I initially came across this proverb in the 1990s, while reading the book titled “Rwanda 1994: Colonialism dies hard” of the Canadian writer Robin Philpot. It depicts a narrative of the Rwandan genocide of 1994 widely different from the official story that the world has been accustomed to.
For almost two decades, everything had been done by interested parties [countries, institutions, business groups, and individuals] to make prevail one school of thoughts about the Rwandan tragedy. And that school has in its narrative portrayed Hutus as the bad guys, – Kigali government calls them ‘genocidaires’, and Tutsis the good guys, seen as the victims.
Such dichotomy has today caused the death of between eight to ten millions of people in the entire Great Lakes region [Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania] over the last twenty five years, and still counting.
Back to the bad and good guys, the real picture is that in both Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups, one will find the two categories of perpetrators and victims. Unfortunately, it is only in recent years that voices across the world started challenging the official narrative, particularly further to humanitarian catastrophes and plundering of mineral resources that the so called ‘Tutsi’ good guys have been persistently causing especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
One of those challenging voices is Patrick Mbeko, a Canadian of Congolese origin. In May of this year he published ‘Canada in the wars in Central,’ which is a well documented recollection of evidence showing clear responsibilities in the humanitarian tragedy that has engulfed the Great Lakes region for so long. He highlights who should effectively take the blame and not the scapegoats.
Patrick Mbeko published recently on his facebook pages some reactions to his book from which I reproduce two here. The ones he selected were apparently those that touched him most.
Ngaboyamahina C’s comment;
“Hello Mr. Mbeko. I read your book and I could not hold back my tears. Mr. Mbeko, chapters 8 and 13 of your book paint the story of my life and hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Hutus. Since 1996, I have never been able to mourn my loss. After the war in Rwanda in 1994, we fled to Zaire [present Democratic Republic of Congo]. Kagame pursued us there. I won’t bother you with my whole story since you appear to describe it so well in your work. Many Rwandan Hutus were killed horribly by Inkotanyi. Mr. Mbeko, I walked from Goma to the Central African Republic with my 3 years old daughter [on my] back. The rest of my family was not as lucky as we were. My wife was killed in Kahindo and my son died of illness. My uncle, his wife and two of their children were killed in camp Amisi. Many members of my wider family were killed in Mbandaka. I cried a lot reading your book. I will not bother you with my story but, my brother, let me say a big thank you for this great book that you gave gifted Africa. Taking the defence of Hutu ‘genocidaires’ [as they are] all considered born so, you came to the defence of all these marginalised Africans. For a long time I wondered why God had abandoned us. My brother, your book has helped me mourn my loss. I know now that God has not abandoned us. It is a son of Africa who took the risk to restore the truth about the true history of the Rwandan tragedy. May God bless you and help you in everything you do. Thank you my brother. “
Anonymous’ comment: [this is from someone who escaped several attempts on his life by Kigali, and did not want to provide more details on his identity; but he was willing to talk about his Calvary too]
“Hi Mbeko, that comment [Ngaboyamahina C.] is talking about myself; I would like to be in contact with that person. I was in Amisi when all that happened and walked all the way to Gabon and later returned to be butchered in Kigali, in a group of more than 500 people only 42 survived, me included. However, I survived because they thought I was dead when they threw a grenade amongst us. When they took us to the mortuary, Red Cross found that I was still alive. They smuggled me out of Rwanda to Uganda. The rest only God knows. Here is my ordeal and itinerary fleeing from Kibumba – Goma – Lac Vert – Sake – Kibasi – Banyanga – Walikale – Amisi – Tingitingi – Lubutu – Kisangani – Ubundu – Ikella – Opala – Mbandaka – Lukolela – Brazzaville – Bilolo – Bafwassende – Ngwo – Jambala – Franceville – Kigali – Uganda – Nairobi. My friend now here I am thanking God [for sparing me]”
I remember the story of these 500 Rwandan refugees who had managed to get to Gabon as if it was yesterday. And this was between 1996 and 1998. Once RPF government in Kigali had been aware of their presence in that country, it had sent an official delegation there to request their forced return to Rwanda. Even if all of them had been ‘genocidaires’ as Kigali claimed at the time [which I seriously doubt], wouldn’t it have been logical to see them tried in front a court for any crime committed?
These were two stories from two Rwandans who fortunately survived Paul Kagame killing machinery. But several other millions of stories [Ugandan, Burundian, Rwandan, and Congolese] will be never told, because their bearers have fallen victims. Patrick Mbeko, as the [African] lion, not the hunter, by becoming the hunt’s storyteller, is resituating some dignity to all those departed African compatriots through his book.
Where to find the book “Canada in the wars in Central Africa”: http://www.amazon.ca/Canada-dans-guerres-Afrique-centrale/dp/2918278084