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The War Nerd / January 9, 2009

I just found the perfect job for myself: media consultant for General Laurent Nkunda. Now there’s a job with perks. And General, you need me. I know you need me because I just saw an interview with you in the Huffington Post.  And even though you answered all the questions totally right, General, you just showed how you don’t understand the insane, childish way these people think.

A “cynical” reader might wonder why any western journo bucked the BBC boycoott on interviewing Tutsi or giving their side of the story. Maybe they’re honest? For once? Or brave? No such luck. Just get that idea right out of your head. It’s just an old tribal loyalty, Euro colonizer for native allies, coming out again.

The clue for a serious war nerd is the interviewer’s name, “Georgianne Nienaber.” Remember, being a serious war buff means clawing and scratching for every clue. What we have here is a French first name, Georgianne, with a Dutch-sounding last name, Nienaber. Which tells us this is a Belgian. The Belgians and the Tutsi, Nkunda’s people, go way back. So that’s why she’s sympathetic: not because she’s braver or smarter than the usual rat pack of journalist but because her tribe and his used to be allies.

The problem with the interview is that Nkunda is way too smart and too sane to work effectively with the Western press, even when they’re trying to be sympathetic. That’s the problem for the Tutsi in general: they’re behaving rationally, trying to create a working nation like the European countries did, only now the psycho descendants of those Europeans are fucking Africa up one more time. Last time around, they did it with bayonets and gallows; this time around they’re doing it with pity and niceness. It’s hard to tell which is worse.

See, Nkunda thinks that he’s supposed to answer the actual questions that this Belgian lady asks him. Mistake! If you don’t mind, General, allow me to offer some tips on dealing with these nutcases. Let’s take the first Q&A in the interview as an example:

Question.  Would you say that you have been portrayed in a negative way in Western media?

Nkunda. They cut my voice and they speak on my behalf. Journalists tell what they think will be sensational.

Now General, permit me to offer you, free gratis and for nothing, my advice on what you did wrong and how you should have answered this question.

I mean, technically you did a fine job. You answered the question, even got specific about how the Western media portrays you negatively, with that bit about how “they cut my voice and they speak on my behalf.” Now that’s a very good answer; in fact it’s an old BBC trick, that faked-up voice thing, they used to do the same thing with IRA people, they always do it to people they don’t like. But the average idiot won’t know that. In fact, they don’t even want to know. They don’t want answers, they want boo-hoo-ery. That’s all that counts here. So please, next time don’t waste any time actually answering the question. That’s not how it works. Go directly to the boo-hooing. Just yell, “Victim! We’re the victims! We had to watch two-thirds of the Rwandan Tutsi hacked to death while the West did nothing! You bastards! And then when when our little guerrilla force stomped the way bigger Rwandan Army and liberated our people, all of a sudden the UN came in to take care of the same poor Rwandan ‘refugees” whose clothes were still soaked with the blood of Tutsi children they’d hacked to death!”

Because (a) that’s simple enough for even a Western journalist to get, and (b) it’s the absolute, disgusting truth.

Please, General Nkunda, don’t make the mistake of talking honestly to these people again, like they were grownups. They’re not. Africans are grownups; these people are just big spoiled babies. Cry at them, scare them, make them whimper. That’s all they understand.

Gary Brecher is the author of the War Nerd. Send your comments to brecher@exiledonline.com.

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40 Comments

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  • 1. Mike Rotch  |  January 9th, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Yeah the press misunderstands Nkunda, but I dunno if I’d call him a hero so much as a pawn in a larger, more sinister game. Pretty standard for any major player in the resource rich neocolonial playground that is the Congo. Check these good vids on Nkunda/Congo:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w53EK8m_sPc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpoTt11H8ps
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6Vv7VsgETs

  • 2. el_piett  |  January 9th, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Nienaber doesn’t sound very Belgian or Dutch to me… In fact, I’ve never heard the name here in Belgium. There’s not even a single Nienaber in the Belgian phone register. The name sounds definetly more German. I would presume her roots lie in Austria or Germany… Apart from that: great piece as always…

  • 3. kiwano  |  January 9th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    The pawn thing is a tough call. I mean clearly he’s got a lot going on with Kagame, but it’s hard to say how little or how much power he has in the whole deal.

    As things currently stand, if Kagame has his justice system set up to basically kill on-sight any of the Hutu militants that dare to go traipsing around in Rwanda, then they wind up in the Congo with nothing much to do other than threaten Nkunda’s family. Because Nkunda’s quite happy to fight back, and effectivel annex North Kivu (and its coltan mines) into Rwanda by doing so, and because extrajudicial killings are WAY cheaper than courts, this is a big no-brainer for Kagame.

    If Nkunda started singing a tune more to the effect of “stop dumping these Hutu assholes in my backyard or I’ll turn my war machine on your ass”, things would probably be really different in that little corner of the world. So Nkunda has a little bit of control.

