Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dambisa Moyo part of Kigali's Public Relations?

Yesterday Dambisa Moyo the writer of "Dead Aid" was in Rwanda to talk about how to develop long-term sustainable growth independent of foreign aid.

Off course, this was no accident. Paul Kagame is using Dambisa Moyo in his public relations strategy. Didn't several countries, like the Netherlands, cut budgetsupport to Rwanda two months ago, because of the Rwandan involvement in Congo?

In her diary she off course does not mention this obvious angle to the story, which does not surprise me.

Dambisa Moyo is by some considered the anti-Bono because of her objection to foreign aid. She is talking alot about microfinance, which is a very popular subject today in development circles. We should all be cautious in thinking microfinance to be the final solution. Myself I find much more appealing the approach by Shanda Tonme in his article against Bono "All Rock, No Action".

Voting in 27 EU states in june

The European Parliamentary elections are up in june. Those who don't reside in their home state can also vote. I am especially interested in this group of voters and if and how political parties in the different memberstates are dealing with migrating workers within the EU. This subject is of special interest because those migrating workers are at the forefront of the EU-project.

I haven't found exact numbers of migrating workers from other EU-countries that live and work in the Netherlands, it could be around 1 million people. Normally the European elections are not very popular among most voters. But this could change if people start to understand the reality of the EU-project. Especially migrating EU workers are confronted with this reality. The question political parties should try to have a coherent answer to is the notion of EU-citizenship.

A study has been done by Dita Vogel, sponsored by EU called "POLITIS" on the importance of migrants for democratic development within the EU memberstates:

Dr.Vogel believes that the results of the project will help to raise awareness of the importance of bringing immigrants onboard in civic and political society. To facilitate this process further, the POLITIS project consortium has set up a training course called 'WinAct' to help officials from trade unions and political parties recruit immigrants as active members. Often these organisations do not know how to approach immigrants adequately and how to motivate them for long-term membership and collaboration.


I understand from the website that Mustapha Laboui, projectmanager for ethnic minorities of the dutch tradeunion FNV was the only representative of a dutch organisation involved in Winact. A report on his efforts related to this issue called "innovative trade union strategies" can be found on the FNV website.

The international migration institute at the University of Oxford dedicates a research project to the subject of migration and democratic development.

It's also interesting to see how visible the campaign for the ratification of the UN convention on Migrant worker and their families will become in this upcoming election.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Voorkeursactie Lachman van CU site verwijderd


Volg deze link en constateer dat kennelijk het bericht over Wilfred Lachman kort na plaatsing verwijderd is. Kennelijk mag onderstaande bericht van de partijleiding niet op de website van de ChristenUnie blijven staan.

"De Surinamer Wilfred Lachman staat op de kandidatenlijst van de ChristenUnie voor het Europees Parlement. Op de zevende plek is hij in principe onverkiesbaar, maar hij voert campagne onder de Surinaamse gemeenschap in Nederland om genoeg voorkeurstemmen te krijgen voor een zetel.

'Surinamers laat uw stem horen. Ga stemmen voor het Europees Parlement! Lijst Christen Unie, plek 7'. Een email met deze strekking wordt aan zoveel mogelijk Surinamers in Nederland gestuurd. Fred Lachman, zoals hij kortweg genoemd wordt, vertelt dat hij via het Antilliaanse Tweede Kamerlid Cynthia Ortega gevraagd is als kandidaat. Ze kennen elkaar vanuit de kerk en Lachman is ook op de Antillen geboren.

De reacties op zijn kandidatuur zijn positief. Hij is meteen begonnen met het 'activeren' van zijn achterban door zijn netwerk te mailen. "Tot nu toe krijg ik alleen maar positieve reacties." Ze hebben vertrouwen in hem als parlementslid."

Mijn schatting is dat Lachman zo'n 45.000 à 50.000 voorkeursstemmen nodig heeft, omdat Bas Belder die als tweede op de gecombineerde lijst prijkt, volgens mij ongeveer dat aantal stemmen heeft gehaald in voorgaande verkiezingen.

Interessant detail is dat een flink aantal jaren geleden een motie is ingediend (door o.a.Cynthia Ortega) en aangenomen op het ledencongres van de ChristenUnie die de partijgeledingen vroeg om bij de eerste zeven kandidaten van elke kandidatenlijst tenminste één migrant te laten voorkomen. Er is sindsdien door het partijbestuur geen enkel initiatief genomen om aan die motie concreet invulling te geven. Je kunt daarom gerust zeggen dat die motie al lang in de onderste la verdwenen is.

Gezinsbeleid
Daarover doet Lachman de volgende interessante uitspraak:
Het gezinsbeleid is voor de ChristenUnie belangrijk en daarop wil hij voortborduren: "Ik maak een opstap naar het integratiebeleid en het asielbeleid." Zo vindt Lachman dat het vrije personenverkeer binnen Europa nog te wensen overlaat.
Als dit betekent wat ik denk dat het betekent dan heeft Lachman een sterke verkiezingsthema te pakken.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Citizenship of the EU and Sietse Fritsma

Recently Sietse Fritsma, member of Geert Wilders party PVV, said this in a debate about the so-called "belgium route": It is terrible that Maroccans that come into the EU through other memberstates don't even have to "integrate", the minister of immigration Albayrak should intervene."

