The Story of Rwandan Genocide — II

(continuing from the previous post)


Black Hawks were down, the legend of invincible American army was smashed, American glory fell into dust, and Americans were kicked out of Somalia. Just one month later, a humanitarian catastrophe was started, remembered by human history as Rwandan Genocide. 19 coffins of American soldiers were followed by tens of thousands of Somali bodies, and tens of thousands of Somali bodies were followed by millions of Rwandan skulls that are crowdedly displayed in memorial museums. This is not an accidental history, but an old “foreordination”. Some scholars believed that only in one situation Rwandan Genocide could be prevented. That is the International Community be united together, putting aside divisions, and determined to defeat all the warlords with free hands, to achieve the success of peacekeeping operation in Somalia. Backed by such a deterrent power, General Dallaire’s 5000 men could possibly achieve something. Otherwise, their advanced weapons would become pokers and peacekeepers were moving targets. This is the lesson we could learn from toppling Saddam, the success of which pressed Gaddafi to give up his WMD project.


History could not be rewritten, and only assumptions could be made afterward. In Rwanda, Americans made a reasonable choice of “doing nothing”. Therefore, none of the one million victims in Rwanda was killed by American soldiers. However, US still had to apologize and wash its “sin” with taxpayers’ money. What if UN had really passed a resolution and US had really sent a troop of 5,000 or even 50,000 men into Rwanda? One year ago, Americans went into Somalia under the request of UN resolutions, only being depicted by public media as invaders for diamonds. The scene of American bodies being dragged on the Somali streets could still amuse many people today, and what more people are concerned about is more Somali civilians were killed by American soldiers. If one year later US had really chosen to “do something” in Rwanda, American soldiers would very likely have to kill some Rwandans with their advanced weapons under the extremely violent circumstance. Otherwise, how could they stop the violence? But no matter if they were real mobs or false civilians, they would be remembered as “the 100 Rwandans killed by American soldiers” permanently. No one would think that American soldiers might have saved one million Rwandans by doing so. If we could have a free choice between “American soldiers killing 100 people” and “Rwandans killing one million people”, most of us who were not extremely anti-American might choose the former. But the problem is that no one could predict one million people would be killed beforehand. Even if some evidences had indicated so, could UN or U.S. initiate any “preemptive” action based on such evidences?


Rwanda in 1994 was pretty similar to Iraq in some aspect. The media such as newspaper and radio stations controlled by extremists not only advocated violence but also inflamed hatreds toward foreigners. When the airplane of Rwandan president was shot down, these media fabricated and exaggerated the “conspiracy of Tutsi”, backed by Westerners, to kill the president. When the Belgium troop in Rwanda followed the order of UN to protect Rwandan Prime Minister, they were depicted as aiding Tutsi’s plan to kill Hutu people. Thus, these Belgium soldiers, being called as invaders by some Rwandans, were brutally murdered. Now it is known that this was the conspiracy of Hutu military force to drive the UN peacekeepers out of Rwanda so that they could freely massacre and drive away Tutsi people to prohibit them from sharing powers in Rwandan government.


(In this paragraph, the author briefly described how the current situation in Iraq was similar to Rwanda and Somalia, how the Sadrists applied the same strategy as Rwandan Hutu military forces, and how the Sunnis in Fallujah replayed the horrible scene in Somalia.)


(In this paragraph, the author continued to describe how American army stood up to the Fallujah Sunni insurgents and drew all kinds of harsh critiques from people around the world, including Muslims, religious leaders, Arabic politicians, and even some pro-US Iraqi leaders.)


(In this paragraph, the author continued his analysis of the situation in Fallujah. The author believed that American army had the legal obligation to maintain the order of Fallujah as the occupational authority, according to international laws. The author argued that although the critiques on American army were largely legitimate, they could cause more innocent Iraqis to be killed or wounded if the American efforts to restore the order were comprised. The author continued his analysis, comparing Iraq with Rwanda and Somalia. The author argued that if US could not sustain the public pressure and be beaten out of Iraq, Iraq would become a hotbed of violence, crimes, and wars that would destabilize the whole Middle East. The last three sentences were translated as below.)

Of course, any brutality and war will have an end, with all possible victims killed and all killers tired, just like Somalia and Rwanda in their temporary peace. If so (Americans were beaten out of Iraq with a vacuum of authority left behind.), a decade later, UN would very likely name a day of “Iraqi Genocide”, and on that day people would criticize Americans as being selfish and cold-blooded. Were the lives of 600 American soldiers more important than the lives of 2 million Middle East people? American president would probably have to fly to Iraq to apologize to the families of victims and make promises of compensations and aids. Certainly, no one could be sure about the future.


After Rwandan Genocide had taken place, those politicians, who always chanted African affairs should be handled by Africans, unanimously pointed their blames to Western nations including United States of America. On the 10th anniversary of Rwandan Genocide, tears were rolling down the face of the incumbent UN Secretary-General Annan. He happened to be the deputy Secretary-General of UN in charge of peacekeeping during the Rwandan Genocide, and the order of “no military intervention” happened to come from him. As an African, he should shed his tears. But what could be changed by his tears?


(In this paragraph, the author briefly discussed the humanitarian disasters in former Yugoslavia, which happened immediately after Rwandan Genocide. The author mentioned that US was reluctant to get involved in this mess due to the terrible memory of Somalia. But many Muslim people and organizations raised banners in front of the White House, accusing US of conniving at massacres, even calling Clinton “the accomplice of killers”. When United States finally decided to jump in, there were already 200 thousands of people killed. Later in Kosovo, again, when NATO, bypassing UN, bombed the Serbian troops out of Kosovo, the genocide, defined by Annan, had come true.)


