Helen Epstein teaches at Bard and is the author, most recently, of Another Fine Mess: America, Uganda, and the War on Terror. (June 2018)

IN THE REVIEW

A Deathly Hush

Paul Kagame

In Praise of Blood: The Crimes of the Rwandan Patriotic Front

by Judi Rever
The UN’s definition of genocide is not restricted to attempts to eradicate a particular ethnic group. It includes “killings…with the intent to destroy, in whole, or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” (my emphasis). Part One of this article explored the evidence presented in Judi Rever’s In Praise of Blood that before, during, and after the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) killed tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of innocent Hutus. The claim that these killings constituted a “parallel genocide” has long been dismissed by many academics and journalists, including myself, as overstatement, and even as Hutu propaganda. But Rever makes a plausible case for it. Even if these massacres didn’t constitute genocide, it’s worth asking why the fiction has persisted that Kagame’s RPF rescued Rwanda from further genocide when much evidence suggests that it actually helped provoke it by needlessly invading the country in 1990, massacring Hutus, probably shooting down the plane of President Juvénal Habyarimana in 1994, and failing to move swiftly to stop the genocide of the Tutsis.

The Mass Murder We Don’t Talk About

Rwandan president Paul Kagame receiving the Pearl of Africa Medal from Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, Kapchorwa District, Uganda, 2012

In Praise of Blood: The Crimes of the Rwandan Patriotic Front

by Judi Rever
In Uganda, Ethiopia, and a small number of other countries, the Bush and Clinton administrations lavished development and military aid on dictators who in turn funneled weapons to insurgents in Sudan, Rwanda, and Congo. In this way, Washington helped stoke the interlinked disasters that have claimed millions of lives since the late 1980s and still roil much of eastern and central Africa today. The complicity of the US in those disasters has not yet been sufficiently exposed, but Judi Rever’s In Praise of Blood explores how Washington helped obscure the full story of the genocide that devastated Rwanda during the 1990s and cover up the crimes of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which has ruled the country ever since.

NYR DAILY

Congo for the Congolese

A United Nations vehicle burned out in fighting near Beni, eastern Congo, on May 5, 2015

Beneath Congo’s soil lies an estimated $24 trillion in natural resources, but this wealth is also the source of untold suffering. Today, more Congolese are displaced from their homes than Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenis, or Rohingyas, yet their miseries are all but invisible, in part because the identities and aims of Congo’s myriad combatants are mystified by layers of rumor and misinformation, which serve the interests of those who profit from the mayhem. But pieces of the puzzle sometimes emerge.

Who’s Cheating Kenyan Voters?

Opposition candidate Raila Odinga at a rally in Kisumu, Kenya, October 20, 2017

Two weeks ago, Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga pulled out of the election rerun scheduled for October 26, claiming that nothing had been done to remedy the problems that marred the first one, which was nullified September 1. Why isn’t the US doing more to pressure President Uhuru Kenyatta to address the blatant election issues? America may not be as neutral in Kenya’s electoral contest as it claims to be.

Kenya: The Election & the Cover-Up

Kenyans waiting to vote in the presidential election, Gatundu, Kenya August 8, 2017

Another rigged election in Africa is not news. But that US election observers were so quick to endorse it is shocking. Perhaps they believed that wrapping the election up quickly would prevent violence. A far more troubling possibility is that the US wants Kenyatta to remain in power, at the expense of democracy.

NYR CALENDAR