Monday, October 31, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI Declaring "War on Witchcraft" In Africa

I am tempted to compare Pope Benedict XVI's exhortation, on the eve of Halloween (great timing), to his African bishops to fight witchcraft with the historic declaration of the "War on Terror" by George W. Bush september 20 2011:
"Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday urged African bishops to fight the influence of witchcraft, followed by some, but incompatible with the teachings of Christ, a Vatican statement said.
"The heart of the baptised is sometimes shared between Christianity and traditional African religions," the pope said in a meeting with visiting bishops from Angola."
Both "wars" illustrate how a clear foreign policy lense has disappeared in Washington and Europe since the fall of the Berlin wall. Does anyone still remember John Paul II's visit to Poland June 1979 that sparked the formation of the Solidarity movement in 1980? 

Witch hunts are a troubling chapter in European (and Roman Catholic) history and still are regularly reported from Sub Saharan Africa. In March 2009 Amnesty International reported that up to 1,000 people in the Gambia had been abducted by government-sponsored "witch doctors" on charges of witchcraft. September 2008 4 supposed witches were murdered in Burundi. In 2009 the UN watchdog on childrens rights expressed it's concern about Congolese witch hunts and said that:
 "violence against children accused of witchcraft is increasing, and that children are being kept as prisoners in religious buildings where they are exposed to torture and ill-treatment or even killed under the pretext of exorcism."
These are just a few quick examples. Cases that remind us immediately of Aldous Huxley's comments on understanding witchhunts in medieval France and what it tells us today:
"Death was the penalty meted out to these metaphysical Quislings of the past and, in most parts of the contemporary world, death is the penalty which awaits the political and secular devil-worshipers known here as Reds, there as Reactionaries."
 Instead of fighting herd intoxication and putting these witch hunts into a larger perspective (that also adresses these western versions), as does Aldous Huxley in his book "the Devils of Loudun", this pope feeds the frenzy.
It also reminds me, alot of the usual lazy and arrogant rhetoric of western superiority on women and gay rights that is invoked whenever the US, through State Department, justifies it's foreign wars and talks about elections in sub saharan Africa.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mitt Romney's Risky Bet On Early Win & Jim DeMint's Moment

Chris Cillizza explains the choice Republicans have to make between now and January:
"A victory in Iowa — no matter how narrow — coupled with another win just days later in the New Hampshire primary would almost certainly end the race and make Romney the nominee."
The Nevada frontloading, with Romney's fingerprints all over it, makes clear the Mitt Romney campaign is aiming to end this race by winning these early contests. It increases the stakes for Mitt Romney in Iowa and New Hampshire and plays right into the "who will Jim DeMint crown?" narrative.

A narrative that has become the strongest undercurrent in the race for the nomination which could well hand victory to Ron Paul. Nate Silver's mathematical Iowa Caucus projection makes Ron Paul a clear favorite in Iowa. Ron Paul's support among former Huckabee supporters and other active GOP bloggers seems rising and much stronger then reflected in the media. Two top Huckabee 2008 blogger LD Jackson endorsed Ron Paul this week.  Another top Huckabee 2008 blogger, One Mom, ranks Ron Paul at the top of her list. And, as intrade analyst homer_Simpson writes:
"He has the money and the organization now. He also benefits from the caucus format. He already completely dominates the younger crowd, and Paul supporters generally are more dedicated than supporters of other candidates. He's also spending more campaign money than anyone else on really effective ads. He's also timing it perfectly, so that he's in perfect position to pick up Cain votes when Cain falls down. "
On foreign Policy both Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint have recently made statements that can be read as endorsements of Ron Paul's humble foreign policy. An important indication a large segment of the party is moving in his direction. Jack Hunter, Ron Paul's campaignblogger from South Carolina(!), points out in his blogpost Paul, Daniels, Barbour and Christie vs. GOP Establishment on Foreign Policy:
 “One-time possible 2012 Republican presidential contenders like Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have all expressed foreign policy views similar to what Paul espouses. Yet, each of these Republican leaders decision to not enter this race has left Paul as the only viable candidate making the argument for a more practically prudent and fiscally responsible foreign policy"
Allthough polls and pundits don't see it yet Ron Paul could pull off a Pat Buchanan in both Iowa and New Hampshire which would give Jim DeMint the golden oppotunity to endorse Ron Paul ahead of South Carolina. The endorsement of Ron Paul by Jim DeMint at the right time would effectively end Mitt Romney's campaign because that magical moment would signal the succesfull merger of the old Christian Coalition, the new tea party and Ron Paul's campaign for liberty. The Republican establishment is still hoping the Jim DeMint moment will not occur. As Dominick Abbate from Greenville SC says:
"If Jim DeMint stands and gets behind Ron Paul, Ron Paul will be President of the United States"

Mauro Campaign: The Ticking Time Bomb Under Dutch Coalition?

Dutch politics has been discussing wether an 18 year old boy, Mauro, who lives with his non-recognized foster parents, should be sent back to Angola. Miriam Mannak, a blogger born in the Netherlands who grew up in Rwanda and Angola, writes down her feelings about this.
Mauro won a case in a lower Dutch court which based it's decision on the right to family life, article 8 of ECHR.  However, the highest Dutch court in immigration cases, the Raad van State overruled this decision and claimed that this lower court went beyond what it was supposed to do.

Mauro is/was the posterchild of the "we stay" campaign by defense for children that footballed with members of the majority of Dutch parliament june 23, days after this decision by the highest Dutch court. The Christian Democratic spokesperson for immigration, Raymond Knops who is from same province as Mauro (Limburg), footballed with him that day and said: "Mauro should stay".

The dynamics of the Mauro campaign are explained in this excellent article. A hard battle for media attention, which allmost failed september 22 when the late night show Pauw & Witteman decided at the last minute to not let him on. Through pressure on twitter Mauro and his foster parents got on the show anyway.


@carlavanos lawyer children rights and migration at Defense for Children, heads the campaign. This week the campaign picked up major endorsements by the Dutch Child Ombudsman who mentioned Mauro in relation to a nationwide poster campaign which takes off next week.

This week the Mauro campaign received support of twelve law Professors concerning his right to family life. Historian and blogger Jan Dirk Snel tells minister Gert Leers what in this case should be "the right thing to do".  Priests and pastors in the Catholic and largest Protestant Churches voiced their support for the Mauro campaign this weekend.

On friday the Mauro campaign received the support of popular tv personality Gerard Joling:
"@gerardjoling Oke mijn FF voor deze vrijdag is zonder enige twijvel: gr Geer"
Christian Democrats sofar have been unable to disarm the ticking time bomb which the campaign for Mauro has placed under the internal unity of their party and the stability of the CDA/VVD coalition government backed by anti-immigrant/anti-muslim PVV of Geert Wilders. The CDA party congress this weekend became the Mauro congress. The Mauro campaign won a major victory at this CDA congress while it adopted the following resolution:
"Today’s Dutch Christian Democrat party conference has adopted a resolution calling for a “humane policy” towards unaccompanied underage asylum seekers. The motion was backed by 85 percent of the attending party members. "
Two members of the CDA faction in parliament have allready said that the outcome of the congress reconfirms their position that Mauro should say. This underlines the fact that unity has not been restored, contrary to what CDA and vice-premier minister Maxime Verhagen claims.
Last week Parliament debated on Mauro a wole day and night and next tuesday Mauro will be discussed in parliament again.
To support Mauro and others like him, sign the petition and follow @mauromagblijven (over 40.000 followers in one week)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mitt Romney Appoints Controversial Foreign Policy Advisor Pierre Prosper

Mitt Romney's advisor on human rights, Pierre Prosper commented yesterday on the outcome of the Oklahoma lawsuite against his client Rwandan President Paul Kagame, brought by the widows of two assassinated African presidents, claiming:
"We are confident, however, that had we been forced to address this matter on the merits we would have prevailed"
Pierre Prosper's effort, in his capacity as U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, to obstruct a case against Paul Kagame at the ICTR  (2001-2005) was based on the conviction that this could jeopardize the transition that was taking place after the genocide.

Allthough these two arguments are clearly not identical, over the years many have lumped them together into a narrative against critics of the Kigali regime. A good example is found in an article by Harry Verhoeven last year:

"Genocide revisionists are defined by focusing on the perceived key moment of the downing of the airplane of Habyarimana and his Burundian colleague april 6 1994"
However it's an open secret that Paul Kagame's RPF is responsable, not just for this assassination, but also for many other crimes committed in the great lakes region.

Transitions towards democracy leads to tensions, even in the Netherlands among Abraham Kuyper's Calvinists at the beginning of the 20th century. In my opinion the holocaust by NAZI's against Jews is the ultimate example of a mismanaged democratic transition. The success of a democratic and peacefull transition hinges on the ability to think "out of the box". The ability to step over one's own shadow. The ability to look beyond one's own interest. A great example is the speech by President Kennedy in Berlin that demonstrates how humility can get you much better results then condescending arrogance.

Mitt Romney appointing Pierre Prosper as human rights advisor reminds me of Obama appointing Susan Rice as senior foreign policy advisor during his campaign. A clear indication of the direction in which foreign policy will develop itself during Mitt Romney's presidency.

For those who want a humble foreign policy, look elsewhere.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Arab Spring and Calvinism In Agadir: Fear God, Honor The King

Famous Dutch Admiral De Ruyter  (17th century) sometimes stayed in Agadir for half a year, apparently enjoying himself as guest of the powerfull sheikh Ahmed we Moussa of Sidi.  Agadir was one of the many important factory cities of the Dutch United East Indian Company (VOC). Above the entrance gate of the castle of Agadir, which was destroyed by the earthquake in 1960, you can still see the logo of the VOC with on the left the text
"fear God and honor the king 1746" (in Dutch and also in arabic)
It's the most succinct summary of the Dutch Calvinist struggle for independence, allthough most people would not recognize it as such. A dutch maroccon forum discusses the meaning of the text and comes up with the explanation that it was meant to keep Dutch sailors from misbehaving while in Agadir, which was ruled by a King. An interpretation that ignores the specific calvinist and revolutionary roots of this phrase.

The Dutch did not have a king at the time (1746) , but  still they honored the king of spain in their national anthem. The slogan "fear God, honor the king" has a specific calvinist ring to it in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. It was an outcry against the persecution of protestants across France during the seventeenth century after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Calvinism was everything but a blank check for regimes with totalitarian aspirations, like the French under Richelieu.
The text in Agadir is a direct reference to Peter 2:17b which is quoted in the Barmen thesis to make the following claims:
8.23 We reject the false doctrine, as though the State, over and beyond its special commision, should and could become the single and totalitarian order of human life, thus fulfilling the Church's vocation as well.
8.24 We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church, over and beyond its special commission, should and could appropriate the characteristics, the tasks, and the dignity of the State, thus itself becoming an organ of the State.
In 2003 the question was raised among Dutch scolars wether Hitler could have accepted these Barmen thesis. Calvin says in the third part of his Institutions of the Christian religion:
"When we see that this man was made ​​king by God, we must also remember in our memory the order of heaven, who commands us to fear God and honor the king, and we won't have difficulty to accept a tyrant king with the honor and glory with which our Lord Himself has deigned to crown him"
A fanatic for Calvinism was a fanatic for freedom, writes Abraham Kuyper in his stone lectures. It's the revolutionary concept of Calvinism that made possible the Dutch and American revolutions.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Will Roelof Haveman Decide Victoire Ingabire's Fate

The Dutch representative at the ECHR, dated July 27th 2010 wrote:
" Rwanda has over the years made substantial and fundamental progress in furthering the rule of law"
This statement surfaced last month and RNW published  the reaction of  Larissa van den Herik, professor of Public International Law at Leiden University, who presumes that The Hague believes it will be useful if the ECHR has already cleared all legal obstacles, ready for when the Netherlands reaches a bilateral extradition treaty with Rwanda at a later date. In addition to that she believes political motives are in play.
Professor van den Herik might be on to something. Sofar it seems the decisions concerning the progress of Rwanda's legal system are based on the judgment of just one person: Roelof Haveman.

Roelof Haveman lived and worked in Rwanda since 2005, initially for the Dutch Center for International Legal Cooperation (CILC), supporting the law faculties of the Université Nationale du Rwanda (UNR, Butare) and the Université Libre de Kigali (ULK, Kigali) in strengthening their academic and managerial capacity and quality.
In his slip stream several Kagame propangdists are now living and working in the Netherlands at the University of Tilburg. These RPF operatives are using their position at the University of Tilburg to spread propaganda against Paul Kagame's opponents inside the Netherlands.

