Friday, January 10, 2014

New and Valuable Resource: Rwanda Witness Website

For those of us that have researched and written on/in Rwanda for a while (in my case for the last 18 years or so), it is a rare delight to have a new cautioned, considered and independent voice on which to rely. This person, fellow Canadian and journalist Judi Rever, has recently come into my orbit. I am writing this blog post to let folks know about her writing and research, most of which is published on her blog, Rwanda Witness.

Two things stand out for me about Judi Rever's work. One, it seeks to centre, through oral and witness testimony, the experiences of ordinary Rwandans and Congolese. The daily hardships and victories of these lives are generally absent from what we think we know about Rwanda since the 1994 genocide, thanks to a carefully crafted whitewash of the successes of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Her writing foregrounds these experiences and for this reason is an invaluable resource.

Second, Judi Rever's work places socio-political realities in Rwanda in broader context, mostly notably through events in Zaire/DRC as well as the American failure to protect civilians lives in Rwanda, both during and since the 1994 genocide.

Given the recent assassination of Patrick Karegeya, and the gloating that some senior members of Rwanda's ruling RPF have engaged in on various social media platforms, Judi Rever's reporting on the role of the RPF/A in perpetrating mass violence is all the more urgent. It seems to me that the RPF is well aware that it can flaunt its human rights abuses with no fear of international repercussion or prosecution. This culture of impunity reigned pre-1994 and Karegeya's murder suggests it is alive and well as at the dawn of the 20th anniversary of the 1994 genocide. We'll likely never know what Karegeya knew about the mass violence of the early days of the RPF government, nor the violence that he likely oversaw or participated in to make sure the RPF took power in July 1994. What is clear that the mantra "never again" rings rather hollow for many Rwandans.

To get you started thinking about the pattern of human rights abuses perpetrated by the RPF/A, I recommend reading Rever's investigative reporting on the role of senior members of the Rwandan Patriotic Army in perpetrating mass murder, and the ways in which it has been able to whitewash its crimes for a largely uneducated Western audience. Happy reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment