Richard North, 07/04/2006  

Today is the anniversary (12 years, not a round one) of the start of the civil war in Rwanda. Well, one might call it a civil war or one might call it a frenzied massacre.

The previous day the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi had been killed in a mysterious plane crash. This was supposed to trigger off uncontrollable feelings but one is always a little suspicious of such quick reactions to unexplained events.

Let us not forget a couple of things about the whole mess. One is the French involvement, largely behind the scenes, on the side of the francophone Hutus (who, incidentally, slaughtered many of their own people as well as Tutsis).

The other is the much rehearsed craven and stupid behaviour of the UN, that transnational body that is claiming some rights to being the arbiter of international legality. Under Kofi Annan (now SecGen but then only a relatively humble head of operations) the UN refused to supply help when it was requested by desperate officers on the ground.

Subsequently, the UN played a part again in setting up badly organized refugee camps in which the Hutu militias regrouped, terrorized everyone else and continued with their bloody mission.

So far we have had two films made about Rwanda. I am sure they are quite good and, certainly, well meant, even if one gets slightly nauseous at the pontification by various actors and directors. I have no doubt there will be many films about Darfur as well.


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