These individuals organize conferences on the Rwandan genocide that aim to keep up the RPF image abroad. Etienne Ruvebana  was invited to spread his message in Groningen. Alphonse Muleefu, who was also brought to Tilburg by Haveman says about himself:
"I have made research at the UNICTR on the prosecutor’s discretion power, and I was able to establish the ICTR prosecutor’s policy. I have made an investigative research on the protection of witnesses in Rwandan Traditional Gacaca Courts and the use of community service as an alternative sentence to those pleaded and found guilt of committing 1994 Rwandan genocide. I am a UN online volunteer."
Alphonse Muleefu founded a non-profit organisation that claims to:
"promote Victims’ Rights Law, International Criminal Law, and International Humanitarian Law in the Great Lakes Region"
In reality this is a RPF lobby organisation that aims to promote the RPF regime and keeps up it's image abroad. Not convinced? Just read this statement on it's website:
"Together Against Impunity in the Great Lakes Region (TAI/GLR) – Rwanda, is planning to organize a one week long (11th – 15th July, 2011) study tour on Transitional Justice mechanisms adopted in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Eraste Rwatangabo's Murder, Genocide Claims & Secession Advocacy

Tim Adam's recent article on the assassination of Eraste Rwatangabo was retweeted by
@survivorsfund claiming that genocide against tutsi's occurs and has occured in Congo:
Proof of the genocide against the Banyamulenge, a minority population of ethnic Tutsi from in east

Eagerly retweeted by Rwandan (and Kagame supporter) @Charlie_blink who claimed last year that massive slaughter of hutu's by the RPF can be discussed in Rwanda "but just not now".

Jerome Rugaruza, a tutsi from Congo writes about the assassination of Eraste Rwatangabo:
"The voice of Eraste Rwatangabo member of the "Banyamulenge" minority Tutsi tribe of the Eastern D.R.Congo ( survival of Banyamulenge refugees Genocide occured on the night of the 13th August 2004 in Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi) will never and ever ceasse to wisper into every one conscience until its cry for justice is heard Worldwide."
Allthough Tim Adams himself seems to shy away from calling the killings of tutsi's inside Congo genocide, he does claim that:
"Many are seeing the killings as further proof of genocide against the Banyamulenge. A childhood friend of Rwatangabo, Alex Ntung, now lives in Hastings, East Sussex. Ntung lost members of his family in one of the most infamous massacres of the war, at the Gatumba refugee camp in 2004. He has fought since for the atrocities to be recognised as genocide by the UN. " 
These genocide allegations by Alex Ntung, who's brother was an RPF soldier that died fighting in 1994 (interesting by the way how a Congolese tutsi joins an army in Uganda to fight a war in Rwanda) that "spice up" Tim Adams article were recently adressed by the Congolese Ambassador to the US Faida M. Mitifu . Alex Ntung claims to be an expert on Congo , wrote on witchcraft in South Kivu and lives in the UK.

The Congolese ambassador adressed these genocide allegation at a conference at the brooking institute in response to a question by Alex (Not Alex Ntung according to Richard Wilson) who used the claims, quoting Kagame's Propaganda man Andrew Mwenda, to advocate for the break up of Congo (24:30):
"thank you very much, my name is alex, and i followed very much your remark and i have to disagree with you, but not to disagree but it is a point of view that came out when you was explaining to us. The biggest challenge that Congo is facing is is security. it has been an issue, it iss an issue, that's where the united states should focus. Recently, on october 4th, ten days from today, a jeep was going from Uvira in South Kivu to monembwe, it was attacked by may-may and Agnathon Rwasa FDLR Rwasa, and they Selectively killed the tutsis, banyamulenge that were in the Car and the rest of the people were released, they were allowed to go home. So, Until now as you  know the people who committed that genocide, the agathon rwasa peopl in that Bujumbura gatorwa no one was arrested, no one was tried. I guess that was the reason they are keep on doing it.
my point of view, and please dont take me wrong, my point of view the ideas that have been looking on the internet and there is these two ideas journalists called Andrew Mwenda and Samba Kiki, they said that ultimate solution for Congo would be to break it into pieces for peace.Why would the united states would not do like it did in sudan. I think that would be the ultimate solution for Congo giving it's history of violence."
DRC's ambassador to the US, Faida M. Mitifu , responded at the end of the conference in this way:
 I just wanted to say something about Alex and mr. John has allready touched one point that I wanted to bring to Alex: off course Alex we do condemn what happened recently in south kivu and we condemn what has been going on in south kivu in terms of those different pockets of violence.You used the word genocide, it doesn't just apply to what has been going on with the women, it can apply to what has been going on back in 2004, so let's not isolate this one particular case. The people of Congo have allways been a united people. And contrary to South Sudan, the International community accompanied what the people of South Sudan wanted. So you cannot come here to this forum and advocate a Congo divided in several pieces. Because if there is something that Congolese people have allways wanted, it has been a united Congo. We can sit together and discuss what kind of Congo we want, as mister John suggested, but you can't come to this forum to advocate for a Congo divided into several pieces as a Congolese yourself.
Anthony Gambino thanks the Congolese Ambassador for her comments and adds a short description of the context in which the transition, the 2006 elections and the upcoming elections are being held.

Alex Ntung forms the expert advisory institute together with Dr Felix M. Ndahinda from Tilburg and Etienne Rusamira from Montreal (read their articles to see what direction their advocacy goes).

Dr Felix M. Ndahinda sounds a lot like a propagandist for the regime in Kigali who aims to torpedo a legitimate debate on the crimes committed by the RPF in Congo and Rwanda and to collectively brand the hutu diaspora with the label "genocidaire".

Etienne Rusamira, a tutsi community leader, seems to be a more respectable character who has written reasonably balanced articles on the conflict in Congo on the business links between Habyarimana and Mobutu which, according to Rusamira, led to Mobutu giving some land to Rwandans in Walikale where the Ntoto massacre of 14000 Rwandan (hutus) took place in march 1993 (kick-off date for the mapping exercise).

Etienne Rusamira met with US Embassy in Kigali in 2004 just before the above mentioned Gatumba massacre of tutsi Congolese refugees in Burundi.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Oorverdovend Stil Rond Victoire Ingabire

Een half jaar voordat mevrouw Ingabire op het vliegtuig naar Kigali stapte, voorspelde ik dat we de komende jaren nog veel van haar zouden gaan horen. De Rwandese president Paul Kagame voorspelde dat het geen huwelijksreis zou worden. En warempel, je kon er de klok op gelijk zetten in het land van duizend heuvels, deze voorspelling van "de tovenaar van Kigali" kwam uit. Victoire Ingabire werd via de staatsmedia grondig zwart gemaakt en vervolgens beschuldigd van alles wat mooi en lelijk is.

