Thursday, February 25, 2010

Frank Habineza requests that the Rwandan Government guarantee his security

Frank Habineza, Chairman of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda

On February 25th, after reports that he would be assassinated within 60 days appeared in Umuseso, a newspaper published in Kinyarwanda, the African language shared by all Rwandans, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda Chair Frank Habineza wrote this letter to the Minister of Internal Security requesting protection:


           B.P. 6334 Kigali, Tel: 078 85 630 39,  Email:

25th February 2010

The Minister of Internal Security


Dear Sir,

              Re: Security Threat to My Life, Requesting for Protection

I would like to take this opportunity to draw your kind attention to very disturbing events that have in the recent past surrounded my daily life as the Chairman of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR), a party that, as you very well know, is yet to be registered.

Since early February this year, there have been several verbal reports about my imminent demise through assassination. At first I dismissed that information as ordinary rumours that form part of the occupational hazard of a politician’s life.  I had tried to ignore the various threats, intimidation, and harassment I have been subjected to, including those committed against our members since 30th October 2009.

However, subsequent events have forced me to reconsider all aspects relating to my security. Recent press reports published in UMUSESO No.396, of 22 Feb-01 March 2010, on Page two, reveal that there are people who plan to kill me in 60 days, according to reliable sources. I also have information which I can’t substantiate that there are planned robberies, beatings, grenade attacks, and harassment being prepared against my family in particular and other senior leaders of the party.  Other details indicate that we are supposed to be assassinated before the August 2010 presidential elections.

Similar events have happened to Ms.Victoire Ingabire. She was beaten by a mob at Kinyinya Sector in Kigali also in February 2010.

These security threats are preceded by an event that happened to me on 4th February 2010, while I was at Hotel Le Printemps, Kimironko, Kigali, sharing a soft drink with a friend Jean Paul MUDAHERANWA aka.   Suddenly, a certain person unknown to me approached us and greeted me in my names and then told me in a menacing voice, that they are watching me very closely and asked me why I was fighting them, yet they paid for my education. I reported the matter to Police on 5th February 2010 and on 9th February; i gave a full statement to Remera Police Station in Gasabo District.

In a country like Rwanda, which is supposed to follow the rule of law and try to be democratic, where a significant community is peaceful, these developments are very worrying.

The purpose of this letter is therefore to request you to use your good offices to verify these threats and, if they are found true, bring the perpetrators to book. I would also like to request you to ensure my security in particular and that of the senior leaders of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda and fellow opposition leaders in other yet to be registered parties.

I am looking forward to getting a kind consideration from you.

Yours Faithfully


Chairman, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda


-  H.E. President of the Republic

-  The Right Hon. Prime Minister

- The Commissioner General of Police

- The Director General of National Security Services

- National Human Rights Commission

-  All Embassies in Rwanda

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sarkozy Urged to Confront Kagame on Rights Issues

Reporters without Borders urged French President Nicholas Sarkozy to address human rights, and, specifically press freedom, in Rwanda. 

Voice of America, reported 02.24.2010

Sarkozy Urged to Confront Kagame on Rights Issues

Media rights groups are condemning Rwanda's criminal conviction of three top journalists at one of the country's last independent news publications. The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders is calling on French President Nicolas Sarkozy to address press freedom concerns with his Rwandan counterpart during a watershed visit to the central African nation later this week.

The publisher, the acting editor, and a reporter at the private Rwandan weekly Umuseso were sentenced to prison terms and fines this week for reporting on an alleged romantic affair between two senior government officials.

Global press freedom watchdog groups, including U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists and France-based Reporters Without Borders, are slamming the convictions, which they cite as the latest example of the systematic repression of free press in Rwanda.

Earlier this week Amnesty International accused Rwandan President Paul Kagame of using vague criminal speech laws to suppress political opposition.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is arriving in the Rwandan capital Kigali later this week to signal a pivotal thawing of relations between the two nations.