    One of the differences he would create though, would be to trade his family’s access to Rwandan schools, utilities, etc. for access to a Rwandan ditch, complete with flies to hover around their carcasses. That and tribal loyalties really *ahem* limit his options.

  • 4. Warbuff  |  January 10th, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    @el_piett
    doesn’t sound German to me.

  • 5. Tomasz Wegrzanowski  |  January 10th, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    You’re as much in love with Tutsi and Hezzies as Fox News is in love with IDF.

    Hezzies have a few supporters here and there, but you’re probably the only person on the entire Internet who cares about Tutsi, congratulations.

  • 6. shemale  |  January 10th, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Check publicprofiler.org/worldnames/ for Nienaber: 22% Germany, 15% Canada … 3% in Netherlands.
    With a French first name you may think she’s likely to be Canadian. But when you check where in Canada the Nienabers live, you find most of them are in Saskatchewan.
    Do folks in Saskatchewan give French first names to their daughters?
    … Boy, being a serious war nerd sure takes time and patience.

  • 7. tomarse  |  January 10th, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Re ‘Because…’

    (a) Sadly, true enough.
    (b) Still peddling the same bullshit. For a war nerd you seem strangely unconcerned with destroying your integrity by ignoring the overwhelming weight of evidence that contradicts your statements.

    Then again, with your fawning, imbecilic fanbase ready to accept any and everything you write, why wouldn’t you? The trandformation of Gary into Victor Davis Hanson continues apace.

  • 8. five to one  |  January 11th, 2009 at 10:21 am

    i am inclined to agree with #7

    I don’t think there are any good guys in central african wars. I think you even stated that around the time you used to talk about that crazy transvestite army who put on wigs and played football with peoples hacked off heads.

    man that was some fucked up shit…

    good diggin thou. Back then, that is…strange how u let your guard down now and let this guy warm to you. Warlord is warlord and they all play the same game. If anything, you taught us that.

  • 9. bbc  |  January 11th, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    You write:

    “in fact it’s an old BBC trick, that faked-up voice thing, they used to do the same thing with IRA people, they always do it to people they don’t like”

    From Wikipedia on “Censorship in the Republic of Ireland”

    “The United Kingdom operated a similar rule between 1988 and 1994, although British broadcasters subverted this censorship by dubbing Sinn Féin speeches and interviews, with an actor’s voice repeating the speech word-for-word.”

    So don’t blame the Beeb!

  • 10. John  |  January 11th, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Gary, sometimes it’s like you’re letting your fandom for Nkunda guide your judgement.

    I made the same mistake before. I watched three prequels for Star Wars. I even made excuses for them. I lied and stretched the truth and ignored contradiction and fervently held onto a flawed viewpoint, often expressing exasperation at the haters and proclaiming a handful of redeeming qualities in those movies to show how ‘good’ those movies were. I know the feeling.

    But Gary, sometimes a fan has to just let go. No matter what kind of a nerd you are, sometimes you just have to try looking past the way you want things to go, and just see how shitty things turned out. Like Episode III.

  • 11. The Engineer  |  January 12th, 2009 at 12:51 am

    Concerning #7 and #8, you’re kind of missing the point. If we were to use the same yardstick to examine the european wars that we now apply to the Congo Rosevelt, Churchil and all the rest would be considered war criminals. Why? Because they were! They burned cities to cinder for goods sake, but since we think that their enemy was evil we deem it ok to burn cities to cinder if you are them. When reporting on the conflict in Congo this perspective is lacking and everyone behaves like the war appeared out of pure vacuum, totally insulated from history. So to sum up, yes Nkunda is a war criminal, just like George Washington, Churchill, Stalin, Pol Pot and Truman. The problem is that since we haven’t got histories verdict yet we don’t know if he’s a George Washington or a Pol Pot. Probably, neither.

  • 12. Raad  |  January 12th, 2009 at 11:14 am

    @11 This little debate has been going on for a long ass time, over like three articles. What Tom’s main point was is that Gary is ignoring the past or making no mention of it when, you know, both of these tribes are equally fucked. That and the general lip service Gary seems to be giving the tutsis.

  • 13. Shannon  |  January 12th, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    From amazon.com author desc for her book “Gorilla Dreams”: “Georgianne Nienaber has been an investigative environmental writer for more than thirty years and now writes a column for the Rwandan New Times. She lives in rural northern Minnesota. Recent articles have appeared in The United Nations Publication, A Civil Society Observer, AllAfrica.com, and Zimbabwe’s The Daily Mirror. Her fiction exposé of insurance fraud in the horse industry, Horse Sense, will be re-released in early 2006.”
    It doesn’t say whether she’s an American. All the same, I thought her interview with Nkundu was informative, fair and balanced i.e. she didn’t ask him whether he’s still raping women.

  • 14. Georgianne Nienaber  |  January 12th, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    This piece gave me a good laugh when I sorely need one. I am still in region. First of all, I am actually American and of French Canadian ancestry. My maternal relatives were part of the Acadian diaspora, which perhaps accounts for my interest in the displaced. My job, in the real traditions of journalism, has been to report from the ground and not a safe haven in Dakar or Kinshasa as the MSM does.

    I did ask Nkunda about rape and have documents from Hutu officials in the region that support his claim of innocence.

  • 15. tomarse  |  January 13th, 2009 at 3:27 am

    The Engineer, I do consider Churchill to be a war criminal. What’s more, as an antipodean, I consider him to be scum for using ANZACs as cannon fodder to keep his own English troops off the front line. I’m agnostic about Roosevelt, but I certainly consider Truman to be a war criminal.

    Gary has made statements, as fact, which a demonstrably not supported by the evidence. And I mean statements like the Hutus attempted to wipe out the Tutsis. And after the alleged genocide, the Tutsis have bent over backwards to accomodate Hutu ‘genocidaires’. He uses such claims to justify his suport for Nkunda and the Tutsis in general, but has totally ignored a plethora of evidence that contradicts his claims.

    What the truth is of the matter, both empirically and contextually, is not easy to quantify. But it is a simple task to show both Gary’s version and the popular narrative of the Rwanda ‘genocide’ are largely nonsense. And given that it is so widely misunderstood I feel compelled to call Gary out on his propagating of lies and misinformation.

    After all, what’s good for the goose is proper for the gander.

  • 16. CB  |  January 13th, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    five to one:
    When Gary said there were “no good guys” in Africa, he was talking in the sense that you care about, whether or not any given guy like Nkunda is “nice” and doesn’t do things like butcher anyone who stands in his way and their families too.

    The War Nerd doesn’t care about that, that’s just the day-to-day workings of the war-filled world. His version of “good” is more like “is a smart and effective leader who accomplishes things”. He’s obviously a big fan of Ataturk; you don’t think he was a “nice” guy, do you?

    tomarse:
    Ah, well, now I’m enlightened. I totally believe your contextual and empirically obvious version of events.

  • 17. chris  |  January 13th, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    tomarse,

    Gallipoli deaths:

    Total Allies 42,957

    - United Kingdom 21,255
    - France (estimated) 10,000
    - Australia 7,594
    - New Zealand 2,701
    - India 1,358
    - Newfoundland 49

  • 18. tomarse  |  January 14th, 2009 at 12:56 am

    CB, given the sarcastic tone of your statement you obviuosly don’t care about the empirical and contextual truth of what happened. And that’s cool, I don’t expect you to. But then don’t tell me it’s all about two tribes of brutal murdering psychopaths slaughtering each other.

    I don’t give a rats arse if Gary adores a piece of scum like Nkunda. That’s his prerogative. I’m sure he doesn’t give a toss that I consider Nkunda a piece of scum, and nor should he. I’m calling him out because he’s making statements to justify his love for him which are utter bullshit.

    Again, I don’t believe he cares much about that either. But how he can hold his self-proclaimed war nerd head high while ignoring the contradictory evidence….

    Only leads me to one conclusion: Gary Davis Hanson.

  • 19. TheStrawMan  |  January 15th, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Tomarse,

    “Gary has made statements, as fact, which a demonstrably not supported by the evidence. And I mean statements like the Hutus attempted to wipe out the Tutsis.”

    Are you denying that the Hutus attempted to wipe out the Tutsis? On what basis?

    “But it is a simple task to show both Gary’s version and the popular narrative of the Rwanda ‘genocide’ are largely nonsense.”

    Then please do so, please share your information.

  • 20. tomarse  |  January 16th, 2009 at 5:05 am

    TSM, no, I said the statement isn’t supported by the evidence.

    The Rwanda tribunal in Arusha, a blatantly biased and political institution, recently passed judgement in it’s frst military trial. Several senior offices had been indicted on charges including genocide. None, zero, of the genocide charges was upheld. And this is despite the tribunal having made an unsubstantiated ruling, contrary the legal norms, that genocide (in the legal sense) was commited by Hutus against Tutsis. Let me clarify this. The tribunal never put the genocide claims to any judicial test, they just declared that it was a fact.

    So let me reiterate, the claim of a Hutu plan to wipe out the Tutsis is not supported by the evidence. If it was supported by the evidence then why not put it to the test, and why weren’t the defendents in the Military 1 trial found guilty of it?

    Lest you think I doubt that there was a great deal of slaughtering of innocents going on, I believe that the RPA bears the lions share of responsibility for it, by virtue of having carried out the event that triggered the ’100 days’, the murder of the Rwandan and Burundi presidents. I also feel the evidence exists to show that they carried out numerous massacres before, during, and after the ‘genocide’, many of which were blamed on Hutu extermists.

    I’ve posted more details in Gary’s first post about Nkunda from a few weeks back. Please go there.

  • 21. pakk  |  January 16th, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Just to mention that there is a different side to the same story:
    http://radiokatwe.com/matesoyankunda090116.htm
    http://radiokatwe.com/mtotoyankundayukouganfa081217.htm
    http://radiokatwe.com/viyavyankunda081102.htm
    http://radiokatwe.com/rosekabuyemekamatwa081111.htm
    http://radiokatwe.com/paulrusesabagina080409.htm
    http://radiokatwe.com/karegeyamekimbiausa071129.htm
    http://radiokatwe.com/karakekarenzi071012.htm
    I personally would not comment. But what I know is that in Central Africa, lies are a way of life. Words have 0 (zero) value. And I have also met Tutsi who ran away from their RPA/CNDP “protectors”.

  • 22. tomarse  |  January 17th, 2009 at 3:37 am

    pakk, with regard to Tutsis running away from their protectors, you may find this article of interest.

    http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8657

  • 23. pakk  |  January 18th, 2009 at 3:41 am

    2 tomarse:

    Thanks for the link.

    The fact is that the only Tutsis who benefited from Kagame’s rule are the ones who came with him from Uganda. As far as I know, the RPF ideologues were particularly frustrated when the Tutsi they found in Rwanda in 1990 were not quite ready to join their “fight for freedom”. Like in Habyarimana’s Rwanda Tutsi were “2nd class” people, in the RPF Rwandan Tutsi were actually third class people (first came Ugandan/NRA Tutsi, second other Tutsi expats).

    Forceful recruitment and summary executions were commonplace. And it’s true Rwandan Tutsi soldiers were very unhappy that their Ugandan commanders did not allow them to stop the Interahamwe. This can indeed be an indication that the RPF needed as much killing as possible to justify their thrust for power. The RPA had enough manpower and firepower by then (thanks to Museveni), and it can’t be argued that they could allow the force to be distracted from the military objectives. First, there was no high-intensity warfare to require concentration of force and fire. Secondly, this is Africa where people fear The Gun and don’t share the idea that death in combat is honourable. An infantry squad armed with AK-47′s can easily disperse a croud of 300 armed with pangas (machetes).

    The Kagera River bodies are a very important part of the story. They have become a symbol of genocide just like those heaps of skulls shown on the TV. However, there’s no way you can tell whether the skulls and the bodies belong to Tutsi or Hutu. And in fact, after abt 400 years of intermarriage they are not so different in appearence as most Westerners think..

    Indeed, it has emerged many times that the territory where the bodies came from must actually have been under the RPA control. I wonder why this issue has never been investigated. Probably because if found true, it can shake the very foundation of the RPF regime.

    I appreciate Gary’s love for “Prussian Africans”, but I can attest they are not many. One should not confuse Nkunda and his mentor Kagame with Afwerki (or even Mugabe, for that purpose).

  • 24. pakk  |  January 18th, 2009 at 3:46 am

    On my earlier post, plz read:

    “…they could NOT allow the force to be distracted…”

  • 25. PK  |  January 19th, 2009 at 9:53 am

    I was starting to respond to Tomarse’s elaborate theory on what “actually” happened between the Tutsi and the Hutus. I found it truly fascinating how he uses words like “empirical” and “contextual truth” or “contradictory evidence ” to do specifically what Gary’s warns Nkunda about: boo-hoo-ery! He tries to impress the reader, scare him with an avalanche of pseudo facts that ignore other simple, verifiable realities such as the fact that the large majority of the Rwandan soldiers are Hutus, a sizeable number of Army senior officers are Hutus, the Minister or Defence is Hutu, the Prime Minister is Hutu, Rwanda is full of Hutu citizens who are starting to enjoy the slow but real socio-economic progress without being “killed on-sight” by Kagame’s terrifying war-machine! And it works wonderfully as shown by # 7 who probably thinks he finally understands the complex dynamics of the Eastern Congo conflict and states brilliantly “there are no good guys in central African wars”. One more enthusiastic western “expert” ready and impatient to reveal to the world “Blood Diamond-like stories on Congo-Rwanda-Uganda. So I was thinking of patiently reacting to every comment from Tomarse but then,…I read his #19 comment and realized that this guy is nothing but a genuine ideological-political anti-Tutsi activist on a campaign to demonstrate that there was simply no Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda and that the RPA is to blame for whatever happened in 1994 and everything that followed including the CNDP war in Eastern DRC. And of course, Tommarse doesn’t judge it necessary to speak about the key episode when, after the attack on Mugunga Camp that separated innocent Hutus from the Interahamwe and ex-FAR extremists, close to a million Hutu refugees walked back, unhindered, to Rwanda. For Tommarse, it has also been “demonstrated by empirical evidence ” that the Tutsi-RPF shot down Habyarimana’s plane even if to do that they would have had to be some kind supermen who somehow managed to penetrate, with their missiles, several layers of Interahamwe-FAR-Presidential Guard road blocks to get access to the missile shooting spot (at the heart of the most protected area in the city guarded iner alia by the Presidential-Guard and their French “encadreurs” ), and then miraculously disappear when, as it is now known, the whole area was sealed less than 3 min after the shooting. Which international court or independent organ demonstrated this? You are certainly entitled to give your own interpretation of the Great Lakes story whatever motivates it but, please, stop trying to make it sound like anything more than that.