We zijn anderhalf jaar verder en Victoire Ingabire zit inmiddels al een jaar veilig achter slot en grendel terwijl het schijnproces zich tergend langzaam voortsleept. In september deed een Nederlander in Rwanda, als een toevallige Simon van Cyrene,  kort verslag van het zoveelste bedrijf in dit door Kagame geregiseerde toneelstuk. Het gaat niet goed met haar zei ze vorige week in de rechtzaal tegen RTL verslaggever Arthur de Leeuw. Sinds haar gevangenschap heeft ze geen kontakt meer met haar echtgenoot en kinderen gehad. Begin mei kreeg ze voor het laatst bezoek van een Nederlandse delegatie uit Rotterdam. Journalist Brenda Stoter schreef daar een verslag van op haar weblog wat vervolgens niet gepubliceerd werd in het AD. De internationale pers heeft haar tenten allang elders opgezet. Op het gebied van democratisering zijn er inmiddels veel mooiere plaatjes te schieten van massademonstraties. Specialisten op het gebied van ontwikkelingssamenwerking zijn druk met het empoweren van vrouwen en het opbouwen van instituties. En dan spreken we nog niet eens over de intimidatie van journalisten, onderzoekers en de mensen die met hun spreken.

De Nederlandse diplomatie had nog wel zo haar best gedaan om het de heer en mevrouw Kagame naar 't zin te maken. Nederlands Ambassadeur Frans Makken las in de aanloop naar de verkiezingen de hutu diaspora in Europa de les over de elementaire beginselen van democratie. Tijdens het bezoek van toenmalig minister van justitie Hirsch Ballin werd keurig volgens het script een hutu in Nederland opgepakt en beschuldigd van betrokkenheid bij de genocide. Mevrouw Basebya zit inmiddels ook al meer dan een jaar vast in Nederland. Vervolgens kneep deze zelfde Frans een flink oog dicht zodat Kagame glansrijk de verkiezingen kon winnen met de zegen van de ganse donorgemeenschap. Weinig verheffend allemaal.

Maar zo wordt worst gemaakt zou Mark Rutte wellicht aanvoeren. Misschien zijn we op weg naar de grand finale van een virtuoos hoogstandje in de diplomatieke carriere van deze Nederlandse diplomaat. Je weet het immers nooit.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bavinck Prize & Neocalvinism Hijacked by Communitarians @ Calvin

Anyone who has followed Dutch politics over the last decade knows full well that Jan Peter Balkenende is a controversial communitarian politician. Just read for example this  recent statement by Jan Peter Balkenende:
"Bitter experience has taught us how fundamental our values are and how great the mission they represent"
Preaching western superiority and judeo-christian values (when did neocalvinism ever preached that BS?? Please give me a link) has been his trademark since he won his first parliamentary elections after the assassination of Pim Fortuyn.

The context of Balkenende's speech was the conference After 9/11/11.... What? Reformed Theology and the Church's Global Mission Today at Calvin Theological Seminary at which the former Dutch prime minister received the Bavinck Prize for Outstanding Reformed Contribution to the Church, the Academy or Public Life.  At this same conference, VU historian George Harinck said on Bavinck's approach to Islam:
"In politics Bavinck criticizes the idea that modernism will conquer Islam from within, and he claims that modern culture is indebted to Christianity. Instead of striving to modernize Islam, the Dutch government would do well to invest in Christian education in the Dutch East Indies. Only the Christian faith has the answers to questions the Islam poses to the West. According to  Harinck Bavinck chose the flight forward and he underestimated the secularizing power of modern thought."
Bavinck and Kuyper succeeded in surfing the wave of democratic development that deeply impacted culture on both sides of the Atlantic. Let's however not forget that democratic development in Europe was more then just getting the right to vote. It was just as much about music and art and theology. The pendulum of an elitist society swung towards a populist society, neocalvinism fell of it's "surfboard" in 1944 (Does the phrase "the revolution eats it's own children" apply to neocalvinism as well?).

Bavinck's speech on modernism and orthodoxy is a great read for those who try to understand his views on the relationship between science and neocalvinism. Huub Mous' blogpost "Modernism and Abraham Kuyper" is a great read for those who try to understand the relationship between art and neocalvinism. Klaas Schilder's sermon "niet verwerpen" is a great read for those who try to understand the relationship between theology and neocalvinism.

If we want to understand the political and cultural context in which Jan Peter Balkenende's communitarian reading of neocalvinism could hijack the Dutch version of Christian Democracy it's worth while reading Wim Dekker's book Marginaal en missionair  (no English translation yet?) which gives a good historical overview of the evolution of theology and the role of the church in Dutch society since the second world war.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dutch Native Police Officers Distrust Migrant Colleagues

On a Dutch police website Politietop divers the claim was made october first, based on a three year evaluation, that the top of Dutch police is now diverse. A glimpse at the actual numbers shows us however that immigrants are not represented at the top of Dutch police. Without adressing this apparent failure the project claims victory by putting emphasis on the number of women at the top and closes down this three year project.

Today a report was released by researcher Sinan Çankaya that shows how distrust against police-officers of foreign origin runs deep inside Dutch police. This problem is not properly adressed by Dutch police and thus leads to high fallout.

Both elements are illustrations of lack of professionalism, political will and massive failure in the field of diversity management in Dutch police. Will the top of Dutch police and the national expertcenter diversity ignore this report by Sinan Çankaya? Let's see.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Can Tshisekedi Become Congo's Lech Walesa?

The State Department failed policies of supporting strong men in Uganda and Rwanda could become the slow predator sucking the blood out of Obama's reelection campaign!

Without concrete results to back up his bold claims, the mantra "Africa needs strong institutions, not strong men" has started to wear out. Increasingly the unanswered question remains how to get there. Doug Saunders touches on this when writing about Poland:
"Why has Poland, which had a typically awful time during its years of privatization in the 1990s, as did Ukraine and Russia, surge so far ahead of its neighbours in both democracy and economy?"
An gave the usual political correct answer:
"it is clear from any visit to Poland that well-established democratic institutions have more to do with it"
The unanswered question, the elephant in the room, remains off course how to get there. In the case of Poland it's obvious that solidarnosc's struggle for freedom in the eighties should not be overlooked.

