Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Conscious Rasta Rant April 8, 2008 / 6248 - Remembering the Rwanda Genocide

It was in April 1994 that I sat leading an African Study Long Beach class, the subject at hand was population issues, and I remember telling the audience that we should be watching closely affairs that affect Rwanda. At an average fertility of 8.2 childbirths per woman in the early '90s, Rwanda had the highest national fertility in the world. My warning became all the more prophetic within 24 hours when the plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down returning from a peace conference in Tanzania.
Within hours of that assassination, a conflagration began that would last for 100 days. On average 8000 Rwandan children, women, men and elders were hacked, clubbed, shot, burned and blown up every day for 100 days. When one considers the numbers that were similarly killed in Eastern Congo and other surrounding countries as a direct result of the genocide, the number is most likely 1 million.

While the world's press showed graphic images of the horrible slaughter, and a number of well-place voices from within Rwanda told of the horrible affairs wrought by the then-government and their agents of genocide, nonetheless the U.N., U.S., France, Belgium, U.K. and other governments closely involved in the affairs all pulled back and tolerated Blacks killing Blacks at a rate unseen in the world since the height of WWII.

Blacks in the United States did little or nothing to force this government and their darling President Bill Clinton to bring pressure to end the crisis. Clinton would not allow his State Department officials and White House spokeswoman to use the word "genocide" to describe what was taking place. Had the word been officially used, he would have been forced by international treaty to do something.

Today, because all of us did not properly integrate the lessons from the Rwandan genocide, we are similarly witnessing the same process, albeit on a much smaller scale in most instances, in places like Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and Congo. The Congo crisis has resulted in the deaths of over 4 million in the 14 years since Rwanda's crisis.

Until all of us truly sees the value of all of us as Africans; until we stop tolerating the meddling and mayhem that Western powers bring upon our home continent in pursuit of their material exploitation; and until we develop the mechanisms by which our psychological attachments to our own cultures is greater than our wish to assimilate into foreign civilizations -- until these processes turn around and infuse Africans around the world with an undying spirit of fighting for our collective selves, the the lessons of the Rwanda genocide will escape us.

When will we begin to care as much about the lives of African in our homeland as much as we care about the culture and lives of our former enslavers?

Keidi Obi Awadu is the founder of Black Star Media. He is the host of a talk radio show on www.LIBRadio.com and shares his video documentaries on www.LIBtv.com. Contact Keidi at keidi@libradio.net.