Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Writing The Congo Narrative Together

The first #BCRchat discussing Burundi, Congo and Rwanda made me aware of the campaign to pressure Obama to nominate a #specialenvoy to Congo that started yesterday.

On March 2, 2001, on Capitol Hill, in the House of the Representatives, the African Great Lakes Advocacy Coalition held a congressional briefing for Members of the Senate and House and their staffs in order to raise the profile of the UN Mapping Report exercise released on October 1, 2010. If you consider the role Susan Rice played at the time, this request sounds quite interesting:

"Call on President Obama to instruct Ambassador Susan Rice to make the UN Mapping Exercise Report a priority and address its recommendations."
Maurice Carney, co-founder and executive director of Friends of the Congo, said to finalcall:
“The very fact that the briefing was held on Capitol Hill, in and of itself, made the event a success. The UN has been suppressing reports on the atrocities in the Congo as far back as 1997. This latest report is very volatile, if you are on the other side of it,”
(in reference to U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice and her refusal to comment on it).

Adam Hochschild in reviewing Jason Stearns's book "Dancing in the glory of monsters" writes:
"Not so the United States. It has supported Kagame for years, contributing indirectly to Congo’s suffering. How this media-savvy autocrat has managed to convince so many American journalists, diplomats and political leaders that he is a great statesman is worth a book in itself."
A quote similar to what former US ambassador to Burundi, Senator Robert Krueger, once said :
"How U.S. military leaders had become so enamored of Paul Kagame I could not fully fathom....I was appalled that these skills had so successfully overshadowed his obvious preference for dictatorship over democracy, and his tolerance, or perhaps appetite, for vengeful ethnic slaugheter, yet he was invited to the United States to be feted at the Pentagon. In time, I was sure that the truth about the RPA would come out. But how many lives would be lost, how much suffering endured, how much fear and despair would be borne in the interim?"
Gaspard Musabyimana thinks it's the RPF Myth that did it.

Yesterday I watched Luis Moreno-Ocampo and the prosecution of several Congolese warlords. Nkunda is still under hous arrest in Rwanda. Luis Moreno Ocampo made a very interesting comment on how he sees the role of the ICC in the region. He thinks these prosecutions are contributing to "change", wish I could find the exact quote.

When we take these different strands together we are seeing a very interesting narrative in the making!


Ann Garrison said...

Hochschild doesn't get it or doesn't want to: "How this media-savvy autocrat has managed to convince so many American journalists, diplomats and political leaders that he is a great statesman is worth a book in itself."

It's not that he conned them; it's that that's what they've been told to believe. Listen to Kagame speak and you hear a psychopathic, sociopathic autocrat. All you have to do is open your ears.

But acknowledging that would destroy the Hotel Rwanda fairy tale, Kagame as Rwanda's savior, that covers up the Pentagon collaboration with Kagame before and after the Rwanda Genocide to this day.

Ann Garrison said...

And I don't really don't understand why the Great Lakes advocates like Friends of the Congo want to join astroturfers like ENOUGH and Run for Congo Women in calling for this envoy. What kind of envoy are they gonna get?

Vincent Harris said...

Tony Gambino seems to be the likely candidate for the job. You got any suggestions?