When discussing Congolese politics Etienne Tshisekedi's UDPS, founded in the eighties, and it's struggle for democratization is often overlooked or overshadowed by the donor-sponsored state-building project that was launched in the DRC at the beginning of the transition in 2003.

It seems logical that operations against LRA and other rebel movements operating in central Africa should be part of a broader counter insurgency strategy adressing both political and economic motivations for violence.
Strong institutions won't be created by focusing on gender equality or the participation of youth in the Congolese elections as Maria Otero did at the brooking institute. Or by claiming with Jendayi Elizabeth Frazer:
"that the problems in eastern Congo today are not Rwandan, they’re Congolese"
Lech Walesa's struggle in Poland provides us insight into how external parties like US President John F. Kennedy and the Polish Pope John Paul II helped shape the narrative in which solidarnosc succeed to build it's strong, diverse and coherent coalition.

Peacefull elections and the emergence of a coherent Congolese opposition is in the interest of Congo and it's citizens, but will also have a deep impact on the foreign policy credibility of US President Barack Obama.

This week Q&A with Tshisekedi in France to get an idea. A lot of focus on Hypolite Kanambe, ignoring the question on the exclusion of raped women, the theater at the end, mmm. I am not impressed. Reminds me of Dutch prime-minister's words characterizing the coalition negotiations by saying:
"this is how sausage is made"


Friday, October 14, 2011

Klaas Schilder En De Dag Der Kleyne Geluyden

Zoals gebruikelijk vliegen de bekende superlatieven, karikaturen en vooroordelen over tafel wanneer de naam van de roemruchte hoogleraar theologie uit Kampen valt.  Zal het debat over "onze gereformeerde identiteit" aangezwengeld door een studentenvereniging uit Groningen en George Harinck (wie anders?) ook ditmaal verzanden in een herhaling van zetten?

Een kleine oogst (op twitter) van de "voortgang" tot nog toe: "radicale elementen in Schilders theologie, hij was verliefd op een vrouw die hij niet kreeg, hij was briljant, zijn betekenis is beperkt tot het vrijgemaakt "zuiltje", zijn polemiek was "over de top", hij had een "brede visie op cultuur", energie ging op in zinloze kerkstrijd en zinloze discussie c.q. polemiek over verbond en algemene genade met concullega Hepp, hoe dankbaar kun je zijn voor het goede van iemand die later in de fout is gegaan, niet met hem eens maar broeder in Christus."

Klaas Schilder was een kind van zijn tijd. Hij staat (laten we simpel beginnen) symbool voor de periode tussen de twee wereld oorlogen. In zekere zin de hoogtijdagen van de kleyne luyden, zoals je zou kunnen afleiden uit de woorden van historicus (en fervent blogger) Jan Dirk Snel:
"@jdsnel In het interbellum was de Tweede Kamer veel meer een afspiegeling van de bevolking - arbeiders, boeren - dan nu."
Zijn theologische c.q. philosophische gedachten, je kunt al zijn boeken hier online leze, doen mij denken aan art nouveau  en Jazz vanwege het zoeken naar aansluiting bij de natuur, het leven van elke dag en het nadrukkelijk en radikaal afwijzen van rangen en standen zonder daarbij in plattitudes, banaliteiten of populisme te willen vervallen. Zijn schrijfstijl "heeft het felle, doorleefde en vitalistische van een Hendrik Marsman".

De gedachtengang die ten grondslag ligt aan Schilder's felle en radikale afwijzing van rangen en standen komt scherp naar voren in zijn Delftse intreepreek "Niet verwerpen"  uit 1922:
"Daarom moet ge ook nooit in de kerk komen om het gemakkelijk te hebben. Gij moet niet uw prediker beschouwen gelijk Israël Mozes deed: voor hem de zwarigheid, de ontzetting, de verbazing - voor u 't resultaat der bezigheid Gods als ‘gesneden koek’. Gods spijze moet immer zwaar te verteren zijn. Een volk, dat zijn Mozessen laat zwoegen met Gods ontzaglijkheid en zelf naar gemakkelijke houding staat, verwerpt God, die spreekt en openbaart zijn blode zelfzucht in liefdeloosheid. Ze moeten 't elkaar niet gemakkelijk maken: prediker en gemeente. Wij moeten niet Gods Woord willen ontvangen als in den slaap. Wij moeten niet tot God klagen, dat Hij ons meer geeft dan wij verdragen kunnen. Wie zijt gij, die Zijn openbaring beticht van onverstand aangaande uw bevattingsmogelijkheid ?"
Vervolgens ontdek je dat die radikale afwijzing van rangen en standen ook terugkomt in zijn positiebepaling ten opzichte van het socialisme in het boek De openbaring van Johannes en het sociale leven, ten opzichte van Karl Barth in zijn essay Licht in de Rook uitgewerkt in zijn proefschrift Begriffsgeschichte des paradoxons (Vervolgens kun je het eerste hoofdstuk van Schilder's commentaar op de Heidelbergsche Catechismus erbij pakken om deze groffe schets verder zelf in te kleuren).

Huub Mous concludeert volkomen terecht na zijn prachtige blogpost modernisme van Abraham Kuyper:
"Bij verlichte geesten, die nooit iets met religie op hadden, was het vermeende verdwijnen van de religie een hoopvol perspectief. Veel ex-confessionelen sloten zich aan bij dat toekomstperspectief. Zelfs de confessionelen zelf gingen heimelijk hun verleden verwaarlozen of zelfs verdringen. Zo zitten we nu met z’n alleen met een enorme kater. De religie verdwijnt, zij het alleen in het ex-confessionele Nederland. Overal elders in de wereld is de religie juist in opmars. Dat proces heeft niets met vooruitgang of modernisering maken. De seculariseringsthese (‘modernisering gaat gelijk op met het verdwijnen van de religie’) is een uitvinding geweest van optimistische sociologen uit de tijd van de wederopbouw. Het was niet eens een selffulfilling prophecy, eerder een self-denying prophecy. Dat is de kater, waar we mee zitten."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Debate: What Is The Future Of Europe?

European Studies student association SES in Amsterdam organizes october 17th a debate with Thijs Berman Duch Labour Party's EU MP and Professor Ton Wilthagen on the future of Europe.