  • 26. tomarse  |  January 20th, 2009 at 1:00 am

    Quoth pk “I read his #19 comment and realized that this guy is nothing but a genuine ideological-political anti-Tutsi activist on a campaign to demonstrate that there was simply no Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda”

    Well, not exactly. But you quite clearly take the polar opposite position to what you attribute to me. So why should anybody deem you credible?

    With regard to the shooting down of the plane, the ICTR instigated an investigation which was knobbled before it could be officially presented, after initially having revealed to the erstwhile chief prosecutor that the evidence indicated that Kagame was behind the shootdown.

    I don’t know why I bothered to point that out to you, because you’re pseudo-psycho babble about me is so far off the mark. And you’ve clearly supped from the same Kagame koolaid cup as Gary.

  • 27. Raad  |  January 20th, 2009 at 1:41 am

    PK, feel free to reply to his every comment. If you choose to do so, go to every Rwanda article that Gary posted(around 3 was it?), you will find more there. I look forward to your side of the story.

  • 28. tomarse  |  January 20th, 2009 at 2:40 am

    Oh, and I meant to say…trying to make it sound like more than just my interpretation?

    What I’ve posted here has been based on a large number of sources including articles and reports by various individuals with extensive experience in the great lakes region and podcast interviews with same. Many of these sources provide extensive footnotes to back up their claims. None of this is ‘my interpretation’. My interpretation is no more relevant than your self-serving and demeaning belittling of me based on your disagreement with my contrary belief of what happened.

    That last bit was my interpretation of you trying to make your interpretation sound like something more than that.

    Impressed?

  • 29. pakk  |  January 20th, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    2 PK:

    As far as I know, Kagame and his guys were indicted by a French court mostly because the French prosecution has succeeded in providing evidence that the two Igla-1 SAMs used in the attack had been supplied to Uganda on an official state contract just prior to the event. All the RPA weaponry came from Uganda, as a matter of fact.

    Apparently, the UN investigation, while never concluded, has not shown it would have been impossible for the RPA to penetrate the vicinity of the airport and launch the missiles at the target.

    There was already a battalion of RPA stationed in Kigali since 1992, by the way.

    It would not be inconceivable that some of Habyarimana’s PG officers were part of the conspiracy. Power and money are great motivators, much better than any tribal sentiment.

    FAR was a joke as it had swollen in numbers 4xfold sine 1990. I’ve also heard quite often that Interahamwe had been thoroughly penetrated by RPF/CMI agents (such as Anastase Gasana and Desire Murenzi) by that time, but, honestly speaking, I can’t make a qualified judgement on this one.

    Concerning the role of Hutus in the RPF government: they even had a Hutu president, Bizimungu, 1994 to 2000, who was forced to step down immediately he showed first signs of independent behavior, labeled a “Hutu extremist” in 2004, sentenced to 15 years same year, and released in 2007. In Rwanda, the government is not controlled by either Tutsi or Hutu. It is controlled by Kagame and his few close associates who followed him in the bush. In this respect, it is similar to Uganda, with one major difference that in Rwanda PREVENTIVE repression (yes, USSR-1937 style) is commonplace.

    Well, honestly, the 1994 story is a bit off-topic. But it is important in one respect. At the moment, there is no violence against the Banyamulenge in the DRC. None of it. But there’s plenty of violence committed by the CNDP who allegedly act on behalf of Banyamulenge/Tutsi. So the question which begs attention is whether Nkunda/Ntaganda are trying to actually PROVOKE mass violence against the Banyamulenge to make sure this gold/diamond/columbite party goes on.

    Whatever goes on here, seems to be much more about power and money than about Hutus or Tutsis..

  • 30. pakk  |  January 20th, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    And concerning “the attack on Mugunga Camp that separated innocent Hutus from the Interahamwe and ex-FAR extremists”. I can understand how someone can be found guilty of criminal beahvior by court verdict, NOT by a way of a military attack. What resources, expertise and authority did the RPA soldiers have to investigate, charge, try, pass verdict and execute?

    Then, about “close to a million Hutu refugees” who “walked back, unhindered, to Rwanda”. Who was there to attest that they “walked back” voluntarily? And if yes, what could’ve happened between 1994 and 1996 that made them change their opinion on the RPF 180 degrees?

    “Refugee camps containing 1.2 million people then broke up and more than 500,000 Rwandans went home. But reconnaissance flights managed to locate only a fraction of the remaining hundreds of thousands.”

    (www.cnn.com/WORLD/9612/06/zaire/index.html)

    Nobody ever bothered to investigate how the “remaining hundreds of thousands” disappeared.

    And by the way, attacking refugee camps is criminal – in a strictly legal sense, – for which one has to be charged and tried. The fact that these guys are now serving as advisors to the Clinton Global Initiative and hosting Bill Gates – while Karadzic rots in the Hague – only serves to show that the the whole international criminal justice system is nothing but a piece of politicized rubbish.

  • 31. PK  |  January 21st, 2009 at 7:33 am

    To Tomarse
    Impressed? Absolutely! And not only by your impressive writing skills… Your selective memory is quite impressive too. You have clearly taken time to study the history and dynamics of the African Great Lakes Region. Well, I have been there too and, while I might not have as much insight as you seem to have on what happens behind the scenes of International Tribunals decision making circles (i.e. the so called knobbed ICTR investigation on the shooting down of Habyarimana’s plane), I know for sure that genuine observers who don’t know half as much as you do about Rwanda, but have the patience and humility to observe and try to understand what actually happened, do not fail to notice a number of key facts.

    Beyond some authentic cases of human right violations by RPA soldiers, that are and should continue to be investigated and punished, those soldiers demonstrated an unbelievable level of restraint that I can not even start to compare to what soldiers of our own western armies would have done in comparable circumstances. As their soldiers fought bigger numbers of murderous FAR soldiers and Interahamwe militias, they found as they were advancing, the bodies of their own parents, sisters, children, etc. but managed not to turn their machine guns against any Hutu passing by.
    Yes, there have clearly been a number of collateral victims of RPA military campaign and yes, there have been cases of Human Right violations. But the numbers are, proportionately, extremely small compared to the civilian victims of the Allies bombing raids in Dresden or the innocent populations killed by US troops in Vietnam or Iraq where our soldiers were not exposed to a fraction of what RPA soldiers faced.
    When and if you have been to Rwanda, did you take a little time to analyze the extremely complex and vicious nature of the battles between the RPA/RDF and the exFAR/Interahamwe in 1994, 1996, 1997 and later on within the DRC?

    With regard to Eastern DRC, recent developments, including the fact that Rwandan troops are today back on the Congolese territory, but this time by invitation from the Congolese Government are quite telling. They explain to those who really want to understand that the existence of the CNDP and the source of its strength is nothing but the consequence of the failure to address one core problem: the presence of armed ‘genocidaires’ in the region. This evil that the International Community and western “experts” have continued to ignore will remain a persistent source of conflict in the region as long as it is not dealt with.

    So, Tomarse, I am truly impressed. As a long time observer of the region myself, I am impressed by the depth of your research on the history and dynamics of the Great Lakes region. But precisely, you clearly know too much about this complex history to pretend ignoring naked truths such as the terrible and painful reality of the genocide against Tutsis. And that is why I can not describe you as anything else that an anti-Tutsi or, at the best, anti-RPF activist.

    I will find some other time to respond to Pakk who triumphally presents the French investigation as the ultimate proof of RPF responsibility in the 7 April incident and conveniently forgets that the attack on Mugunga (See http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,985572-1,00.html if you want to understand how much of a “refugee camp” Mugunga was) came after numerous complaints and warnings to the International Community and as a full scale attack from the reorganized exFAR army and Interahamwe on Rwanda was imminent.

  • 32. pakk  |  January 21st, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    2 PK:

    a) If you had read my post carefully, you would not have got an impression that I’m “triumphantly declaring” the investigation by the French prosecution as “ultimate proof” of anything. It is clear however that the RPF leadership DOES have a case to answer. The fact that instead of answering the charges of murdering 2 French citizens (which are legally, not just politically, enforceable – unlike the ICC charges against Karadzic or El-Bashir) and proving them wrong the RPF is engaging in PSYOPS against the French government, is curious at least.

    Interestingly, by doing what they are doing, the Rwandan government has mirrored the ignorance of the Russian government which the latter demonstrated in its futile attempts to have Zakayev extradited. It’s outright stupid to counter justice with propaganda; the only outcome is infuriating the judge.

    b) Just as there is no “ultimate proof” as to who actually was behind the shooting down of the plane, there is no “ultimate proof” that FAR as an ORGANIZATION was part of the genocide against Tutsis – unless you are willing to trust the RPF 100%, which I am not inclined to do considering that these fellows could even call a person like Bizimungu a “Hutu extremist”.