Sietse Fritsma has worked for the IND and should know that he is totally out of line with the jurisprudence of the European court in Luxembourg. In other words he and his fellow buddies in dutch parliament should read the documents that are available on the website of the European court.

The socalled "belgium route" is not some accident of EU law. It would be an infringement on the fundamental rights of every European citizen if a citizen of any member state upon returning to his homestate would not have exactedly the same rights in his home state as if he would have gone to any other state in the EU. In other words, the EU court in Luxembourg presupposes that a memberstate respects ECRM article 8. Anything less then that is out of line with the treaty.Spreading disinformation on the interpretation of the European treaty does not help anyone. This issue is not about Maroccans, but about the fundamental rights of every European citizen.

Listen carefully to Abel Maldonado's vote

The Republican from Santa Maria, who rose from City Council to the Legislature, has gained recognition after joining Democrats to pass California's budget. Apparently he didn't feel the need to stay in line with the Republican party on this issue. Probably he felt he didn't owe the party anything. A party which still has to come to terms with the issue of immigration. As Jim Nicholson wrote in recent weeks. The party should "Rethink immigration". The election of a colored American as RNC Chair, Michael Steel, was off course inevitable in the current context.

It is however not enough. Rethinking immigration is more, it is the clear determination to include minorities in the party leadership. The vote of Abel Maldonado shows us that this process probably hasn't even started.

As in Europe, it is extremely unhealthy when one party is considered the party that is naturally entitled to the immigrant vote. Just as in Europe, while on the one hand most progressive and leftist parties are taking the immigrant vote for granted, on the other hand conservative and liberal (in the European sense) parties are focusing on Judeo-christian culture and values, closed borders and the low education levels of new immigrants.

Abel Maldonado shows us that all those answers are not sufficient in Rethinking immigration. It is not sufficient to take the immigrant vote for granted, it is not sufficient to focus on judeo-christian culture and the level of education and the cultural differences. Abel Maldonado has taught Republicans a valuable lesson: Take Latino's seriously as citizens.

I have been disappointed about the fact that this important issue has gained so little attention. The articles focus mostly on Abel Maldonado making a name for himself. I don't think that is correct. Abel Maldonado's vote is a very strong warning sign for the Republican leadership. Rethinking Immigration is not the hobby of some idealist dreamers, it is the "make or break" issue facing the Republican party and Abel Maldonado has officially given the start signal of this crucial debate.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Plane crash Amsterdam

A lot of talk on the net through twitter, even on CNN and other media the focus is largely on the use of twitter for spreading the news. First time I notice this. Apparently media are determined to make twitter a success, or is twitter really a succes? Or am I just not following the news enough? I noticed twitter was used during the riots at the RNC last year. During the huricanes twitter use wasn't really very important. It seems today that the media are picking up twitter in a fast pace. Reminds me of the use of Ushahidi by Al Jazeera, crowdsourding in crisis areas, during the Israeli attack on Gaza.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Avant De Nous Dire Adieu

Is Islam bad for the economy?

Recently the director of the scientific institute of the ChristenUnie Gert-Jan Segers wrote a short introduction to a congres on the Islam which the party is organizing the 4th of april.

In this introduction he gives his answer to the above question. He considers culture a crucial factor in the development of the economy of a country. One of the aspects of Egypts culture in his view is the fatalistic worldview of Egyptian muslims which has in his view a bad influence on the economy.On the other hand he considers, in line with Max Weber's famous analysis, protestantism to have a positive influence on the economy.

he continues by stating that Islam contributed once to an impressive civilisation and economy of international commcerce. In his view muslims in North-West Europe therefore have two options: either to Islamize Europe, or to Europize Islam (forgive my english). He thinks the last option should be more appealing.

This line of thinking is very common among dutch politicians today. The consensus seems to be that migrants should not impact dutch culture and if dutch culture is influenced by migrants this is qualified in a negative way, that is nothing new. It's the view Jan Peter Balkenende used to win several elections when focusing on the European Judeo-christian culture.

I am concerned with the fact that those who claim this are mostly from Christian parties that have a long, mostly antirevolutionary, tradition of thought. And I haven't found this idea of the superior Judeo-christian culture at the core of the Christian political thinking of Abraham Kuyper at all. The question of society to which Abraham Kuyper gave an answer in his time was "the social question". This defning issue and the answer to it from an antirevolutionary point of view is expalined thorougly in his speech "Maranatha". I wish everyone that is participating in the debate on Islam and dutch politics would read it. Because when we consider it in it's context it will also lead us the way in answering important questions of today.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Leopold Munyakazi being harrassed by US officials

Apparently after having arrested and released Leopold Munyakazi last month US immigration officials continue to call and visit Dr. Leopold Munyakazi. They stole his work permit, stole the paper that says he can stay in the US until a final decision in his asylum case. According to blackstarnews , they even asked him if he is giving interviews. Interesting. Reminds me so much of the way the dutch immigration service works. They think they are above the law.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dutch immigration service in violation of ECRM 8

Finally the highest dutch court has asked prejudicial questions in a case against the dutch immigration service. If you follow the activities in court of the IND and the tribunals you will see that the main objective of the dutch ministery of justice is not the wellbeing of dutch citizens and their family members, nor respect for ECRM article 8, but to keep immigrants out.

On the immigrationservice website we read the following
:

"In October 2007 the District Court of Zutphen decided that the IND was right in refusing the application for a provisional residence permit for a Moroccan woman who wants to live with her husband in the Netherlands. The husband did not meet the income requirement for family formation of 120% of the minimum wage. The woman appealed against this decision with the Administrative Law Division of the Council of State. She maintains that Dutch policy conflicts with European Family Reunification Directive.

On 23 December 2008 the Administrative Law Division of the Council of State referred to the Court of Justice of the European Communities for a ruling on the questions whether the 120% requirement and the distinction made in Dutch legislation between family reunification and family formation conflict with the European Family Reunification Directive (Directive 2003/86/EC).

Pending the decision of the European Court of Justice, current policy remains unchanged and the income requirement for family formation of 120% of the minimum wage remains effective.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stimulus Pack: Nuclear Disposable Utah


Margene Bullcreek led the Skull Valley Goshute's 10-year
battle to keep Private "Fuel" Storage from dumping 44,000 tons
of nuclear waste on their reservation in the southeast corner
of Utah. Now Energy Solutions, Inc. wants to pay the whole State
of Utah to become a multinational nuke waste dump site.

by Ann Garrison



Since 2006, Energy Solutions, global leader in the nuke waste storage biz', has paid to brand its name on Salt Lake City's Sports Arena, (left), home of Salt Lake's NBA pro basketball team, the Salt Lake City Jazz. Ailing Delta Airlines had branded the arena for the previous 15 years, but could no longer pay for the privilege. Energy Solutions' business continued to grow, however; book-to-bill orders for nuke waste disposal just kept piling up.



In stealth negotiations, the corporation promised a full fifty percent of revenues.

Heal Utah's John Ungo says: "When we first learned about the deal, brokered in secret between EnergySolutions and Utah legislators, we were caught speechless."

Utah's Republican Governor Jon Huntsman says: “Our position is abundantly clear. Let's just say that the price the state pays for being a dumping ground lasts forever. The recession will not."


Utah's Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson says: "I am outraged that Utah legislators would even consider allowing our state to become the universal dumping ground for the world's nuclear garbage and I know most Utahns share my anger."

However, this is hardly the first time a corporation, or several, have tried to make the State of Utah nuclear disposable.

Margene Bullcreek of the Skull Valley Goshute Tribe led a 10-year defense of her tribal homeland against Private "Fuel" Storage, a nuclear conglomerate of eight nuclear power corporations including Excelon, Entergy, and Southern California Edison, which wanted to dump 44,000 tons of nuclear waste on 800+ acres of their reservation. The Western Goshute finally won an Interior Department precedent setter, in September, 2006.

Then the Skull Valley Goshute went solar, with Southwest sun, and Margene Bullcreek's electricity meter began spinning backwards:



Nuclear Weapons Waste

Nuclear weapons manufacturers, and the U.S. Departments of Defense and Energy, subjected Utahns to more radiation exposure from aboveground nuclear bomb tests in Nevada's northeastern corner than the citizens of any other state; they had the misfortune to be upwind of the Nevada Nuclear Test Site in Nevada's northeastern corner, as our federal government prepared to defend us against nuclear weapons attack by a foreign power.

Then, in 2006, the U.S. threatened to stir up the radioactive dust at the Nevada Nuclear Test all over again, into the wind blowing through Utah, in a test of the 700-ton nitrate-and-fuel- oil monster bomb: Divine Strake.

Near the eve of the scheduled Divine Strake explosion, the (anti-) Divine Strake Coalition of 50 organizations met---where else?---in Salt Lake City's Energy Solutions Sports Arena, home of the Salt Lake City Jazz.

Nevertheless, the (anti-) Divine Strike Coalition, stopped Divine Strake, after Salt Lake City newscasters flew to Washington with the paper copies of so much e-mail that it had disrupted Congressional computers to the point of dysfunction.

Here's hoping that Utah itself cannot be bought like the home court of their b-ball team, the Salt Lake City Jazz, which is, let's face it: a big corporation, like all professional ball teams.

