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Want to really save Congo? Help them get rid of the FDLR

“…IN such countries, genocide is not too important…” remarked French President Francois Mitterrand during an interview on 14th of July 1994, describing the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in Rwanda. 1,095 more words

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“…IN such countries, genocide is not too important…” remarked French President Francois Mitterrand during an interview on 14th of July 1994, describing the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in Rwanda . Mitterand A Genocide that claimed the lives of over one million innocent human beings murdered in the most gruesome and barbaric ways imaginable. Genocide 100 days… a million lives…not too important. However outrageous these words were, and still are, from the Head of State of one of the most powerful nations on the planet, they have the merit of being true to their owner and his government’s policies towards Africa in general and Rwanda in particular. As a permanent member of the Security Council, France made sure that the monster responsible for the carnage in Rwanda-a monster it singlehandedly helped create- did not suffer the consequences of its actions. To that avail, the French used of their influence to downplay the events as ‘ancestral tribal wars’ while putting in place the controversial ‘Operation Turquoise’ to give the killers safe passage to neighboring Zaire- today’s DRC.   So controversial was the operation that French troops entered Rwanda from Zaire and started laying down the groundwork of this evacuation exercise way before it was actually sanctioned by a UN resolution. Operation Turquoise in Rwanda Operation Turquoise in Rwanda Once in Zaire, remnants of the defeated ‘Forces Armees Rwandaises’ and the ‘genocidaires’ were allowed to remain armed and in charge of the civilian populations they were holding hostage less then 100km away from the Rwandan border- in complete disregard of the rules governing the management of refugee populations. For over two years, they were bred and fed by the International Community to the tune of a whopping one million US$ a day as they regrouped, reorganized and plotted their way back to Rwanda, on the barrel of a gun. In fact, intelligence gathered by Rwanda at that time spoke of an imminent attack. In the meantime, old habits were now being applied on local populations, creating a state of lawlessness and fear that resulted in a new flow of refugees from the communities of the Kivu, adding to the instability of the region. Not one to sit around and wait for a miracle solution to come out of thin air, Rwanda decided to take matters in its own hands. With every sign pointing to an imminent attack from South Kivu, the Rwandan forces launched a preemptive strike into Zaire. The results are well documented though often distorted by opportunists and activists of the wrong causes. The undeniable facts are the following: more than 90% of the refugees returned safe to Rwanda and are living free in their home country. The remaining few with blood on their hands ventured deeper into Zaire, where they gradually became henchmen at the service of a defeated Mobutu to what we now know as the FDLR, thanks to the falling out of Laurent Kabila and the country to which he owed everything. Without going over all the different armed struggles and movements that flourished since Laurent Kabila became president of Congo, one undeniable fact is that the FDLR was the precursor and catalyst of them all. An FDLR rebel stands lookout deep in the bush of eastern Congo After the complete collapse of State structures and civil society, most communities created their own militias to handle their security and control trading activities in their respective regions. It was not too long before many of those armed militias started to adopt the FDLR’s ‘modus operandi’ of terrorizing local populations through killing, looting, raping, and extorting them while engaging in the exploitation of minerals for their own benefit. Congochild For the past twenty years, the situation has become such a mess that most people lost track of where it all started and how to remedy it. Instead, the world has learned to live with it, even profit from it. In fact, NGO’s and their networks have done quite a good job at maintaining the ‘status quo’ to the benefit of their respective organizations and the Western capitals they answer to. So much so that anyone, say Rwanda, that threatens to actually remedy the situation is painted the villain to DRC’s newfound statusof permanent victim. Congo-Goma-ngos-drc Congo NGO2 But Congo has turned exceptional. Demonizing Rwanda as the perpetrator or root cause of all its problems will no longer do. The facts speak for themselves and, as it has been pointed out, they are stubborn. Congo finds itself the victim of the murderous ideology of the very people they greeted with open arms, the ideology behind the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, only now in its mutated state.   For example, rape is now recognized as a weapon of war used in conflict zones like the DRC. So was it in Rwanda. But now, no one is spared, from women and girls to men and boys, and sadly, infants and the elderly. So common has it in fact become that it has worked its way into the psyche of a people to the point of no longer shocking anyone in its daily occurrences in the Kivu’s and beyond. congo That being said, cries of outrage echoed in countless reports are mounting the pressure on the International Community to find a solution to a crisis that has gone on for far too long.  This newfound apathy is however pushing some to look for a quick fix, totally ignoring the real issues on the ground. As long as Western decision makers turn a blind eye on the mother of all causes and choose instead to pursue the wrong solutions based on the wrong assessment of to the Congo crisis, the region will remain at great risk. Rwanda has been handling the FDLR ever since its emergence in the same way it handles the rest of its reconstruction efforts. The Nation has played it inclusive for all Rwandans who would ban the Genocide Ideology in its totality. More than 10,000 FDLR combatants of all ranks, including their Overall Commander, have benefitted from this policy and have since returned home peacefully. But here is what any serious observer should know by now: Rwanda is NOT prepared to SIT IDLY while anyone threatens its sovereignty and the safety of its People! The FDLR remains a page of the 1994 Genocide Rwanda intends to turn, notwithstanding the interferences of President Kabila and his friends in the International Committee. NOT considering this important factor is pushing the region into a brick wall. The West may not be intent on planting the seeds of Genocide, only because it would need the involvement of a (Congolese) State to let it happen, but what they have done so far is miles away from any kind of lasting solution for the DRC and the region. Want to save Congo? Help them get rid of the FDLR… for real this time.    

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