and love, can we hope to break the cycle of violence against others, and ourselves. This is a very personal responsibility for each and every one of us.
Keith Harmon Snow Paris, France
2 December 2023