Reporters Without Borders secretary-general, Jean-Francois Julliard, said his organization was urging the French leader to bring up the issue of press freedoms during his meeting with Mr. Kagame.

"We have sent a letter to President Sarkozy about the situation of the press in Rwanda, and we want him to speak about this issue and human rights in general with President Kagame during Sarkozy's visit to Kigali in a few days," he said.

Relations between France and Rwanda have been icy ever since the 1994 genocide that left some 800,000 dead in 100 days, most of them were Rwandan Tutsi. Kagame's ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front has accused the French of supporting the ethnic Hutu militias which led the slaughter.

Rwanda cut off official diplomatic ties between the two nations after a French judge accused President Kagame of ordering the killing in 1994 of Rwanda's then-leader, whose death served as the trigger for the ethnic bloodshed.

The two nations restored ties last year.

The three journalists were convicted for violating the privacy of government officials in reporting the alleged extramarital affair between Kigali's mayor and the cabinet affairs minister. But the three media workers say that the issue is a matter of public concern because a 2008 ethics law specifically forbids public officials from committing adultery.

Julliard says that the Umuseso weekly, printed in the local Kinyarwanda language, is significant because it is one of the few remaining private weeklies remaining with an independent editorial stance, which often has put it at odds with the Kagame government.

Rwanda ranked 157th out of 175 countries worldwide in a Reporters Without Borders 2009 press freedom index. Only three African countries - Eritrea, Somalia, and Equatorial Guinea - fared worse.

A recent Committee to Protect Journalists report on attacks against the press last year around the world also named Rwanda as one of the worst offenders of media rights on the continent.

The Rwandan judge refused to order the Umuseso publication completely shut down, as had been sought by the state prosecutor.

Rwandan political update, including claims of a plot to murder Frank Habineza

Posted 02.24.2010, via World News Journal, 02.23.2010

The President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, Mr. Frank Habineza, yesterday's (Mr. Habineza's birthday) edition of Umuseso published claims of plot to kill him by the RPF. A translation of part of the article follows below. This issues follows yesterday's Nyarugenge Primary Court ruling that handed various jail sentences to editors of Umuseso after they were found guilty of defaming and invading the privacy of Cabinet Affairs Minister Protais Musoni. They will be allowed a chance to appeal. Charles Kabonero, the former Managing Editor and his predecessor, Didas Gasana, were given one-year and six months jail sentences respectively. They were also each ordered to pay a fine of 1 million Rwf. Richard Kayigamba was sentenced to six months and a fine of 1 million Rwf in a verdict that was pronounced in the absence of all defendants. The Rwandan government has threatened to close the newspaper permanently. While the paper has been accused many times of defamation and publication of inflammatory articles by various Rwandan officials, Reporters Without Borders has documented the Rwandan Government's repeated oppression of Umuseso and shown the government has often violated the right of freedom of speech to independent Rwandan periodicals in general. The well-known organization ranked Rwanda as one of the worst countries in the world for press freedom. Last year, they ranked 157th out of 175 countries and is the 4th worst country in Africa.


UMUSESO NEWSPAPER No.396 of 22nd February-01 March 2010


Translation of some text from Page 2.

………………. While Victoire Ingabire is in the process of being sent to prison, another opposition politician Mr.Frank HABINEZA will be killed within 60 days.

One of the security operatives who gave us the information had this to say Frank is going to be killed within 60 days, they have no case against him. They can’t charge him with harboring genocide ideology.

They have been trying to frame him up but have not yet succeeded, yet he is the one fully supporting (giving courage) to Victoire Ingabire.

Frank Habineza, who was physically threatened by an unknown person while at a Kigali Hotel known as Le Printemps admits having received this information but says he does not believe that this Government can do such a thing “I do not believe that RF can stoop so low by killing a person just simply because he/she has different views, but from what aim hearing anything is possible”

Arrangements are being made to kill Frank Habineza, the party he is reading is at road blocks, still struggling to get registered.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

San Francisco Bay View now in French and more

The "San Francisco Bay View, National Black Newspaper," based in San Francisco, California, U.S.A., is one of the few publications in the United States that makes an effort to cover the African Continent and Diaspora.  During the Copenhagen climate talks, it published 'We Stand with Africa'; Africa Group shuts down climate talks, one of many reports in its "Africa and the World" section. 

