Its 6am on a Tuesday morning & I am livid. I’m livid & reeling because I am ashamed to say I was alive during the Rwandan Genocide & I did nothing about it. Sadly, I didn’t just learn about this now, or when I watched Hotel Rwanda for the 1st time, or by reading David Belton’s When the Hills Ask for Your Blood: a Personal Story of Rwanda and Genocide or any other related literature, I was 9 years old at the time & living in a country that was literally in the throes of its own civil struggle.
South Africa circa April 1994 was on the same road with Rwanda circa 1994. In fact the NP government had probably been supplying the Hutu government with arms pre-sanctions. But before the conspiracy theorists theorize a conspiracy theorem from the afore-mentioned statement, remember that South Africa was under sanctions around about then, so no we did not supply the pangas/machetes & no that’s not what I was alluding to. That honour belonged to China. Whether they were aware of why such a large number of machetes where being ordered is debatable. But we had both been walking a road rolled on the palms of the hands of foreign forces & where at a point of departure that had 2 direction: Civil war or a new government & new political policies. The difference however was that the hands on the tillers of the National Party led South African government & the ANC lead freedom movement… where not homicidal maniacs & of course, South Africa is a land both rich in natural resources & a pivotal point for the west. In 1969, the Commandant General of the South African Defence Force said that, in the entire ocean expanse from Australia to South America, South Africa was the only fixed point offering modern naval bases, harbours and airfield facilities, a modern developed industry and stable government (debatable). South Africa was also a pivotal partner to the West in the years of the Cold War. If the West ever required martial, maritime or air-force services on the African continent, it would be South Africa that would provide.
So, as much as there where many deaths… many, many deaths in the “liberation” of South Africa from the grip of racial oppression, the whole liberation movement of South Africa can be more compared to the efforts of Rwandan incumbent Paul Kagame & the RPF. Because the crime that happened in Rwanda dwarfs the struggles of The Republic. The Rwandan genocide was a last-ditch effort to win the struggle for power between the Hutu supremacists & the people’s of Rwanda. Except, like the American response to Pearl Harbour circa 1941… the Hutu leadership decided on a dastardly course of action that checked humanity by the door. Truth be told, I was hardly aware of it at the time. Being a kid I had a head full of fantasies & an abundance of personal issues. So the last thing on my mind was the idea that “The News” was anything but true. In fact, at that stage of my life I would have believed anything they said on the news because… well, because it was “The News”. So it kind of make sense to me now why & how the whole world seemed blind to Rwanda’s plight while they championed “The Struggle” against apartheid, considering the US led media blackout on identifying that a genocide was taking place while we ate our dinners. I mean, God forbid anyone but the Ashkenazi Jews get to have the sympathy of the world right? No really… there was a blackout on using the word “genocide” by the US powers that be in media interviews by their representatives.
Now that might seem trivial. But if you think about it, most of the world gets there information via the TV screen or in newspapers & magazines & this was a world pre social media when only a lucky few even knew what a computer was or could do, let alone the internet. And more tellingly, most people got their TV content from Anglo-America. So by denying that there was an extermination of a population being enacted… & by barring or avoiding the use of the word genocide in the media until May or so, one could say that it was Anglo-America that kept the layman oblivious to the evil, evil actions that were being allowed to happen in our post dark ages era. Over 1.000.000 people died in 3 months in the Rwandan Genocide. In excess of 10.000 people per day. TEN THOUSAND PEOPLE PER DAY. Think about it. Neither you nor I will likely meet 10.000 people in our life time. That is staggering… roughly 70 to 80 percent of an entire ethnic group was slaughtered in broad daylight. Imagine a tribe, or village or to put into context, imagine having 80 percent of your whole country killed. Or 80% of everyone you know… An entire people. A civilization. The horror is beyond comprehension. So much so that the door is now open for such atrocities to be explained away. The day Anglo-America launched “the war on terror” & exposed the UN as its vassal & proceeded to invade a foreign nation & kill its people in the name of “democracy” with impunity… was the day we should have realized that our so-called “global community” was more like a prison yard. Now while some peanut brained stupid fools will joke “But ya its Africa, so what civilization?” etc… to you I say fuck you sir. You are the problem. You are the cancer in our civilization. You are the reason it is possible for 1000 people to rule over 6 to 7 billion.
So, while the Inkatha Freedom Party was busy boycotting the elections in South Africa & the Vatican was acknowledging the Holocaust as an actual event that happened for the 1st time, there where at least 7 Rwandans dying every minute between April & June of 1994. And the same people who invaded Iraq because they had a gut feeling that there where WMDs hidden in secret caches, actually decided not to intervene. They pulled out their people, vetoed the bolstering of UNAMIR, even asked for its removal & then covered it up to avoid the same backlash the South African Apartheid system generated amongst the people of the world. It’s sick. Like a social experiment. Probably exactly a social experiment. A wager between the monarchs of Belgium, France, Anglo-America & Germany for sport in court… I say this in jest of course. But the fact is that these nations are (not where, are) complicit. Because they haven’t answered for their actions & inactions amidst the erasing of a part of humanity from our planet & the maiming & betraying & shaming of people who looked up to &/or depended on them. But then again, what boss answers to his employee’s right? What king is a servant of his people? I could start explaining about how the Germans created a rift between the Rwandan people as a form of control by deeming some house niggers & deeming others field niggers & how the Belgians continued to perpetuate this caste system or how France tried to swoop in & claim control via their support of the Hutu forces. But it’s a moot point since Anglo-America where the victors of that wager. Why where they the victors? Because they backed the RPF is why.
