- Mark Doyle of the BBC has written a powerful article that revisits the 1994 horrors. Doyle was among a handful of journalists in Rwanda at the time. Its a difficult task to go back to a past you never wish to return to. He interviews the daughter of the former prime minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana (among the first high profile victims of the massacre along with her husband). Her name is Marie-Christine Umuhoza and perhaps due to the pain and anguish, the daughter hasn't uttered a word in the last 20 years. She is now speaking out remarkably to honor the life of a Senegalese peacekeeper Mbaye Diagne. He comments are very brief and one wishes for more. What does the daughter of this giant think of post-genocide Rwanda? However, some appear dissatisfied by the story. On Twitter, Werner De Poorter who was a Belgian paratrooper with the UN peacekeeping mission stated: "And there were many (good) people like him ( Capt. Mbaye Diagne)! That is the shame"
- Jonathan Tepperman of Foreign Affairs conducted an interview with Kagame. It is quite telling although there is little revealed that is new. Kagame portrays himself as a person whose life revolves around the genocide. He blanket denies participating in revenge killings. At the same time, the interview reveals that Kagame can be quite naive. For instance, he seems unaware of how expansive freedom of speech is in the United States. Contrary to his view, as Tepperman reminds him, one can start a party in the US to defend the rights/ interests of black people against the whites. This is one of those moment when I feel the Tepperman should have pushed harder. As US cable by Wikileaks reveal, Rwanda has become a Tutsi state in political terms. Moreover, Kagame picked up arms to rightly fight for the rights of the Tutsi. How could it be then that Kagame is so wary of group interests?
- The Guardian is compiling stories of Rwanda's ""puzzling tale of growth and political repression". There are some astounding figures: the number of tourists has increased six times since 2000, rural to urban migration has skyrocketed, and the GDP has increased by a half since 1995. Other successes are in the dropping of infant mortality and the dramatic increase of women in parliamentary politics. Some of these undoubtedly represent some form of progress. However, some of the statistics such as the representation of women in parliament are extremely hollow and misleading. This is because focusing on elite women in parliament almost all of them belonging to the ruling party obscures the fact that (1) a lot of women (journalists, activists and politicians) are currently in jail for opposing Kagame's government, (2) that Rwanda's regime is run by a military elite that imposes an ethnocentric hegemony and that (3) such an analysis says little about rural women who widowed depend on small scale farming for sustenance. With their partners either dead or in jail, life remains almost unbearable.
- Simon Allison has a great piece on how the shadows of Rwanda loom large. This is in the context of Central African Republic, which is blinking closer to genocide by the day. The not surprising part is that this rhetoric has been going on for months now. Which unfortunately inspires very little optimism. If genocide can happen today what have we learned from Rwanda? Also, important is this piece by David Smith discussing how Rwanda continues to influence policy makers to-date.
- Human rights Watch has a special report on the struggle to attain justice against the genocide perpetrators. They also have a mini-documentary featuring the remarkable Allison Des Forge (RiP), a relentless advocate for Rwanda before and after the genocide.
- Washington Post has a compiled a list of "11 powerful photos from the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide." I believe most of the pictures were taken in what was then known as Zaire. They depict utter hopelessness and will probably haunt your eyes and soul. That said, an important accompaniment to the pictures is Hurbert Sauper's heart-wrenching documentary "Kisangani Diaries" (the narration is in English) or Beatrice Umutesi's book, "Surviving the Slaughter: The Ordeal of a Rwandan Refugee in Zaire". I mention this because what happened in the Congo is a continuation of this Rwandan wound, growing and festering in a foreign land.
I will keep updating the list as more article spring out. In the meantime, feel free to point me to other interesting write-ups.