UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
By Deirdre Griswold
Prisons in Rwanda are overflowing, admitted a report from Kigali in the Dec. 5 New York Times. Late-night arrests by soldiers of the new regime and arbitrary executions of those merely accused of being with the former Hutu militia are "a familiar story."
The Times reported that now "many Rwandans, both Hutu and Tutsi, say they are afraid to drive at night because so many cars are stolen at gunpoint by men in uniform."
The new army represents the old ruling class that was evicted in 1969-70. It returned to reclaim its property after this summer's victory of the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front and the mass exodus of several million Rwandans, mostly Hutus.
The U.S. press has generally portrayed the new RPF regime as benign, while blaming the previous Hutu government for ethnic violence. It has covered up the main factor in this struggle: Washington's fierce rivalry with France over who will dominate Central Africa.
The previous Rwandan regime was lined up with French-speaking Africa. Its currency was the franc. The RPF, however, was armed and trained in English-speaking Uganda with the support of both the U.S. and Britain.
The struggle in Rwanda is only the tip of the iceberg. A civil war is going on in neighboring Burundi. There a Tutsi-dominated ruling class that has survived since feudalism and colonialism has a shaky hold on power, largely through the military.
The main focus of imperialist rivalry is mineral-rich Zaire (formerly the Belgian Congo). The U.S., France and Belgium have been jockeying for position there since the independence struggle of the 1960s and the murder of the first Congolese president, Patrice Lumumba, by U.S. imperialist agents shielded by the United Nations.
Over a million Rwandans now live in wretched refugee camps in Zaire. In late November the Zairian Army attacked some of these settlements and turned over a group of Rwandan refugees to the RPF, their deadly enemy.
(Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint granted if source is cited. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Message-Id: [199412152315.XAA13693@orion.sas.upenn.edu] Date: Thu, 15 Dec 1994 16:22:39 -0500 From: Faraz Fareed Rabbani [email@example.com] Subject: Fwd: Tha Min Factor in Rwanda Struggle (fwd)
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