(In this paragraph, the author briefly described the “achievement” of NATO’s air campaign in Balkan region. The last sentence is translated below.)

Undoubtedly, the 2000 plus lives (About 500 were Serbian official military men. Others were militiamen, policemen, and innocent civilians.) lost under NATO’s missiles were invaluable. But we have to see that the blood of more than 200 thousands of civilians, who perished in the ethnical cleansing, were warm too. We should also see that NATO’s missiles had put out the fire on the famous “Balkan Powder Keg” and maintained the peace and stability of Europe.


On the “Anti-Ethnical-Cleansing” International Conference this year, many international leaders expressed their determinations to prohibit any replay of these tragedies, releasing 5 proposals such as: to stop the disaster at its early stage, to intervene the “nationalist” media that spread hatred and advocate violence, to cut off outside support, to impose embargo of weapons, and to have necessary military interventions.


However, it is easier to say and harder to do it. First, the members of UN Security Council all have their own national interests. They could sit down to discuss some philosophical issues. But it would be very difficult for them to reach any consensus once it took their money and real efforts. If in 1994 Rwandan peacekeeping had required 10 billion US dollars and 5,000 soldiers and Britain, France, and US could only provide 7.5 billion dollars and 3,000 soldiers, would China and Russia provide another 2.5 billion dollars and extra 2,000 soldiers? Besides, intelligence is just intelligence. Although there were always intelligence pointing to North Korean nuclear facilities, who could ensure North Korean nuclear program would not turn out to be the waterloo as Iraqi WMD? If it were not Gaddafi’s willful cooperation, how could Libyan WMD program be unveiled in front of the world? Even if there is certain intelligence indicating the occurrence of genocide in a nation or region, can anyone initiate a “preemptive” action based on such intelligence? Before anything happens, the best intelligence only reveals a possibility, like in the cases of 911 terrorists’ attacking and Saddam’s WMD program. Even if the genocide has taken place, there will be problems about its definition and severity. Like in the cases of Rwanda and former Yugoslavia, inside UN there were always debates over “whether any genocide has really happened”.


Under the leadership of UN, most nations support peacekeeping intervention troops’ policy of “using violence to stop violence”. But how to implement this policy is another focus of questioning. When Rwandan genocide was started, there had already thousands of UN peacekeepers stationed over there. But according to UN resolutions, the deputy Secretary-General Annan who was in charge of peacekeeping at that time, could only give General Dallaire an order emphasizing on “trying all possible means to avoid military actions”. In a discussion panel of special report on Rwandan Genocide on Chinese Central TV (CCTV), Dr. Zhang from the Western Africa Institute of Chinese Social Science Academy said: “It was just because they (American soldiers) followed the rules of engagement very strictly in the operations in Somalia that they could not shoot at people with weapons when not shot at first. Therefore, tied by these rules you could not protect those Rwandans crying for help. Since you could not fire first, how could you stop those killers with rifles and machetes in hands?” In fact, it is the same situation in the former Yugoslavia. In the peaceful time, Serbian troops were quite friendly and polite to peacekeepers. Once they deemed it was necessary, they would shoot at peacekeepers as moving targets.


The current public opinions and international legal frameworks put any foreign military force at a natural low ground of morality. Any tiny mistake of foreign troops could be charged as “publicly breaking international laws”. More because of the cultural and religious differences, even without any mistake, a seemingly defiant pose or a possibly disrespectful expression in one’s eyes could be exaggerated by public media or exploited to incite hatreds. Those fighters against peacekeepers not only stood on the high ground of morality “to resist foreign invasion and occupation”, but also controlled the initiative of battle field, because they could decide when to fight and how to fight. Due to fear of and alert to military powers, international community put particular attentions and restraints on the stronger side. But the balance of power, obtained by tying the hands and zipping the mouth of the stronger side, actually unleashed the weaker side to do whatever they wanted, objectively causing more civilian casualties. This is what we saw in Iraq. Iraqi women and children, out of their curiosity, stood around to watch American soldiers, angry young Iraqis occasionally threw some rocks at Americans, and militiamen hiding behind civilians sniped at American soldiers mercilessly. Moring News (a Chinese newspaper) published an article several days ago, titled as “Not So Scary American Army”. How such a “Not So Scary” army could fulfill their obligations, punish thugs, restore orders, and protect civilians?


What is UN? By now, UN is not an upper level organization controlling over all nations. It is just one of many international organizations, whose legitimacy comes from the endorsements of member nations. Her current authority comes from the powers and wills of several powerful nations. A decade having elapsed, the horrible bones and skulls displayed crowdedly in the Rwandan Genocide memorial museum haven’t yet stopped any ongoing or potential anti-human behavior. International community should have a strong intervention force which should not be supported only by few powerful nations like US. If almighty US let it go, is UN capable of carrying on the burden? If she is, Saddam could not have played the “catch me if you can” game for 12 years with UN, and the second Iraqi war would not take place.


On the memorial conference for ethnical-cleansing, Annan warned the international community: Sudan was the most possible next nation where ethnical-cleansing could occur. Sudan is the nation who worked hard with Uganda and Sierra Leone to kick US out of the UN human rights committee. Sudan is also the important ally and business partner of our nation (China) in Africa. Sudan is also the major receiver of our economic and military aids. I wish Annan’s warning would not come true.

(the end)

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