This week the Bay View published a collection of my own online and radio reports on Rwanda's 2010 election, under the headline "Rwandan opposition parties condemn grenade attacks in Kigali."

And, this week they  added a translation button, just beneath the headline on each article, offering a long list of auto translation options, including of course French, the European language that most Rwandans speak more readily than English, although English became the official business language of Rwanda, after English speaking General Paul Kagame led the English speaking Rwandan Patriotic Front Army to power in 1994.  

Machine translations are of course funky and flawed, often downright comical, but, the funky flaws are usually obvious, and the machine translations generally communicate a report's essential meaning nevertheless.

Unfortunately, the translation button doesn't include an option for Kinyarwanda, the African language shared by all Rwandans, Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa, probably because such a button is not yet available, but it does include Kiswahili, Afrikaans, and quite a few languages I don't immediately recognize. 

A French translator is helping me create English-to-French annotation translations for my news videos about Rwanda, posted to the Youtube, and they're not quite done, but, given the French/English language competition still being negotiatied in Rwanda, I wanted to announce the addition of this translation button right away.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Election Rwanda 2010, including voices of Frank Habineza and Victoire Ingabiré Umuhoza

Victoire Ingabiré Umuhoza, presidential candidate of the Rwandan FDU-Inkingi Party expects to be arrested after interrogation by Rwandan Police on February 22, 2010, or within the next week.

February 21, 2010 net radio report on heightening tension and violence leading up to Rwanda's scheduled August 2010 presidential election:

To urge press coverage, contact;

Democracy Now, +1 (212) 431-9090,
New York Times, Nicholas Kristof,

The San Francisco Bay View, National Black Newspaper has collected some of my own reporting, for Digital Journal, the OpEdNews, Global Research, and KPFA Radio/Youtube, on Rwanda's 2010 election, in Rwandan Opposition Parties Condemn Attacks in Kigali.

See also:

Democratic Green Party of Rwanda
Parti Social-IMBERAKURI 

Human Rights Watch, Rwanda: End Attacks on Opposition Parties
Amnesty International,  Intimidation of Rwandan Opposition Parties Must End

Professor Peter Erlinder, Rwanda Documents Project
Keith Harmon Snow, All Things Pass , Conscious Being Alliance
David Barousky, Z Magazine and World Journal
Jean Christophe, Survivors Network
H. Vincent Harris/Ann Garrison, Colored Opinions

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rwandan presidential aspirants given 26 days to register and campaign

On February 19, 2010, parties planning to enter Rwanda's 2010 presidential election against incumbent Paul Kagame were given eight days to register their candidates, between June 26th and July 2nd, followed by 18 days to campaign throughout Rwanda, and told to keep their politics to themselves, in accordance with the law, outside that 26-day time frame.

From Agence de Presse Africaine,

Accueil du site > Home > Election > Rwandan presidential aspirants given 26 days to register, campaign

Rwandan presidential aspirants given 26 days to register, campaign


vendredi 19 février 2010, par modou
Aspirants for the forthcoming presidential polls in Rwanda have been given 26 days to declare their candidature and carry out campaigns before the polls day on August 9, APA has learnt.

According to the electoral calendar made public Thursday evening, presidential candidates are supposed to declare their candidature between June 24 and July 2 while campaigns will officially begin July 20 to August 8.

Registration and approval of candidates was given 8 days while the act of campaigning was strictly allocated 18 days.

The Chairman of the National Electoral Commission, Professor Crysologue Karangwa told APA Friday that the eighteen days were enough for a serious presidential aspirant to go around the country of thirty districts campaigning.

