[Debate] Why Do (some) Leading Leftists Deny the Rwandan Genocide of 1994?
m_redmond at btinternet.com
m_redmond at btinternet.com
Sun Jan 1 14:27:37 GMT 2012
The issue of Kagame and who supports him and holds him in power, the proxy US/French wars in the region and general lumbering around of colonial forces on the continent do not mean there was not a genocide. The label itself is a distraction. Lots of ordinary, innoent human beings died horrifically and one death was one too many.
I Support Hackney Community Law Centre. Legal Action for the Community!
Become a Friend of Hackney Community Law Centre
--- On Sat, 31/12/11, Yoshie Furuhashi <critical.montages at gmail.com> wrote:
From: Yoshie Furuhashi <critical.montages at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Debate] Why Do (some) Leading Leftists Deny the Rwandan Genocide of 1994?
To: "Debate is a listserve that attempts to promote information and analyses of interest to the independent left in South and Southern Africa" <debate-list at fahamu.org>
Date: Saturday, 31 December, 2011, 7:48
The genocide narrative can't (or rather doesn't bother to) explain how
Kagame & the RPF rose to and remain in power in Rwanda; while the
civil war narrative easily can. One way Kagame & RPF have cemented
their hold on power is by criminalizing the civil war narrative
espoused by their opposition.
On Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 1:56 PM, Benjamin Fogel <gonzostig at gmail.com> wrote:
> a GENOCIDE HAPPENED...
> On Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 3:14 AM, Yoshie Furuhashi
> <critical.montages at gmail.com> wrote:
>> What's wrong with leftists seeing what happened in Rwanda as a civil
>> war in which the side backed by Uganda & the US won? The side that
>> won it, btw, continues to rule Rwanda, seemingly happily ever after
>> (its head winning elections with "95.1%"  & "93.08%"  of
>> the votes, the percentages that some dictators might be somewhat
>> abashed to emulate), jailing, exiling, otherwise repressing all its
>> opponents (and some of their lawyers like Peter Erlinder) as "genocide
>> On Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 7:41 PM, glparramatta
>> <glparramatta at greenleft.org.au> wrote:
>> > http://jonestream.blogspot.com/2011/12/why-do-leading-leftists-deny-rwandan.html\
>> > #more
>> > Saturday, December 24, 2011 Why Do Leading Leftists Deny the Rwandan
>> > Genocide of 1994?
>> > By Adam Jones, Ph.D.
>> > John Pilger is one of my heroes. Indeed, reading Heroes, his classic
>> > 1986 book on resistance to mass violence and oppression worldwide, was a
>> > formative experience. Together with works by Noam Chomsky and Edward S.
>> > Herman, Pilger's book persuaded me of the need to defend defenseless
>> > victims of power wherever they are found.
>> > So why on earth has Pilger -- together with Chomsky -- warmly endorsed a
>> > tract co-authored by none other than Edward Herman, which brazenly
>> > denies the genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994?
>> > Herman and David Peterson’s slender volume The Politics of Genocide was
>> > published in mid-2010 by Monthly Review Press -- one of the
>> > longest-established and most prestigious leftist publishing houses. In
>> > the Rwanda section of their book, and in various online posts, Herman &
>> > Peterson allege that the "mainstream" depiction of events in Rwanda in
>> > 1994 "turns perpetrator and victim upside-down." Rather than a genocidal
>> > "Hutu Power" regime massacring members of the Tutsi minority en masse
>> > (along with many oppositionist Hutus), they contend the regime was not
>> > "in control of anything" at the time of the mass killing; that the
>> > invading, Ugandan-based Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), led by Tutsi
>> > exiles, was "the only well-organized killing force within Rwanda in
>> > 1994"; and that therefore, "the chief responsibility for Rwandan
>> > political violence belonged to the RPF, and not to … any Hutu-related
>> > group."
>> > Let us be clear. In the Rwandan context, this is the equivalent of
>> > asserting that the Nazis never killed Jews in death camps -- indeed,
>> > that it was really Jews who killed Germans. It is the most naked denial
>> > of the extermination of at least half a million Tutsis by agents of
>> > "Hutu Power" that I have ever read in an ostensibly scholarly source.
>> > And it relies on "evidence" that, even on cursory examination, proves to
>> > be the sheerest gossamer, when it is not simply hearsay and idle
>> > speculation -- based on the declamations of "a tiny number of long-time
>> > American and Canadian genocide deniers, who gleefully drink each other’s
>> > putrid bath water," as Gerald Caplan phrased it in a memorable critique
>> > for Pambazuka.org
>> > (http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/65265).
