Rwanda: separating myths from reality

by Linda Melvern, Scottish Review

‘Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad’ by Michela Wrong (published by 4th Estate London, 2021)

‘Of all the liars in Africa,’ wrote the English colonialist Ewart Grogan after visiting in 1899, ‘I believe the people of Rwanda are by far the most thorough’. Grogan’s appalling quote is used in the introduction to Michela Wrong’s book, Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad. Not much has changed, the author believes. Rwandans are always telling her how mendacious they are: the country ‘glories in its impenetrability’ and ‘sees virtue in misleading’, Rwandan children are encouraged to develop the quality of deception. Michela Wrong admits that such a society poses a ‘bit of a challenge’ for a non-fiction author.

The offensive paragraphs are reminiscent of the racism of Hutu Power, of the hate propaganda that portrayed Tutsi as natural-born liars, a part of the ideology that underpinned the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi. This is not a book ‘about a genocide’, we are told, but a story of a group of exiled Rwandan fugitives, a ‘small, tight-knit elite’. They seem to have been brought together by their loathing of the government of Rwanda and its President Paul Kagame – a sentiment the author shares.


Linda Melvern’s new book exposes patterns of Genocide denial

By James Karuhanga, The New Times

British journalist Linda Melvern who last April told The New Times that Genocide denial is everywhere and has to be challenged has published a new book on how masterminds of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and their supporters continue to deny the atrocities.

Speaking about her latest book, titled ‘Intent to Deceive: Denying the Rwandan Genocide’, Melvern told  Sky News, a British television news channel, that 25 years after the Genocide, the core group of those who organised, paid for and perpetrated the killings remains determined to continue that crime.

“There is a considerable number of Hutu power ideologues who are determined to continue that crime and denial is part of genocide. So, the crime continues with that,” she said earlier this week.

She added: “They have mounted an information war against the current government. They have tried to persuade the world with their disinformation, fake news that the victims, the Tutsi, brought the catastrophe upon themselves.

“They’ve tried to persuade the world that we have a death toll that wasn’t actually a million and there is some research that claims that more Hutu died than Tutsi. This is pure denial.”

Asked if there was any evidence that Genocide deniers were succeeding, she said they are citing a 2014 BBC documentary “which produced figures from two American Genocide deniers.”

The BBC programme in question, Rwanda: The Untold Story, was broadcast on October 1, 2014 sparking outrage from survivors and scholars, including British author Andrew Wallis, who questioned the ethics of the BBC programme makers.

At the time, 38 international researchers and historians expressed grave concern at the content of the documentary Rwanda’s Untold Story, specifically its coverage of the 1994 Genocide.


The Money Man: the arrest of Felicien Kabuga

The arrest of Félicien Kabuga in a Paris suburb on May 16 is hardly a cause for celebration.  A prime suspect for his involvement in the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi, Kabuga had been on the run for twenty-six years and is now an elderly man. One of the world’s most wanted fugitives there was a bounty of US $5 million under the US Awards for Justice program on his head. Somehow, he had managed to outwit everyone who searched for him including the international crime agency Interpol and undercover and specialised tracking teams with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).


We may soon learn France’s real role in the Rwanda genocide by Linda Melvern

In a milestone court case in Paris, unprecedented testimony could reveal the Elysée’s links to the 1994 génocidaires

‘The policy was devised in secret … within the confines of the Africa Unit. At its heart was François Mitterrand.

The trial this week of a Rwandan genocide suspect in a Paris courtroom is a well-earned victory for the French human rights groups who lobbied so hard and so long for justice. The milestone trial signals the end of France as a safe haven for génocidaries. But more than this, the trial is likely to see intense public scrutiny of one of the great scandals of the past century – the role of France in the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi of Rwanda, which for 20 years journalists and activists have tried so hard to expose.

Pascal Simbikangwa, the defendant in Paris, is said to have been a member of an inner circle of power in Rwanda that devised genocide as a planned political campaign. Developed by Hutu ideologues, it was intended to prevent a power-sharing system of government that was to include the minority Tutsi. The genocide claimed up to a million lives.