The debate is framed around the following statement which reflects Ton Wilthagen's reasoning:
"Is prehaps a united Europe (United States of Europe) necessary to guarantee that we can continue to give meaning to European values on the basis of which we live, work, do business and live?"
As he wrote together with Arno Uijlenhoet in april:
"The debate should be about values ​​and - specifically - on the need for a United States of Europe."
Dutch Historian Jan Dirk Snel in his blogpost "Solidarity - how the euro crisis fosters European integration"   gives a short introduction to the book "The Passage To Europe" in which Luuk Middelaar puts forward his theory of three strategies that establish the European political public sphere: the 'German', the 'Roman' and the 'Greek' strategy:
"The German strategy would be "a cultural or historical identity of rulers and ruled. Language, values​​, habits, things like that. The Roman approach "relies on a benefit that people derive from the functioning of politics'. Protection, safety, those are the terms. The Greek approach ultimately "rests on the periodic review by representatives of the people who make decisions on its behalf. One vote, elections, majority voting, that's what it is about."
Jan Dirk Snel thinks that the current dynamics surrounding the Eurocrisis illustrate that the "Roman" approach is the problem and a combination of the "German" and "Greek" strategies the solution.

All across Europe specialists and historians are frantically searching for a new and satisfactory 'EU narrative' as Ulrike Guerot noted in June:
"Speaking in Dublin this week, Guérot, who is from Germany, emphasised the emotional, demographic and generational sides of Germany’s European disenchantment. The populist narrative about Greece captured the German public imagination and was not properly challenged on its general applicability: “We are victims, we pay, they cheat us.”
President Obama's historic speech in London may 25th underlines his own paradigm shift concerning NATO and the EU as Ulrike Guerot writes in this excellent blogpost:
"As of Wednesday, when Obama held a historical speech in front of both houses of parliament in Westminster Hall in the heart of London, we know for sure that these times are over. Obama announced a change of paradigm and this will be a game changer for the future transatlantic relations."
Sarkozy has worked hard for years to seize his opportunities in this bipartisan US foreign policy narrative and this seems to pay off. But should the old narrative, in which President Kennedy's words "Ich bin ein Berliner"play a central role, be discarded that easily? The words of Polish President Donald Tusk in the European parliament in July suggest the contrary:
"Defending the fundamental rights of Europeans, suchs as free movement across borders is our paramount duty."
Before discarding the old narrative we should at least attempt to answer the question Why has Polish democracy flourished While Its Neighbours Have Slumped? Let's not forget how solidarnosc 's struggle for freedom in the eighties was at the heart of the "old" EU and NATO narrative. As Doug Saunders added:
"@coloredopinions That is an important element, and may have helped form democratic institutions, as did Round Table talks."
When searching for a new EU narrative we should study how Donald Tusk's Civic Platform, firmly rooted in the solidarnosc history, succeeded in creating a narrative that appeals to a mix of liberal, conservative & Christian-Democratic tendencies in Polish politics. A narrative that is favorable to immigrants living in Poland  and at the same time appeals to Libertarian supporters of the Austrian school of economics.

President Kennedy's famous speech in Berlin accomplished just that: it appealed at the same time to all major political tendencies on both sides of the Atlantic. Sofar the dominating communitarian narrative embraced by Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Jan Peter Balkenende, Barack Obama and (perhaps for opportunistic reasons) Nicholas Sarkozy has achieved the exact opposite!

Does Olaf Asbach answer these pertinent questions in his book 'Europa - vom Mythos zur Imagined Community? Deconstructing the notion of Europe..."?  Is Dani Rodrik correct when he claims in his book 'Das Globalisierungsparadox'. Globalisierung, Demokratie und Nationalstaat sind eins zuviel....:
"YOU CANNOT have deep globalisation, democracy and national self-determination all at once, according to US economist Dani Rodrik. You can have at most two out of the three."
I am convinced (and we can see it all around us) that citizens won't buy some new  "Europa myth" if it ignores their own convictions and aspirations. As Stephen R. Covey wrote this week:
"The temperature is rising.We face unprecedented rifts in our society. We're inundated with talk of war -- "culture wars," "class warfare," and the "war on terror."
He proposes a 3rd Alternative:
"One person -- you -- can start the quest for a 3rd Alternative. Just go up to your "opponents" and say, "Are you willing to look for a solution that's better than what either of us have thought of?" Most people will say, "Such as?" And you say, "I don't know. That's the idea. Are you open to seeking a way out that's beyond your way and my way -- a higher way?"
In similar fashion constructing a new EU narrative in theory and practice should be about engaging citizens both abroad and at home, and transpartisan coalition building.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Libya's NTC is not part of the 99%


Predator Drones fired Hellfire Cruise Missiles over
Libya during the NATO bombardment.
Contrary to what the video below suggests, the U.S./NATO invasion and occupation of Libya, behind the National Transition Council (NTC), does not belong on the growing map of  global movements identified with the phrase "We are the 99%."  The video, featuring Libyan rebels backed by the U.S./NATO, appears on the OccupySouthAfrica web page, and on the Youtube, under the heading Evolution of Revolution - World Revolution Day 15 October 2011, where it's winning thousands of viewers, most of whom, excepting myself, seem enthusiastic.

But the U.S./NATO did not bomb Libya in the interests of the 99%, not the 99% in Libya or anywhere else. They bombed in the interests of the 1%, which is hungry for control of Libya's sweet crude oil, uranium, gold, and other resources, and its militarily strategic location.

Why is Syria, which is most likely next on the U.S./NATO list, also in this video?  Why not Uganda, where demonstrators  have marched in the streets and been shot and jailed to protest a fraudulent election followed by soaring food and fuel prices?  Why not Congo, where political opposition is struggling against all odds for a free and fair election?  Why not Rwanda, where opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza is on trial for challenging Rwandan President Paul Kagame's official, Constitutionally codified version of the genocide in Rwanda, and opposition leader Bernard Ntaganda is already in prison?  The presidents of these three countries, Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo, all facilitate the extraction of tens of billions of dollars worth of African natural resources to Western investors, as the Libyan NTC will, even as it struggles, with U.S./NATO support, to conquer ongoing Libyan resistance.


Goodhearted though this video may be, it threatens to confuse and co-opt the movement identifying as "the 99%" to the U.S./NATO agenda, in the interest of the 1% and their faux humanitarian invasions to seize resources in the name of human rights.