    By the way, the reason why the Rwandan government hates the pro-RPF “Hotel Rwanda” (oh, yeah, they do!) so much is because the FAR were not shown as ‘genocidaires’, but as “murderers by negligence” at worst.

    c) Mugunga WAS a REFUGEE CAMP. The fact that the ex-Rwanda government and Interhamwe cadres had considerable political influence among the refugees does not change this fact.

    d) You might need to consider the following question: if infiltration of Rwanda in 1990 by a Tutsi insurgent force was not stopped by “the International Community” (whatever that is), even though it could be clearly defined as an aggression on the part of Uganda in terms of the UN Charter, why did a [possible] infiltration by a Hutu force in 1996 have to be prevented through an attack at refugee camps, resulting in hundreds of thousands of Hutu civilians “disappearing”? A difficult question, unless you can label any politically conscious Hutu a “genocidaire”.

    The RPF by that time had already developed its own extremist ideology, that of “countergenocidairianism”, and they were branding any dissident a “genocidaire” just like today they brand them “genocide denialists” or “genocide apologists”.

    Remember also that this “preemptive action” triggered events that resulted in MILLIONS of Congolese deaths – and those Congolese were not Hutu or Tutsi, but Luba, Kongo, Azande, Mangbetu and Lendu to mention just some of the tribes..

    Ask the Congolese whether what the RPF was doing in the DRC constitutes “genocide” – they can only give you one answer. A huge country was raised, pillaged and decimated under the pretext of protecting the 200,000 Tutsi who (if you consider genocide statistics correct) would have remained in Rwanda by that time. The West has for 14 years been so stigmatized by the 1994 genocide, that it has ignored the murderous irrationality of what was going on.

    Lastly, I would not advise arguing in terms of “who started first” becasue we will then only end up with those shields of Tutsi kings decorated with dried Hutu penises..

    e) About “bigger numbers of murderous FAR soldiers and Interahamwe militias” – you would probably need to check the UN and MONUC data on the forces involved in the DRC conflict to see that there has been no serious Hutu force in the DRC, at least from abt 1998, and the fighting took place among very different forces.

    Officially, there are no foreign forces in the DRC at the moment except the UPDF who are conducting their “Operation Thunder Lightning” (if an operation has a stupid, name, it will definitely have a stupid concept! haha). The story of an “army of genocidaires” is plain irrelevant today. It is CNDP which is the aggressor, surpassing even the standards of “preemption” set by Kagame in 1996, and the Congolese who are targeted have nothing to do with either Hutu or Tutsi.

    f) As for the glorified “restraint” of Tutsi soldiers – it would probably be needed to interview the Congolese living in CNDP-controlled area, otherwise I would restrain myself from any judgement. I suspect though, they would not quite share the same view..

  • 33. tomarse  |  January 22nd, 2009 at 1:24 am

    PK, you’re so not getting it. You’re trying to make this about me, sarcastically saying how knowlegable I am while looking askew. But hang on, further in your response it seems you think I may even have been to Rwanda!?!

    I’ve never claimed to be an expert on the Great Lakes. I do know a lot more about the history than your average Joe, but certainly nowhere near as much as you. However, despite your knowledge you seem to ignore important points which are critical to the narrative.

    You’ve never mentioned the RPA invasion of Oct 90, which as pakk points out, could clearly be defined as an aggression on the part of Uganda. These same RPF forces who you praise for their restraint were guilty of the supreme crime of international aggression.

    Why? Why do you ignore this? Why was the invasion not stopped by the, ahem, international community. The same international community who at precisely the same time were getting their titties in a twist about Saddam Husseins invasion of Kuwait.

    Why? That’s a rhetorical question by the way. Though if you choose to try to explain it, I welcome the amusement it’ll provide.

    As much as I despise the RPF/RPA, it’s nothing compared to the disdain I have for western leaders whose manipulation of the situation for their personal and national benefit allowed, nay, caused it to escalate to ‘genocide’.

    I’m perturbed by your persistent dismissal of Kagame’s responsibility for the shootdown, based entirely on putting your fingers in your ears and repeatedly shouting ‘make the bad man go away.’ Still if your integrity isn’t important to you who am I to interfere.

    Finally, ‘at the best…???’ Interesting way to put it… To clarify, I’m not anti-Tutsi. I’m also not anti-RPF, but only because it’s NOT ABOUT ME. If I had any jurisdiction here, I’d be so anti-RPF it’d make your head spin. My jurisdiction is the aforementioned western leaders, of whom I am decidedly anti.

    Now stop being impressed and start answering the charges.