For updates, see/subscribe to HEAL Utah.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Corporate responsability and economics


At The 2008 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity® a survey of the statistic relating to diversity in those companies was presented. In his speech for chief diversity officers of large US companies in the US DiversityInc Partner and Cofounder Luke Visconti gives his interpretation of Martin Luther King's famous line "the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice" . He applies this rule to the Tibetan protests during the Olympic games which made the companies that sponsored these games nervous. It's an interesting idea because it underlines the importance of promoting diversity in the workplace and the fact that all companies are competing globaly. This idea is especially interesting in the current context of the economic crisis, which seems to deepen. Also in the Netherlands today the statistics show a very sharp downturn.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Two nuclear subs collide in the Atlantic

I just read this story on a Dutch site and on Fox. An English and a French nuclear submarine carrying nuclear weapons collided in the Atlantic earlier this month. Must be pretty busy traffic down there. Wow, guys, congratulations. Probably both captains wanted to stay in "octopuses garden" together, must have been hard to come back up.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Alison Des Forges dies in crash

Alison Des Forges, expert on the Rwandan massacres of 1994, was among the passengers aboard the commuter aircraft that crashed into a house in a Buffalo suburb late Thursday. Recently she was quoted critisizing NBC in the case of Leopold Munuyakazi. She had become increasingly critical of the current regime in Kigali, for which they refused her entry last year.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The elevator pitch and Geert Wilders

I learned at some bussiness course in the US last year of the elevator pitch. It's the two minutes you have together in an elevator to convince an investor that your idea is worth investing in. It has to be succinct, easy to understand, greed inducing and irrefutable.

The same day with some fellow Dutch students I was in an elevator when one American student gave us the allmost perfect example. His short intervention met at least three of the above criteria.

He asked: you guys are dutch right? You know Wilders (noticed how wild that sounds in English).We nodded yes and there came his "value proposition": "He is an asshole". This funny episode in the elevator came to my mind when I followed the knews of Wilders flying back and forth between Amsterdam and the UK this afternoon because the Brittish government wouldn't let him in. I am affraid he needed a good elevator pitch in the UK too.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Obama's internetmarketing intrigues Europe


Satyam Dorville, a french online marketing and strategy consultant writes in his blogpost "La stratégie Internet d’Obama" about the study that people are making of the Obama strategy during the Presidential elections in the US. Satyam Dorville considers two axes on which the campaign was built: crowdsourding the tasks of recruting gifts and recruting volonteers, second axe was the multicultural and vertical which adapted the message to the different niches.

At the same time Cem Basman, a seasoned internet entrepreneur and webactivist, writes on his popular blog "sprechblase" about the upcoming Politcamp09 in Berlin. This will be an exchange between internet experts, scientists, politicians and internet users on theory and pracice relating to politics and the internet.

Cem Basman expects a lot from this conference and considers it the most importan Barcamp in Germany of the year. He also expects it to have a strong impact on the next parliamentary elections in september.

He thinks that the politicians and parties in Germany are on the one hand fascinated with Obama's campaign. On the other hand they lack the courage to understand the worldwideweb as a chance. He hopes the politcamp09 will change that.

The approach Satyam choses to understand "the phenomenon" seems to me for now the most fruitfull. It's to step back and forget about the political side of the Obama campaign and focus on the principles behind it that seems to me the best way to be able to reuse this for other or even similar ends. If you understand french you can listen to the boss of Havas Digital giving his view on "it" at Satyam Dorville's site. Last week Igor Beuker and Paul van Veenendaal, both authors at Viralblog, were invited to speak at the SRM Guru meeting in Amsterdam to present the case study of Barack Obama’s brilliant brand interaction and great consumer connectivity program in front of 150 internetmarketeers. The main question was what brands can learn from Barack Obama? As you can see, Obama's internetmarketing is still the talk of the town in Europe.

Art Deco Montreal


From May 24-30 the 10th World Congress on Art Deco will be held in Montreal, see their website for further information. The events are organized by the Art Deco Society in Miami.It was organized in Johannesburg in 2003, I visited Johannesburg a long time ago, but had missed the 44 MAIN STREET, headquarters of the Anglo American Corporation of Sir Ernest Oppenheimer. This company was the largest mining and financial group in Southern Africa. Most of you probably won't go to the World Congress of ArtDeco in Montreal, but I found the flickr page of Montreal Art Deco, just click here to visit Montreal's Art Deco online.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Gerard Prunier spreading horse manure?

The debate on what really has been going on in the Great Lakes region over the last two decades is starting to heat up to a boiling point, Tom Odom, a self-proclaimed expert on the Rwandan genocide, recently accused Gerard Prunier of "spreading horse manure".

In the abstract of the book "Africa's World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe" by Gerard Prunier we read:
"The Rwandan genocide sparked a horrific bloodbath that swept across sub-Saharan Africa, ultimately leading to the deaths of some four million people. In this extraordinary history of the recent wars in Central Africa, Gerard Prunier offers a gripping account of how one grisly episode laid the groundwork for a sweeping and disastrous upheaval.