Brussels Mourns Dieudonné Kabongo

Everyone in Belgium knows this man from the Congo, Dieudonné Kabongo: actor, playwright, storyteller, comedian, television show host, musician and singer.

 Just like Molière Dieudonné Kabongo collapsed on stage in the centre culturel Armillaire in Jette, close to Brussels, at the beginning of the show "Les nouvelles de l’espace" of his old friend Jean-Louis Leclercq.

Christos Doulkeridis, blogger and prime-minister of the French language government of Brussels writes today:
@doulkeridis est profondément triste d'apprendre la mort sur scène du comédien Belgo-Congolais Dieudonné Kabongo
Dieudonné Kabongo was civil society member of the group that discussed the future of the French language community in Brussels.

The funny story about his mother fixing him steak and french fries instead of the fish he dreamed of while living abroad for decades in which he explains his mothers words "I didn't want to hurt your stomach" which means "I didn't want to disturb what you have become":

Jacques Vernaud's Funeral Kinshasa

Watch Jacques Vernaud's funeral (yesterday) online on bone-tv.

Twitter users about Jacques Vernaud's funeral:

@mediacongo
J’ai publié 13 photos sur Facebook, dans l’album Funérailles du Pasteur Jacques Vernaud - Stade des Martyrs
 
RDC-kinshasa rev J. vernaud sera exposé cet pm au stade des martyrs #rfi #radiookapi #france24 @Flonza1 @EtatsUnisActus @CongoRT @kinshasa
@ChristsHopeDRC
Wednesday 12 Oct. 1 of Congos's most impacting missionaries will get burried. Ps. Vernaud achieved his goal, he went to join His Master.
@otshudiema
Dans notre affliction de la perte de papa Vernaud, le jeunesse de la parole du Salut pleure sublime MADIELA, Que... http://fb.me/Exu4WULv
@EstelleGemma
R.I.P pasteur J.A. Vernaud
@journalchretien :
Le pasteur Jacques André Vernaud de l'Eglise La Borne tire sa révérence: Le Bon Dieu a donné et le Bon Dieu a re...
Several valuable articles on Jacques Vernaud and his funeral at Sona-Bata in Kinshasa:

France Actu  Décédé depuis le 29 septembre à Johannesburg : Le pasteur Jacques Vernaud inhumé aujourd’hui à Sona-Bata

Izuba, a website I hadn't seen before that focuses on central Africa reproduces the digital congo article.

Jacques Vernaud also made me discover Exaltnews, interesting Congolese site.

Article written september 30th by Patrick N'Siala on Jacques Vernaud, posted on the Assemblies of God in France website.

Website of Paroisse Protestante des Instituts Supérieurs de la Gombe

Congolex

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jacques A. Vernaud's Funeral In Kinshasa

Today the body of pastor Jacques A. Vernaud, who past away in South Africa, arrived at  N’djili airport in Kinshasa.  At his request he will be burried in Kinshasa.
The Laborne church in Kinshasa has the following message on his death:
"Bien aimés dans Le Seigneur,
La Communauté des Assemblées de Dieu de la République Démocratique du Congo, l’Eglise de « La BORNE » et ses extensions ainsi que la famille VERNAUD, confirment le départ auprès du Seigneur de son serviteur Jacques André VERNAUD, en Afrique du Sud, en date du 28/9/2011 à 19h00, heure de Kinshasa.
Le rapatriement du corps se fera ce lundi 10/10/2011, à 12h45, par le vol régulier SAA, à l’aéroport de N’djili."
Jacques A. Vernaud has played an interesting role in Congo during Mobutu's days. Vernaud teached many pastors, like Mitete Nzubamunu who worked in the US and Ngoma Roger Ntoto who preaches in New York. In the sixties Jacques Vernaud met Jacques Moussounga in Suiss. Jacques Vernaud reminds me of Marcel Barbezat, who was  missionary in Tchad. I once met him in Marseille. Barbezat's son works as a pastor in Canada.


Ken Horn wrote september 28th:
"Jacques Vernaud was an evangelist for years and many churches were planted after his campaigns. In 1965, he along with several Congolese brethren founded what later became the Assemblies of God of the Congo. Today there are over 200 autonomous A/G churches in Kinshasa, with close to 1000 churches throughout the country."
Off and online many Congolese still talk about him. Even in the US blogger Ryan Elward picked up his sermons, apparently from itunes. I found these sermons "L'heure est avancée".
 and qui Ira au ciel?

Listen to Jacques A. Vernaud here on the last book of the bible: Revelation de Jean.
"The history of the King who triumphs"




Jacques A. Vernaud's christmas message 2010.

Brussels 2011 Art Nouveau & Art Deco Biennial Event

City blogging is not my daily dish, but for the art nouveau & art deco biennale I gladly make the exception. If you hate Art Nouveau  stay away from Brussels, that's for sure.

I allways enjoy taking a stroll through Matonge, the part of Ixelles that is filled with Congolese shops, small african bars and lots of Lingala. The neighbourhood is named after the famous Matonge in Kinshasa. There are several places where you can eat Kabry or Kamundele and other Congolese food (allthough some are pretty crowded on saturday). If you prefer fish dishes hop in at Poissonnerie Ammih at Rue Longue vie.

However, Ixelles is also loaded with great examples of Art Nouveau architecture, including the home of Belgium’s greatest Art Nouveau architect, Victor Horta. Adrian Bridge excellent post tells you more about Victor Horta. This month it's the Art Nouveau and Art Deco month in Brussels and next weekend it's focused on Ixelles. Make your reservations through the week and you will be able to visit exquisite buildings on the inside. This guide explains how it all works!

Let's not forget Art Nouveau, Matonge, Elio DiRupo and NVA are all expressions of the same Belgian heritage, as this blogger  points out:
"But the Art Nouveau style – which grew out of a desire for a bolder, more futuristic form of architectural expression and which was made possible by the wealth generated by Belgium’s then considerable industrial (and imperial) prowess – was meant to dazzle, shock and entertain."
Too bad I missed the first weekend. A very kind blogger scrapojapon did her best to give us a glimpse of the beauty of art nouveau and art-deco in Brussels that she saw this weekend, take a look at the pictures she could take (off course she couldn't take pictures of the most holy art nouveau shrines)!!!

Just a quick look on google gives you an idea of how art deco exists in Ixelles. A nice place for 900.000 euro's. An appartment with swimming pool in heart of Brussels close to the Louiza avenue. A house created by the architect Jacques Sa in the B/Bois de la Cambre neighbourhood. A beautiful porch in Ixelles.