>> > There is no space here to examine Herman & Peterson’s claims in depth; I
>> > have done so in a lengthy piece, "Denying Rwanda," available online
>> > (http://www.genocidetext.net/denying_rwanda.html). Their myth-making is
>> > repudiated far more effectively by the dozens of specialist books, and
>> > the thousands of pages of witness and survivor testimony, that have made
>> > the Rwandan genocide of 1994 the best-known and best-studied instance of
>> > systematic mass murder since the Jewish Holocaust.
>> > Yet for John Pilger, the denialist pap of The Politics of Genocide
>> > constitutes a "brilliant exposé of great power’s lethal industry of
>> > lies." Herman & Peterson, he proclaims without apparent irony, "defend
>> > the right of us all to a truthful historical memory." Diana Johnstone,
>> > Norman Solomon ("a grim classic"), David Barsamian ("a riveting and
>> > penetrating study ... meticulously researched and documented") -- all
>> > these leftist luminaries weigh in with high praise for Herman &
>> > Peterson’s jeremiad.
>> > Most surprisingly and disturbingly, perhaps, Noam Chomsky supplies a
>> > foreword to the book -- declaring it a "powerful" work, and thereby
>> > lending the unequalled authority of his name to Herman & Peterson’s
>> > fabrications. In the 1970s, Chomsky wrote a brief essay defending the
>> > right of Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson to air his views, on classic
>> > Enlightenment grounds of free speech and open debate. The essay was used
>> > by Faurisson’s French publisher -- apparently without Chomsky’s prior
>> > knowledge -- as the foreword to one of the denier’s works. Many of us
>> > supported Chomsky’s defense of the execrable Faurisson’s rights; many of
>> > us consider Chomsky one of the greatest intellectual and moral
>> > influences of our age. We will be hard-pressed, though, to justify his
>> > endorsement of Herman & Peterson’s denialist tract. With a heavy heart,
>> > I will not even try.
>> > As for Pilger, I have called on him, in a personal communication and an
>> > open letter (http://www.genocidetext.net/pilger.htm), to "clarify, on
>> > the record, [his] stance on whether Tutsis were systematically murdered
>> > by agents of 'Hutu Power' and their supporters in Rwanda between April
>> > and July 1994" -- as all responsible authorities agree they were. I have
>> > received no response; apparently a journalist famous for asking hard
>> > questions shrinks when they are directed at him.
>> > What might explain the willingness, indeed eagerness, of so many
>> > prominent leftists to endorse this shocking effacement of the genocide
>> > of hundreds of thousands of defenseless civilians?
>> > In part, the answer seems to lie in a skein of personal friendships and
>> > relationships -- a kind of reflexive "solidarity" -- combined with a
>> > basic ignorance of the core events of the Rwandan genocide and the
>> > forces that implemented it. Chomsky and Herman, of course, co-authored
>> > three major works before Herman’s decline set in during the early 1990s:
>> > his Rwanda denial is merely an extension of his support for the
>> > Milosevic regime in Serbia and its genocidal depredations throughout the
>> > former Yugoslavia (most of which, in Herman's view, likely never
>> > occurred).
>> > Equally significant, perhaps, is the fact that the Tutsi-dominated
>> > regime in Rwanda after 1994 enjoyed the staunch support of the United
>> > States and other great powers. Almost by definition, then -- at least at
>> > this puerile level of "analysis" -- that regime must be the
>> > arch-villain, and the supporters of "Hutu Power" its innocent victims.
>> > Anyone able to twist the facts to fit this framework seems to merit the
>> > enthusiastic support of at least some on the left.
>> > It is a cringeworthy performance -- one that will sully the reputations
>> > and legacies of all involved, as it should. But so far, only a small
>> > handful of progressive voices have publicly confronted and denounced it.
>> > Who else will stand up and be counted?
>> > [Adam Jones, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Political Science at the
>> > University of British Columbia Okanagan in Kelowna, Canada. He is author
>> > of Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction (2nd edition, Routledge 2010)
>> > and author or editor of fifteen other books, including Genocide, War
>> > Crimes & the West: History and Complicity (Zed Books, 2004). This
>> > article may be freely reposted and reprinted.]
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > Debate-list mailing list
>> > Debate-list at fahamu.org
>> > http://lists.fahamu.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/debate-list
>> Yoshie Furuhashi
>> Debate-list mailing list
>> Debate-list at fahamu.org
> Debate-list mailing list
> Debate-list at fahamu.org
Debate-list mailing list
Debate-list at fahamu.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Debate-list