6. AMAHORO CELEBRATIONS PRELUDE
The culminating event of my visit to Rwanda was to be present with Rwandans at the Amahoro Stadium for the combined celebration of their Independence and Liberation Days.
As readers of my Rwanda writings know, I became bonded to Rwanda the day I heard on the radio that Hutus were butchering Tutsis with machetes in broad daylight in the African country of Rwanda while soldiers under the command of a Canadian general were doing nothing to stop them.
It turned out that there weren't really very many Canadian soldiers there, other than the General, as this was a typical United Nations operation made up of soldiers from various nations, all following the insane orders of incompetent Big Brother bureaucrats in New York with names like Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Booh-Booh and Kofi Annan, none of who had a track record of honesty or integrity and who had at their unaccountable disposal billions of dollars and millions of human beings.
And so the slaughter of Tutsis (and any Hutus who refused to particpate in the slaughter) continued unihibited for three months until finally the killing was stopped by a so-called "rebel" army from Uganda - the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) - who scared the killers so bad that they ran by the millions into neighbouring nations where they were provided a million dollars a day in humanitarian aid from the same United Nations that had refused to help the people they'd been killing - the Tutsis in Rwanda. From then on the story of Rwanda, to the Western World, was all about these so-called "refugee" camps which were in reality "perpetrator" camps, and not a word was reported about the after-effects in Rwanda.
No mention was made that the cities, towns, villages, huts and countryside of Rwanda were littered with mutilated bodies that were being eaten by dogs, rats and REAL cockroaches, the name the Hutu-Power always slurred at the Tutsi in the years leading up to the Genocide. No mention was made that the entire infrastructure of the nation was in ruins and that, quoting from WE WISH TO INFORM YOU by Philip Gourevitch, "the fleeing Hutu Power mobs grabbed every bit of portable property they could lay their hands on and every wheeled vehicle that still rolled to carry themselves and their cargo. What they could not take with them, they systematically looted and laid to waste: government offices, factories, schools, electrical pylons, homes, shops, tea and coffee plantations. They tore away roofing and ripped out windows, slashed water lines and ate or carted off all they could that was edible."
Quoting from the report TEN YEARS ON by Alfred Ndahiro, "July 1994 found Rwanda on its deathbed. The air was filled with the stench of death: heaps of corpses were on every inch of the land while others floated freely on lakes and rivers...On fleeing, the refugees, who included government officials, officers and men of the national army, private individuals and the rest of the peasantry, fled with the entire infrastructure: money out of the banks, vehicles, military tanks and arms, as well as all the ammunition...When the Government of National Unity was set up in July 1994, the whole country was shattered and was in a state of utter anarchy. Its social and economic infrastructure was in a state of collapse. The whole population was greatly divided, deeply traumatised and needed healing if life was to go on. Law and order had completely broken down. Large-scale atrocities were still going on in parts of the country. The judicial infrastructure had either been damaged or destroyed. All national law enforcement agencies and judicial institutions had ceased to exist and the system of administration of justice had come to a complete standstill. Neither schools nor hospitals were functioning. The civil service had been decimated or its membership had fled into exile. Public utilities such as electricity, water and telephones were not functioning. The fleeing genocidaires had run away with practically all the money and the little money left in the banks lay in vaults whose location was unknown to the newcomers. There were no functioning banks, factories, shops or even open-air markets. Commercial and residential buildings stood in an eerie silence, shattered or intact but almost all invariably containing dead bodies. Instruments of death lay everywhere: guns, grenades and all the other crude implements. Genocide survivors were still scattered all over the country, deeply traumatized. The genocide had greatly divided and polarized the country. Most worrying, however, was that a cloud of insecurity hung over the country, as former soldiers and militia groups reorganized across the border in the Congo..."
So this was the Rwanda the government led by the Rwandese Patriotic Front - the liberators from tyrants and genocide - inherited. And this was the Rwanda that no one was helping - including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund who would not lend any more money until the debts of the previous government (who'd spent the borrowed money on weapons for civil war and genocide) were paid.
And yet, none of this deterred the fledgling new government - Rwanda's first true government "of the people, by the people and for the people" since independence from its bondage to the United Nations' trusteeship under Belgium on July 1st, 1962.
Rwanda has, as literally as is possible on this earth, gone to hell and come back to tell the story and prove to the world that the indomitable human spirit, with honest leadership, can overcome any evil. That is what Rwandans are celebrating on their Independence Day and Liberation Day anniversaries and that is why I wanted to be there in that crowd at their Amahoro (the Kinyarwanda word for "peace") Stadium on July 4th, 2006.
go next to 7. RWANDA LIBERATION DAY 2006 or back to index at DESTINY DESTINATION RWANDA
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