Prunier vividly describes the grisly aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, when some two million refugees--a third of Rwanda's population--fled to exile in Zaire in 1996. The new Rwandan regime then crossed into Zaire and attacked the refugees, slaughtering upwards of 400,000 people."


January 5th 2009 Tom Odom wrote a bookreview on Amazon:
"Gerard Prunier's latest book, Africa's World War, is a tale of dark conspiracy woven with incompetence. Reading it made me wonder if there was indeed a fictional Congo with an eastern neighbor, Rwanda, out there. Prunier's writings suggest there has to be a parallel universe. Certainly there are elements of recognizable truth involved in Prunier's tale if you have the regional expertise to recognize them. Without a firm grounding in the region, however, one risks swallowing great amounts of horse manure.

To be more direct, let me just say that as a participant in some of the events described in this book, I found numerous errors of fact, doubtful analysis, and dubious sourcing, I am disappointed to say the least because I looked forward to reading the book as a follow on to Prunier's earlier works on the Rwandan tragedy. In contrast to those efforts, this book is neither good history nor good journalism. Good history relies on analysis of facts, personal accounts, public documents, and at least makes a stab at balanced analysis. Journalism implies writing without an agenda. Prunier sets the tone for this work by his dedication to Seth Sendashonga, the exiled former Interior Minister who was assassinated in Nairobi in 1998. Sendashonga, Hutu member of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), fled Rwanda after a falling out with then Vice President Paul Kagame. In exile, Sendashonga pandered a story of RPF killings that challenged credibility. Prunier dedicates his book to him; if you bother to read the sole appendix to the book about Seth's assassination. On page 367, Prunier admits that he put Seth in contact with Ugandans who might have been willing to back a plan organize an eastern front against Kigali. Still he would have you believe that he is somehow an accurate scribe when it comes to matters Rwandan. For a longer review go to http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2009/01/book-review-africas-world-war/ "


Let me introduce Tom Odom: THOMAS P. ODOM is a graduate of Texas A&M University. He served as an army strategic scout for over fifteen years, with five tours in the Middle East and Africa, and as the U.S. Army’s intelligence officer on the Middle East during the first Gulf War. Among his previous publications are two books on hostage rescues in the Congo. He is a coauthor of the U.S. Army’s history of the Gulf War. General Dennis J. Reimer wrote in a forward to "Journey into Darkness", a book by Thomas P. Odom (LTC US Army) ret:
"In July 1994, Thomas P. Odom was part of the U.S. Embassy team that responded to the Goma refugee crisis. He witnessed the deaths of 70,000 refugees in a single week. In the previous three months of escalating violence, the Rwandan genocide had claimed 800,000 dead. Now, in this vivid and unsettling new book, Odom offers the first insider look at these devastating events before, during, and after the genocide.

Odom draws on his years of experience as a defense attaché and foreign area specialist in the United States Army to offer a complete picture of the situation in Zaire and Rwanda, focusing on two U.S. embassies, intelligence operations, U.N. peacekeeping efforts, and regional reactions. His team attempted to slow the death by cholera of refugees in Goma, guiding in a U.S. Joint Task Force and Operation Support Hope and remaining until the United States withdrew its forces forty days later. After U.S. forces departed, Odom crossed into Rwanda to spend the next eighteen months reestablishing the embassy, working with the Rwandan government, and creating the U.S.–Rwandan Demining Office.

Odom assisted the U.S. ambassador and served as the principal military advisor on Rwanda to the U.S. Department of Defense and National Security Council throughout his time in Rwanda."


On june 12 2006 Tom Odom (Thomas E. Odom) wrote on the forum of smallwarsjournal the following:

"Taking a longer view of the "genocide" as a Rwandan government policy is useful in understanding the flow of events as they culminated in early 2004.

From independence with the flip flop of the Belgians in using the Tutsis as a control element for their colony to supporting the Hutus as the majority in the newly emergent independent Rwanda, sanctioned organized and supported violence against the Tutsis was very much a stated and unstated GOR policy. The results were periodic massacres that in manner if not numbers (though in the thousands) served as precursor models for 94. The Tutsi expatriate rebel factions--directed largely toward restoration of the royal family--incursions into Rwanda in the 60s (not many and not well done) did serve as sparks (or excuses by the GOR who exaggerated the threat) for massacres of the Tutsis. These massacres stimulated the Tusti diaspora into surrounding African countries and abroad into Europe, the US, and Canada.

Habyarimana seized control in in 74 as I recall promising to end this cycle of violence. In may ways he did but his use of the single party state with the MRND as its core included a 99% exclusion of Tutsi participation in any political process. This--the so called golden era of Rwanda--lasted until the late 80s when 2 events started to unhinge the equation. First of all African regimes could no longer count on the Cold War to keep the flow of donor assistance coming without political reform. Second the collapse of the world coffee market--the long pole in the Rwandan economic tent--was a disaster for Habyarimana's single party state. Commencing in the early 90s pressures from donors forced the President to start opening up the political process. And the internal poltical process amoung Hutus was explosive and often violent.

