Unfortunately my sadness for the death of Kofi Annan is muted. Muted because despite some pundits lauding him with platitudes, I remain disturbed about a number of things.
Number one, his brokering a power sharing deal in Kenya after the post-election violence in 2007-2008. The election was rigged and that was the first of three recent bogus elections. Remember that last year at this time in Kenya, the Supreme Court threw out the election result because of voting irregularities and other heinous crimes being committed.
Secondly, I was very disappointed in his bungling as Secretary General and the UN’s overall mismanagement of the Rwanda Genocide in 1994. That is one thing I can never forgive.
The Rwanda Genocide was more disheartening and maddening since he was African and should have done more and responded better for his brother Africans. Unfortunately, he and the rest of the world were pathetic in their response to the growing genocide and they let me and, more importantly, the Rwandans down.
Don’t take my word for it and don’t cast this off as a rant cuz it ain’t–it’s the truth and if that hurts–you are more heartless than the defanged UN was back then.
As I did, you can actually read about this, and that will take courage–that would mean actually reading something in a book form and it might take away from your precious time on social media. Prove me wrong (for once).
A few books you could indulge in are: Samantha Power’s A Problem from Hell book on it (before she became Obama’s agent at the UN). You could read Gourevitch’s book: We Wish to Inform you That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With our Families or Aidan Hartley’s account in his Zanzibar Chest, and The Graves Are Not Yet Full by Bill Berkeley . The best account of this whole disgraceful genocide is the guy who was there from the beginning of the genocide till just before its end–General Romeo Dallaire–the guy who was in charge of the UN force in Kigali. His book, Shake Hands With The Devil is probably the best.
You could have watched the hokey Hotel Rwanda with actors Nick Nolte (as the whisky drinking character supposed to be Dallaire) and the Rwandanese hotel guy played by Don Cheadle which was filmed in South Africa. Or, you could be a real sport and view either Shake Hands With The Devil produced by Brit Spottiswoode or if you are really brave, you could watch the documentary with the same title which shows the General Dallaire as he travels back to the scene of the horrific crimes in Rwanda. The documentary has actual footage of the atrocities that were committed then spliced into the film just to keep you honest.
But I digress, the real villain in this movie are the ex-colonial powers: UK, France, Belgium, Italy and the UN. The Belgian UN troops should not have been there in the first place. Those former Rwanda colonial masters would only inflame past tensions and hatreds. The French were complicit in the arming and training of the Rwandan Army and the Hutu militias (Interahamwe guys). In the end, those colonial powers acted selfishly only to take their own nationals out of the spiraling genocide.
The UN with the help of Annan and others in the UN also did not act upon the information and updates Dallaire and his staff were sending back to UN HQ in New York. A Hutu Rwandan army guy could see the impending disaster and alerted Dallaire and other UN forces about four possible weapons cache that the Rwandan Army and Hutu militias were going to use to massacre the Tutsi population. This was made easy because the former masters, the Belgians, had required all Rwandan’s to carry around an identity card with their tribal name on it as well, so it was easy to tell who was who.
With this damning information, Dallaire faxed back to UN including the Secretary General Annan, to tell them of the weapons cache and that Dallaire’s UN force wanted to uncover and seize the caches and arrest those responsible. However, Annan and the UN gang turned down that request and task. That was an opportunity missed–a massive one that would decide what would happen next.
I just watched the 2004 docu on Shake Hands with the Devil with Dallaire and wife, plus some of his former UN forces guys who return to the scene of the crime 10 years later. Sadly, in the end, the UN, the Belgians, the French, the US, you name them, had abandoned Rwanda and their roles of sending any troops to assist Dallaire and his meager force of 13 Canadian soldiers and 60 Rwandan civilian police against the better armed Hutu militias. Because of the former’s gutless reaction, Dallaire has had to live with the hell he and his troops endured.
You will see two bespectacled and erudite chaps who comment from time to time in the documentary; the one guy is Dallaire’ s second-in-command, and the guy with more hair is none other than Canadian Stephen Lewis. He should have been the next Sec General after Annan maybe before Annan’s second term, but I think Lewis had ruffled too many political feathers during the HIV/AIDS crisis especially with South African PM, Thabo Mbeki.
The documentary shows footage of some later inquiry that Dallaire further had to endure at the hands of some Belgian senator who blamed Dallaire for the 10 Belgian peacekeepers who were mutilated and hacked to death. How dare he?
If Dallaire and his pathetic under-armed force had tried to intervene in the slaughter of those Belgians, Dallaire and gang would have been slaughtered too.
If I was Dallaire I would have gone up and clocked that irresponsible Belgian senator. How dare that senator–have you no shame sir?
Dallaire was either too Canadian or too PTSD to not call out the swine, but you be the judge and tell me if I am wrong about Annan and his UN cronies.
P.S. Watch the end of the 2004 documentary and see how many “dignitaries” showed up for the Rwanda Genocide memorial in Kigali. Sacrement!