Long story short, as with most wars in Africa & the world, the endgame of the political posturing & manipulation was for control. The only problem the Rwandan people had though & the reason they were left to die, was that Rwanda had few natural resources. None that the powers that be needed anyway. The only resource they had, was their country & the only way that could be won or wrestled from the hands of its then puppeteers was to support a faction in a war & instate a government that would be partial or subservient to the whims of their benefactors. This stuff sounds so fantastical that you could probably ask the person next to you about Rwanda & they would not even know where or what that is. But this is the world we live in. Yes, this is the world we live in my friends. A world where the very rights you have as a human being are apparently awarded & not a birth right. Where those who are strong don’t protect the weak but exploit them. Where it is weird to be Christian or to believe in God. We live in a world where profit is the goal of public officials & not service. Maybe it is our fault for adopting a failed idea from a fallen empire as our de facto means of fair governance. This rings true in Africa especially, where the participants in these gravitations towards democracy tend to be the perpetrators & participators of the civil struggles & as a result of this, the people who feel entitled to control the wealth & power of the nations. Games are being played with the lives of our fellow humans & maybe even our very own, but we remain oblivious. By choice.
Now imagine you are standing over an abyss. A large gaping chasm that stretches out into the distance, obscured by a thick mist. As you look down, all you see is darkness. An abyss so deep that the very light of life can only penetrate so far before even it is engulfed in darkness. Imagine how you would feel. Imagine the vertigo, the fear that would engulf you. As if your very essence was being drained. As if it would be all you could do just not to fall in. For if you fall in… you will fall. Do you know how many South Africans feel that way every day? How many people wake up in despair? It’s quite the statistic I’m sure. All one need do is look at the news. And not even the news but the comments section under the news articles online to see what hides behind the veil. We are becoming a rather bitter & unhappy people, which is quite alarming considering we are supposed to be “The Rainbow Nation”. In a twist reminiscent of the famous turn of the Orlando Pirates massive from “Happy People” to the inconsolable wrecks that they became when Kaiser Chiefs swooped in & dethroned them the very next year (Khosi for life), South Africans are crying foul as we realise that there is a lot of red tape surrounding the alleged (yes alleged) pot at the end of our rainbow. Well let us all cry together. Cry. Cry the beloved country. But now, having called everyone (including myself) a damn cry baby, it is now my duty to justify why my crimson paintbrush, already dipped in lies, agendas & blood, paints with such broad strokes. Let us begin.
We all know the story of South Africa. Once upon a time, the streets were covered in smoke as tires & flesh burned while the screams of the beaten, the tortured & the dying, echoed across the dusty expanse of the locations of South Africa & then change scene & kids where laughing & blowing bubbles in suburbia while women gossiped over ice tea & the men cracked jokes over a Lion & a braai.. As if in some dystopian sci-fi movie set in the future (starring stupid, idiot & nincompoop), people were sectioned off according to skin pigment & tribal affiliation. Humanity was sacrificed in the name of providing privilege to a few & the streets where flowing with blood. It was a rather dark & hellish time. In the midst of all this chaos, many chose to fight. Which was not such a bad call considering the stakes included their lives. And with a lot of effort, the liberation movement began to grow. Now here is where it gets interesting… the liberation movement WAS NOT comprised solely of the ANC. It was a national & multiracial movement opposed to the structure of society as it was in South Africa at the time. So in other words, as much as the perpetrators of our dark past where by ethnicity mostly Caucasian of Dutch descent, there were also quite a few trying to oppose it. Now before the Uncle Toms & Uncle Ruckus comparisons start flying around let me explain the point. The point is it was South Africa vs. The Nat’s. Then that song started playing… & Madiba walked out in slow motion, fist in the air & we avoided a genocide of our own.