Parallel to these events, the RPF structured itself as a rebel/insurgent force that woulld force the GOR to accept the Tutsi expatriates (a million if not more) back into Rwanda. Initial efforts with the Oct 90 invasion were a disaster and Kagame as the new leader had to restructure and rebuild the RPA even as he held on to Rwandan territory against the GOR and the French. Habyarimana used the RPF threat against his opponents inside the country. Massacres of Tutsis took place on a scale of the early 60s; political violence against Hutu opponents of the regime was also common. But even within the regime, hardliners coalesced among the President's wife's family. That is where the gencoide plans really started to form up. French roles in all of this were both open in training the old army and advising/training/supplying hardline elements like the Interhamwe--the militia of the MRND.

Arusha was signed in 93 and by its terms the RPF won its fight; Implementation of Arussha sputtered along until April 94 when Habyarimana caved and agreed. That was his death warrant among the hardliners including his wife. France supported the GOR and the hardliners even after the UN embargo was placed against arms shipments. France gave shelter to hardliners as they fled; I saw a used Mercedes parking lot in Goma where GOR and hardliners parked their vehicles only to whisked away to safety--largely courtesy of the French.

The French charges against Rwanda are a smoke screen to cover Paris's role after Rwanda recently opened an investgation into all of this. Gerard Prunier's analysis of who shot the plane down still applies; he like me on the ground saw no logic in an RPF decision to shoot Habyarimana down. In contrast, the hardliners stood to gain and they used the event as a trigger for the genocide. Dallaire's recounting of events lays out how immediately killer squads started to fan out as well as the role of Radio Television des Milles Collines in orchestrating events over the air waves."


Tom Odom is obviously being very nice to the current regime in Kigali by acusing the french of creating a "smoke screen" and by stating that "Sendashonga pandered a story of RPF killings that challenged credibility".

The question is offcourse, is their any truth to Odom's allegations?

Wouldn't it be great if a debate could be organized between Gerard Prunier, Thomas E. Odom. Or even better, if Pierre Péan and Peter Erlinder and Stephen Kinzer could join. It would be like a great chess game, were it not that it would be a chess game in which the stakes are very high. The outcome directly influences the reality of people living in Congo and Rwanda. But also the stakes for governments of countries like France and the US seem very high.

Apparently the stakes were soo high, the US couldn't resist changing the rules during the game:

As Peter Erlinder, chief defense council at the ICTR, writes in his recent article"Rwanda: No Conspiracy, No Genocide Planning ... No Genocide?":

"Last year it was revealed that U.S. Ambassador Pierre Prosper (see picture) ordered ICTR prosecutor Carla Del Ponte to be removed from office, when she insisted on prosecuting Kagame for the assasination of the former president, the crime that touched-off the "Rwanda genocide" because U.S. policy was to protect Kagame, despite the evidence of his guilt."


To start of the debate on a level playing field it would therefore be helpfull and kind if Tom Odom could explain to us (and to his soldier buddies at smallwarsjournal), why Pierre Prosper didn't want Carla Del Ponte to investigate the assasination of the former Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi?

April 14 2005:Rwandan President Paul Kagame greets University President William P. Leahy, SJ, and University Trustee Pierre Prosper '85 prior to giving his speech ''Rwanda an 'Oasis of Stability' at Robsham Theater. (Photos by Lee Pellegrini)see original post and picture at Boston College Chronicle.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Services Shift to Rwanda

The title of this post links to the blog that just started by Robert E. Kennedy, a well-known scholar, speaker, and educator. His research focuses on the opportunities and challenges facing businesses in developing countries. He is traveling to Rwanda for a capacity building program at the School of Finance and Banking (SFB) in Kigali.

Bob asks himself and us the question: "what can the country export to the rest of the world in exchange for the imports it needs? How exactly does services offshoring work? How do you "get in the game"? Who makes a good partner? And what are the policy implications?

While sitting at the airport he encourages himself "Rwanda is an interesting test case for the Services Shift". I'm now following Bob, the subject he is doing research on seems very interesting.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dr. Paul Kagame


On the day we learn that Spain has issued international arrest warrants for 40 senior Rwandan officers accused of mass killings inside Rwanda and the Congo,

I want to congratulate this
“leader of a new generation of African presidents, who is dedicated to poverty reduction, human development, education and women´s empowerment”
with the honors doctors degree of laws awarded to him by Florida State University today. As Professor Jim Pitts said today
“We appreciate President Kagame’s commitment to peaceful reconciliation, education and economic development of Rwanda, he deserves recognition for bringing people back together”

Last year Dr. Paul Kagame was invited to MIT to give the Compton Lecture, now at Florida State University he receives a honorary degree. I hope all of you will now refer to Paul Kagame no longer as `General` or ´President´, but as ´Dr.´. It is really inspiring to learn how Paul Kagame rebuilt his tiny country after the terrible tragedy that occured in 1994, it´s something you can relate to as a purpose driven American. I hope other President´s in Africa will see the light and follow the standard he has been setting. When you travel to Kigali you see all around you the achievements of this great leader, but when you visit the genocide memorial you understand the deep tragedy that is part of Rwanda´s history. Paul Kagame, hope for Africa, we wish you all the best with this new honorary degree, too bad the University of Glascow beat us at that by a year, and God bless.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza

Interview on the website of Olivier Nyirubugara with the chair of Rwanda's combined opposition parties Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.