Christos Doulkeridis who heads Brussels government writes on his blog (off course) proudly about Brussels being the capital of Art-Nouveau (I thought Montreal had the title). Christos Doulkeridis is founding member of karikol, an association that organizes open pique niques in the parc royal during the summer.

Charles Picqué apparently is president of the government of "Brussels capitol region" (I thought that was Doulkeridis?). I should dig in to Brussels politics a little. Charles also writes about the Biennale on his blog.

Till the end of the year the exposition "Victor Horta" (the famous art-nouveau architect) can be seen at Chaussée de Haecht 266 in Schaerbeeck (grand merci a l'Embellie).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Donald Tusk Cruises To Victory With Message Of Liberty

Melancholia might fall upon us when we remember president Kennedy’s famous words  "Two thousand years ago the proudest boast was civis Romanus sum. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is "Ich bin ein Berliner". A symbolic and magical moment of converging policy unity among the diverse and exotic crowd of political families in the “free word”.
During the polish shipyard strikes in 1980 Lech Walesa became the main actor in this heroic struggle for freedom. However with the fall of the wall this powerfull narrative dissipated. Since the end of the cold war policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic have been struggling to redefine credible foreign- and domestic policy purposes in life. The vacuum needed to be filled.

It's in this context that Amitai Etzioni's communitarism presented itself as an attractive solution to fill the void and was quickly embraced by influential leaders from across the political spectrum. Amitai Etzioni's central claim that he wanted to move away from the traditional right-left foodfights by putting more emphasis on the role of the community, culture and virtues was embraced by both Tony Blair and Jan Peter Balkenende.

The religious socialist roots of communitarism were off course not mentioned, nor the strong ties between traditional socialism and Etzioni's ideological father Martin Buber. It's amazing how Christian Democrats across Europe embarked on a honeymoon with an ideology that has it's roots in socialism. We have all seen the results in recent years. Christian democracy has reached a dead end in Europe. Signs of desperation abound. Christian democrats selling out to communitarianism, Keynesian economics and xenophobic populism have become the rule.

Donald Tusk message of a United Europe, economic freedom and his strong defense of civil liberties stand out from the crowd.

He admits freely that he identifies himself with the Austrian school of economics:  “If I had to identify myself with someone, at this time it would have to be with Friedrich von Hayek who, talking about the business cycle, highlighted the fact that every artificial boom caused by the expansion of credit by banks works in the end against itself. Today in the philosophy of operating American financial institutions there are too many footprints of the Keynesian tradition of regulation, such as intervention for achieving – in effect – only temporary results.”
Donald Tusk's succesfull election campaign on a platform of economic freedom and civil liberties reminds us all once again of the heroic struggles for democracy and prosperity across Europe. Poland has lived through a transformation since 1989. A process of historic proportions in which the EU realized it's historic mission. The Civic Platform is a beacon of light in a sea of Christian democratic despair, I would add.

Donald Tusk and his civic platform are poised to send shockwaves across the political landscape on both sides of the Atlantic. This is not a liberal victory over conservatism, but a libertarian victory over communtarianism. We are standing at the entrace of a new era of liberty!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sarkozy: Paris Deserves A Mass (Murderder)

Henry IV's famous words "Paris vaut bien une messe" came to mind when reading about the high risk meeting between Nicholas Sarkozy and Paul Kagame in Paris last month. Henry IV, a huguenote was involved in the French civil war from 1562–98 fought between Catholics and Calvinists. Before his coronation as King of France at Chartres, he changed his faith from Calvinism to Catholicism. He was said to have declared that Paris vaut bien une messe ("Paris is well worth a Mass"), but there is much doubt whether he actually said this himself.

Many people are speculating what the visit to France by Rwandan President Paul Kagame was about. I tend to like the phrase by a Sapa-AFP reporter who wrote:
"Rwandan President Paul Kagame will Monday make his first official visit to France since the 1994 genocide, to rebuild relations damaged by Kigali's accusation of French complicity in the massacres."

Exactedly, these relations were damaged by Kigali! For Propaganda reason!

In 2006, as James Akena correctly states in that same article:
"they broke down in 2006 due to a judicial investigation in France on events that marked the beginning of the genocide."
The suggestion by Colette Braeckmann that this judicial investigation was political motivated, is absurd. As Stephen Sackur fired at Paul Kagame in this interview: "Off course you know these are not wild allegations".  But Braeckman's argument rests not just on unfounded allegations against the French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, but also on the assumption that France has been in a diplomatic guerilla war with Rwanda since the nineties.

Both the parliamentary inquiry into the role of France in Rwanda between 1990 and 1994 by Paul Quiles in 1998 and US Ambassador Robert Krueger's account of French diplomacy in Burundi in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, point in a different direction. Paul Quiles declared to the press on the findings of his inquiry in 1998:
  • "When the genocide occured, France was not in anyway involved in that outbreak of violence "
  • "We didn't take into account the specifics of a country that we didn't know well enough. We intervened in a country that we thought we knew, but in reality we were much more alien then we had suspected"
Paul Quiles explains the findings of the inquiry in an interview:
"Mitterand was obsessed with the idea that the Habyarimana democratized. He intervened strongly, congratulated by Paul Kagame, so that in Arusha agreements were reached that tutsis would participated in power starting August 1993. There was this process towards democracy, but at the same time every party wanted to use it to reach it's own goals."

Sarkozy's diplomatic dance with Paul Kagame is not about friendship or Congo's minerals, just as the Libyan war was not abou democracy, it's about a leading role for France in the world. It's a strategic choice to end the tribal war between the french African school and the Anglosaxons in Africa. Just like Henry IV, Sarkozy has been looking for a leadershiprole for France within the NATO, and this strategy is allready paying off:
"The French emergence as a full partner of the U.S. and a leader of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization might be the most important aftereffect of the effort to depose Qaddafi."
in 2007 Time's wrote about Sarkozy: "He is the healer-elect of the trans-Atlantic friendship damaged by the Iraq war".
Andre Guichaoua, a sociologist and expert attached to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, said: "This visit should go ahead. Diplomacy is not about morality." If we combine this with
General de Gaulle famous phrase : « Une grande puissance comme la France n'a pas d'amis, elle n'a que des intérêts." we get the picture: France is more interested in pursuing its own interests than in nurturing historical ties. This falls in line with his "famous" Dakars speech.