Now amidst all the excitement, a few no good men claimed power… & we have been living in a society of tenderpreneurs ever since. We have been held over a barrel by the comrades & told we owe them. Forever. Fuck the laws. Fuck what is descent. We owe em & they can proceed to rape our resources & use our blood, sweat & tears as lube. That is the basic message we are receiving & people are pissed. I mean who wouldn’t be? eTolls, Nkandla, lavish parties while people starve & die, luxury holidays while kids sit with no books & a bullshit education system & now, to our shame, the fact that our intelligence network & counter-terrorism/espionage infrastructure is a reflection of the leadership we have & if it wasn’t clear enough, our business is in the street & the world is laughing at us. But the even sadder reality is that they have been for a while. We were the rainbow nation, the one country in Africa where it all worked out & everybody lived. We were supposed to be the beacon of light on the Dark Continent. The bastion of peace. The social experiment that proved that it is okay to let black people rule themselves & they would not kill all the whites or oppress them in return. That was the idea. That was the ideal. But of course, here we sit… The Republic Of South Africa circa 2015, with a government who claims to have liberated the people & has used this claim as a tool to manipulate & deceive the people who looked up to & believed in them into following them without question under penalty of a media trial & skewed justice. They have turned our promise of a free & fair society into a Mafia State, where the politicians have free reign over the resources of the nation & use them for personal gain instead of using their “powers” to strengthen the nation. These so-called civil servants have anointed themselves as the royalty of our nation & placed themselves above the law, forgetting that civil service is meant to be a duty that carries the responsibility of taking care of The Republic. We now live in a country where the government has decided that insulting the intelligence of the nation will be the standard operating procedure & that accountability is for normal men. The norm is now that those who are not connected to the cadre of comrades that are now “the ruling party” are seen as peasants without a say. Regardless of qualification or capability, the criteria in The Mafia State is not what you can do, but who you know (or can do?). It’s a hell of a thing. But as much as I could lay an even longer scathing indictment on the way that the country has been usurped, this blog post was meant to make those who read it aware of one thing… consequence. My indictment is still coming.
Now consequence is the result of action or inaction & as I have gone to lengths to explain, the consequences of oppression are dire. The Tutsis oppressed the Hutus, The Hutus then oppressed the Tutsis & due to the scaring & pressure of another swap in class or fear thereof… the Hutus annihilated the Tutsis. And all of this was made possible because a few monarchs felt fit to play God & felt that they had the right to enslave a people (more like a continent) & that they could… adjust the social structures of foreign countries without consequence. Well what do they say now? Years later as Africa struggles to stand alone because its limbs where broken, its crutches are on loan & its spirit is shattered… what do these mortal gods say to the people living in squalor so they may live in splendour? What do they say to the people starving to death so they may gorge themselves to obesity? How do they justify it all? They don’t. And truthfully… we don’t want them to or need them to anymore. What we need is to be treated as humans. Because that is what we are. And what we want is to be able to live in a free & fair society & to benefit from the advances of our technology same as anyone else. It is now up to us as South Africans to wake up to the facts:
•A government is elected by the people to administrate the resources of the nation on our behalf. Not to rule anyone. It is therefore a governing party, not a ruling party.
•Any democratic administration has to serve a limited term & then let another administration govern to maintain a free & fair society. Once an administration begins manipulating the public to stay in office… it is not a democratic administration anymore.
•A country is made up of the people of the country & it is what the people want & need that is paramount. Any administration that sees itself as the ruling anything is therefore not for the people & as the country belongs to us & NOT THE GOVERNMENT… we can decide whether or not that government can continue. Or to put it simply, we the people are the employer & they the government are the employee. It is us that give the government the mandate & powers to rule & it is therefore us that can & must suspend or repossess this power if our employee, the government, fails to act in the best interests of the people.
•Lastly & to me, most importantly, the deception we have been fed is a lie. Our race is Homo Sapiens… humanity. Regardless of tribe, colour or creed, we are all part of a single race. Same as the blue crayon is no more important or different from the orange crayon, or the Alsatian is no more different or important than the Labrador & the number 5 drill bit is no more different or important than the number 6 drill bit… White/Black/Coloured etc. people are no more different or important than one another. We just come in different size & shapes & like different things & make different choices based on our circumstances. In order to really live in a free & fair society, we can’t allow the decks to be loaded either for or against us. We need to create an equal society. A level playing field. We need to become patriots & see each other as countrymen. We need to look at the man toiling in the dirt with us, who was born in the same country & under the same sky as us, who calls themselves a citizen of the same republic as us… as a brother. We need to foster an environment where our country is our identity & we are willing to defend it from without & from within, because like it or not, eTolls, taxes, political blunders & lack of service delivery affects the Indian family in Chatsworth, the Coloured family in Manenberg, the Afrikaans family in the free state & the black family in Soweto all the same.
It’s about time we wake up & realize, before it’s too late, that we are all South Africans & that this is our home. Because if we don’t act… “The war on terror” will be directed at us & we won’t even know it because or intelligence is intelligence in name only. Our resources will be usurped & our freedoms will be suspended & all of this will be done while our government smiles & waves because their account has been filled & they have been promised that they will rule until Jesus comes back. I’m not for unrest or violence & I don’t want a “revolution”. But what I see & what I hear make me afraid for the future & unless we act to take back South Africa for all of us… black, white, coloured, Indian, Asian & other alike. Then the consequences might be dire. So stand up for what you believe in & let your voices be heard. To quote Nelson Mandela: “If the ANC government does to you what the apartheid government did… then do to the ANC what you did to the apartheid government.” Get it? If your government becomes oppressive, remove it. If it tries to violate your rights, fight it. And if it turns on you, revolt. Look at Egypt to see what I mean. We have come too far to go back. We are a multicultural nation that has the potential to be the model for freedom & equality to the rest of the world. All we need to do is believe in each other & stand together as patriots of The Republic of South Africa… because the road apart is a road littered with corpses & suffering.