Interview with FDU-UDF chairwoman Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza 18 - 01- 2009 from olny.nl on Vimeo

Crisis in the crisis: looking at the situation of the African diaspora



By JEAN-CLAUDE SHANDA TONME
Original article (in french)appeared 05-02-2009 in Le messager: Crise dans la crise : regard sur la situation de la diaspora africaine

When the financial crisis erupted september 2008 in the United States through the mortgage crisis, it rapidly evolved towards a deep economic crisis with effects similar to a powerful cluster bomb. Very few analysts had predicted the dramatic or even catastrophic proportions of the crisis today. The world is not only submerged in the crisis, it is now engaged in the collapse of some of the strongest symbols that characterized economic success. Toyota for the first time in its long history, presented a balance sheet deficit (three billion dollars in losses), and many prestigious institutions have closed their doors. All the ingredients that led to the surge of bold technological innovations during the past twenty years and a tremendous increase in the volume of trade went into red numbers.

Rich countries which once were locomotives of the idea of the business development, production and management, have now adapted a low profile. Disorientation is rampant, both literally and figuratively. Obama was expected to be the messiah who would with his charisma alone, turn this situation around and enable the world economy to take off once again. For him, we have sung, danced, and implored heaven. Nothing happened that could change the course of the tragedy that people are now living, even people that live in countries that less than two years ago, considered out of reach of the crisis, super consumers, sufficiently socially protected and confident in their government systems and state of the economy.

An evening spent in front of a television in any country in Europe can announce the extent of woes resulting from the crisis. Bankruptcies follow one another, entire sectors of activity are affected and in danger of extinction, unemployment has reached levels of alert everywhere, households are heavily indebted and government aid is not sufficient. During the month of January, France has registered 45,000 more unemployed, bringing the total to 270,000 for a whole year. The figures for Europe are simply frightening, while for the United States, the situation has progressed beyond reviews and disasters.

Back to xenophobia and protectionism

What is serious in this bleak picture is that nothing reassuring is expected for the coming months. On the contrary, the specialists in their most optimistic forecasts, see only darkness in the short term.
In this context, another crisis, far more serious and more confusing, affects in particularl African immigrants, whether naturalized, legal or clandestine. We know that when things turn bad it is first the immigrant at which fingers are aimed. If someone has to pay a high price, it iwill first be the one who comes from abroad. Oh, if only things could be limited to a simple temporary problem, or to the level of each individual. What is worrying, is the rise of xenophobia. Across Europe, the sounds of the hunt for foreigners surfaces and find echo in official circlesl.
Because they are helpless, European governments seem unable to stop or counteract discriminatory feelings which rise from the hearts of people afffected by the crisis. Worse, some leaders no longer hesitate to openly advocate protectionism. But who says protectionism, says xenophobia, bias and exclusion. To understand our focus, we need to view them in the reality of the life of theAfrican diaspora of no less than twenty million people in Europe and America. In this number, you must include workers, students, eternal trainees and all those who do not really know why they are in these countries.
If one takes only students from poor families who are forced to play with odd jobs to support their studies, the crisis has caused some real cataclysm. Job losses are increasing and the sleepless nights have replaced the hopes of returning home within a year, two or three years. It must also include young professionals, those who completed, were engaged in the search for savings. It is no longer possible for many to consider projects, or even make the leap into other dreams. It's hard and too hard for most. The situation of illegal immigrants arrived with short-stay visas is beyond description. It's suicide and you meet those who present all characteristics of alienation. In these conditions, the time has come no longer to question the reasons for immigration. A significant number of Africans is objectively in the situation of persons at risk requiring support, care, assistance.

The responsibility of African governments

Traditional international law establishes an intimate relationship and unity between the individual and the State whose nationality the person bares. In fact, there is between you and your country, the authorities of your country and you, a dialectical relationship that creates a constraint, the sum of obligations beyond that which the average person can imagine. While it is easy to argue that individuals are free to enjoy their freedom of movement, to settle outside their national borders, to live the life and activities of their choice under the laws of the host country, this possibility does not diminish the obligation of protection and assistance of the State vis-à-vis its citizens, which carries both a purely legal, but also moral and psychological criteria.
The behavior of African states vis-a-vis their nationals abroad is a disgrace, an intolerable injustice, a demonstration of chronic irresponsibility. Most have just barely a real political dialogue and leadership, yet the African diaspora is composed mostly of young people under 40 years or 35 years, and these individuals are often highly qualified. African leaders give the impression of not caring at all about the strategic importance and the contribution of these tens of thousands of doctors, engineers, professors and doctors who work in factories, hospitals and universities abroad.
In fact, we discover through this lightness the nature of most African regimes and their fear of the returning demanding,politicized executives, who at the same time demand change. How could one explain otherwise the obscurantism, the resentment and stupidity, the lack of political support and ownership of vast human resources that are stowed away in Europe and America? It's not with joy in their hearts that these young people now live and die far from their country of origin. Many suffer permanent tragedy of neglect and poorly digest this deadly form of nostalgia.