  • 34. pakk  |  January 23rd, 2009 at 10:04 am

    2 PK:

    I admit there IS a small RDF force (a battalion task force, apparently) in the DRC which entered the country on Tuesday, officially to join 2 Congolese battalions in an operation aimed at forceful disarmament of both FDLR and those CNDP elements which might remain loyal to Nkunda after his ‘toppling’ by Ntaganda.

    I was too much concentrated on the events surrounding Ntaganda’s ‘coup’ and the subsequent arrest of Nkunda in Rwanda, and failed to pay attention to this development.

    However that proves my point regarding the “army of genocidaires”. Which kind of “army” is this that you can “forcefully disarm” (not just disperse!) with a force of 3 battalions, of which 2 are unlikely to engage in combat at all?

    One possibility is that there’s really no “disarmament”, and nobody to disarm, at least in the operational area, the whole operation being just a cover-up of a deal made between Kabila and Kagame at Nkunda’s expense.

    The best way you can understand Central African politics is by comparing it to 16th century Europe. Sex, lies.. and again lies..

    Ok, some countries have more sex (Uganda), others more lies (Rwanda) in the ‘cocktail’, but that depends more on the personality of the respective presidents..)

  • 35. thomas morel  |  January 23rd, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Wow Brecher,

    Looks like Nkunda is going to need good lawyers more than PR tips.

    How is it that his Rwandan Tutsi brethren turned against him ? Can you explain that to us ? Silly question. I am quite sure you see clearly through all this fog and that you will explain it all to us.

    I guess that the Rwandans did not entirely share your opinion on Nkunda any more. Ignorant, blind fools these Rwandans.

    I thought that,according to you, Kagame and his peops were the good guys in this story. Does that mean that Nkunda is not the hero you thoug hthe was or that the Rwandan government are now the super-villains ?

    Or maybe is it that things are a little more complex than you think ?

    Could it be that you got a little carried away in your analysis ?

    You know, different shades of grey.

  • 36. jono  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Well, Nkunda is gone and the FDLR is back to rape and displace and torture.
    (link above, but http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0323/p04s01-woaf.html )

    I guess peace will occur when one group is driven to extinction.

    Without doubt the FDLR in the region is a group of genocidal mad-people.

  • 37. pakk  |  March 28th, 2009 at 2:40 am

    “To rape and displace and torture” is an African approach to warfare. Gary Brecher gets this idea very well and calls this “primitive warfare”. FDLR do it, Nkunda does it, FARDC do it. RDF and UPDF also did it on a grande scale when they were in the DRC.

    Russians in Germany in 1945 also did “rape and displace and torture” on a HUGE scale. This was not without a reason. Americans didn’t do it, but there had been no SS Sturmtruppen burning villages in Iowa or Virginia. Just imagine how much one has to hate Germans to actually rape GERMAN WOMEN. They are (unless they have some Hungarian, Yugoslav or Polish blood) so UGLY that for myself, I might not have done it even if I was paid for it. D$?ks don’t take orders, you know..

    Going back to the FDLR. The problem is not the FDLR, their offensive military capability is rudimentary. The problem is that a large part of FARDC, including some in the officer corps, are actually runaway Hutus. And what scares the hell out of Kagame and his pals is that at some point (maybe 10, 20 years from now) they might come back to Rwanda and fight it back for themselves, just like the RPF themselves did in 1990. Therefore the need to brand ‘genocidaires’ even those who were not born in 1994 .

    Check here:

    http://www.redpepper.ug/column.php?AuthorId=1&PHPSESSID=e0fc12bb6b135fa75fabf911d0d6c2f5

    [Of course the 80% figure is outlandish and speculative, and putting a '=' between FDLR and Interhamwe is very questionnable at best, and calling Uganda and Rwanda 'sister countries' will piss many Ugandans off (I won't speculate on Rugyendo's background) - but the problem is captured.]

    The FDLR are in fact INTERESTED in Nkunda’s presence because as long as CNDP are there, the frustration of Pareco, Mayi-Mayi and Hunde in general is directed against Nkunda, not all ‘rwandaphones’ in general. It’s Hunde, not Hutu who are Nkunda’s no.1 enemy, and the conflict is more about land than ethnicity.

  • 38. pakk  |  March 28th, 2009 at 2:53 am

    IMHO, the 1994 Rwanda genocide was just a rehearsal. Why? Because of 2 things:

    1) Rwanda is overpopulated.
    2) Soil NPK balance is negative.

    There are still some 20-25 years till soil depletion in most areas but no-one knows what will happen next.

    I just get sick when I read all these stories about how Internet has spurred Rwanda’s economic growth.

    All for now.

  • 39. meh  |  December 8th, 2009 at 5:41 am

    How emotional, war nerd get a tampoon or something!

  • 40. Rex  |  March 21st, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Nienaber is possibly an American surname made by German migrants

    Nienaber:
    Name Meaning and History
    North German: nickname from Low German nie ‘new’ + nabur ‘neighbour’.


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