An interview with Paul Nkunzimana, honorary president of the Party of Workers and Democracy (PTD) of Burundi, author of the book Contribution à l’étude de la préhistoire et de l’histoire sociales de l’Afrique des Grands Lacs et de l’Est (Éditions du travail, 2019).
In 1994, in the space of just a few months, armed groups massacred one million Rwandans. Twenty-seven years later, the president of the « Commission on the Rwandan genocide », Vincent Duclert, believes that France has an « undeniable responsibility ». Is this really a revelation?
With this report commissioned by Macron and made public on 26 March, it was “revealed” to the mainstream press that France bore “heavy and overwhelming responsibility” in the 1994 genocide. However, the report states that « nothing proves » that France was « complicit« . In reality, the role of French imperialism in the genocide and its motives have been known since 1994; there was no need to wait for the « declassification » of Elysée documents. As soon as the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) launched its military offensive from Uganda on 1 October 1990, France organised the military operation Noroît: officially, the aim was to evacuate French nationals, but in reality, Noroît’s mission was to supervise the Rwandan military and staff. France over-armed the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) immediately after the start of the war in October 1990. French military support to the Rwandans was unfailing, while part of the Hutu* regime became increasingly radicalised, and organised militias. During the genocide, on 8 April, 1994, France launched the military operation Amaryllis, supposed to be an « operation to evacuate French, Europeans and Africans« , but it acted selectively. Tutsi workers from embassies and international organisations were handed over to the genocide murderers. As for the French UNAMIR forces, they never prevented the genocide. Finally, the French Operation Turquoise was only intended to ensure the withdrawal of the genocidal forces towards Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), after having massacred Tutsis in Bisesero from 27 to 30 June 1994.
And today, have France and other imperialist powers stopped interfering?
In the region (and in particular in Rwanda and Burundi), since the early 1970s, France has managed to supplant the former colonial power, Belgium. France and other imperialist powers and their institutions have never left the country. The United States, Belgium, the UN, etc., made “apologies” to Rwanda for not having stopped the genocide, and most of these powers even admitted to having been aware of the preparations for this catastrophe. The interference of the great powers continues, both in military and economic form. The World Bank, for example, is calling for more privatisation in Rwanda in 2020: “The economic slowdown in 2016 and 2017 has highlighted the limits of a public sector-led growth model. In the future, the private sector will play a more important role in driving economic growth. »
In order to facilitate privatisation and repayment of the foreign debt, imperialism maintains the FDLR (Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda, a remnant of the genocidal forces) and the FLN (Front de Libération nationale) based in neighbouring countries which often carry out murderous incursions into Rwanda. For the sake of the peoples of the region and beyond, it is more urgent than ever to break with imperialism and its institutions, and their devastating policies.
* Let us recall, as Paul Nkunzimana explains in his book, that the “ethnic” division between Hutu, Tutsi and Twa is artificial and was introduced in its time by the Belgian coloniser.