Emergency measures and a policy framework

It is urgent to take advantage of the current economic crisis to undertake bold initiatives to ensure and encourage the return of African professionals to their countries of origin. A simple declaration of intent would be a big step and an expression of solidarity, recognition and fellowship. Africans do not leave their country with the intention to dwell abroad, they are rather upset and frustrated by both the negative development in their countries of origin and the emotioanl, professional and academic constraints of their immediate environment . African governments must make every effort to be accountable to their expatriate nationals and encourage their return.
In this context, the recognition of dual nationality, of the right to vote, creating a department specifically responsible for the diaspora and practical home country of those who return are among the most immediate steps to take . We need to both facilitate the integration of returnees and provide an opportunity for those who develop businessplans to ensure they achieve them without too much red tape, or tax policies. We must put an end to the suspicion, ostracism and negative indexation of the diaspora. If only 50% of African professionals returned home, the continent would witness an exponential transformation and solve many of its problems in less than five years. But first the basic condition for the construction of an effective institutional framework, actually transparent and democratic, has to be satisfied.

Jean-Claude Shanda Tonme is a consultant on international law and a columnist for Le Messager, a Cameroonian daily, where a version of this article first appeared on 05-02-2009.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

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Dr. Leopold Munyakazi's arrest a disgrace


Today Leopold Munyakazi was arrested by the US immigration services because he supposedly had overstayed his visa. But it is clear this arrest is directly related to the slanderous accusations leveled by the murderous regime of Paul Kagame. A regime that has had the full support of subsequent US administrations while executing mass murder inside the Congo.

I therefore wrote this email to the President of Goucher College:

"Dear President of Goucher College, teachers, students and other personel. I would like to stress the fact that the Rwandan government has a habit of accusing anyone who is against her of genocide. One of the easiest examples for you to understand is the accusation (issued by the Rwandan ambassador in the US) against Robert Krueger, the former senator of Texas, of sending arms to the FDLR.

In other words I am very disappointed by the fact that you, President of Goucher college, removed Leopold Munyakazi as French teacher from his position because of accusations leveled by the regime in Kigali. A regime that has won it's last election with more then 95 percent of the vote.

In Spain 40 of Kagame's RPF army senior officers have been accused of crimes against humanity and acts of genocide committed inside Rwanda and the Congo. These substantiated claims are being taken very seriously by the Spanish justice system.

The regime in Kigali does not have any legitimacy whatsoever. The regime rather has been busy killing civilians inside the Congo over the last decade and still uses the FDLR as pretext to invade a sovereign country today. Former MONUC commander Patrick Cammaert has made it clear that the FDLR poses no threat to Rwanda whatsoever. So all that is left is the fact that Kagame and his revolutionary army uses the FDLR as a pretext to continue their police state and to refuse the Rwandan people their rights as citizens.


Leopold Munyakazi wrote me back:

"Thank you very much for your accurate comment. You're among the rare Americans who have a genuine understanding of the situation in Rwanda. Most people are victims of disinformation, manipulation and big lies. i'm myself disapppointed by the fact that an Academic Institution has taken a serious decision on the basis of groundless allegations.I keep hoping that the truth will finally come out."


When will those influential American politicians be held accountable for covering up the truth about what has been going on in the Congo over the last decade?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Accusing others of genocide

I am dismayed by the way Sanford Ungar removes a french teacher at Goucher's College, as you can read ere: Goucher College President Sanford Ungar sent an e-mail Saturday to students and faculty, telling them about concern over claims that Leopold Munyakazi "participated directly in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda." The US has supported the RPF leadership over the last 10 years while it has committed genocide inside the Congo. When will those US military that trained the RPF will be brought to justice? When college presidents like Sanford Ungar hide behind their ignorance, ignorance turns into guilt!

As you can read here, Munyakazi has been inprisoned in Rwanda for 5 years without trial:

"After his release in 1999, Munyakazi taught French at the Kigali Institute of Education until 2004, when he attended the 11th World Congress of Teachers of French in Atlanta and chose to remain in the U.S. out of fear that he would be arrested upon his return to Rwanda. A colleague at the conference, he said, warned him that he would have to answer for his presentation, which appeared to contradict the government. Worse, his wife informed him that he faced arrest upon his return home because he was on a list of 500 “divisionists” that had just been released by the Rwanda government."