"Eighteen days are enough for a serious presidential candidate to cover the country, we do not expect them to visit every village or district in the country by themselves, they have supporters who should help in campaigns," Karangwa said.

In the remaining less than four months those wishing to stand for presidency were advised to keep it to themselves as in accordance to the law.

"Before the said dates, those planning to declare their candidature should abide by the law and wait. According to the electoral law no political activities are expected before the approval of candidates," Karangwa said.

This will be the second presidential election to be held after an eight-year provisional government that ran from 1995 to 2003 walking the country out of the political crisis triggered by 1994 genocide.

The first presidential elections were held in 2003 seeing the incumbent President Paul Kagame in power.

Rwandan constitution allows a presidential term of seven years with the incumbent expected to serve not more than two terms.

The electoral calendar was announced at a time when the constitution is under amendments where a clause on presidential elections is to be amended.

The clause says any one aspiring to be presidential candidate is expected to be in the country by the time of declaration of their candidature.

Karangwa said Rwandan government will foot 60% of the over 10 million dollar electoral budget, the remaining 40% is expected from the national budget and international community based on bilateral relations of the donor countries.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Amnesty International & Human Rights Watch speak out for Rwanda

On February 17, 2010, I posted an update to my KPFA Radio News report and video, "Rwandan Election: Who will be allowed to run?" to Colored Opinions and Digital Journal, including news that Amnesty International has joined Human Rights Watch in calling for the end of intimidation of Rwanda's opposition parties.  Here are links to both releases:

Human Rights Watch Release: "Rwanda: End Attacks on Opposition Parties
Intimidation of Political Opponents Increases in Advance of Presidential Election,"

Amnesty International Release:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Election Rwanda 2010: Who will be allowed to run?

On February 10, 2009, Human Rights Watch issued a news release, "Rwanda: End Attacks on Opposition Parties," but the attacks haven't ended.  FDU-Inkingi candidate Victoire Ingabiré Umuhoza was facing another interrogation, by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Rwandan Police, at the time I recorded this KPFA Radio News including some of my most recent conversation with her.  She was once again released, though still unable to register the FDU-Inkingi Party.

On February 18, 2010, Amnesty International joined Human Rights Watch by issuing a release titled "Intimidation of opposition parties must end."

Meanwhile, Kigali's Gasabo District has once again refused to give the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda a permit to hold the convention that it must hold to field a presidential candidate, because the police have not given them a "clearance," even though nonviolence is one of the 10 key values of Green Parties worldwide.

Link TV quotes Nicholas Kristof, calling for an earthquake in Congo

Eastern Congolese women are not only raped and tortured in the violent scramble for the region's vast natural resources; their suffering is then manipulated to raise funds for the non-profit industrial complex, and to justify ongoing U.S. military engagement.

Sometimes I despair of ever seeing the truth come out about the imperial scamble for resources in D.R. Congo and the rest of Africa.  Now even Link TV, generally considered to be a "progressive" outlet,  is quoting the NY Times's Nicholas Kristof on how much he'd like to see an earthquake, like Haiti's, or a tsunami in Eastern Congo turn attention to the "barbaric civil war" in Eastern Congo:

"Sometimes I wish eastern Congo could suffer an earthquake or a tsunami, so that it might finally get the attention it needs. The barbaric civil war being waged here is the most lethal conflict since World War II and has claimed at least 30 times as many lives as the Haiti earthquake." - Nicholas Kristof, New York Times,
These barbaric African people, according to Kristof's reasoning,  just can't stop killing each other, so we Western white folks just have to give them some more of our "attention."   

Since Kristof and the Pentagon are still waiting for their earthquake, violence against women in this "barbaric civil war" will have to do.

Stop Violence Against Women in Congo

Very hard to argue against this campaign, this "Run for Congo Women," no?   I'm against violence against women, in Congo and everywhere else.

But I also think Nicholas Kristof should be sold into slavery, or, at the very least fired, for promoting such a racist, imperial, ahistorical distortion of the Congo war and the pain of the Congolese people.

Any Western narrative about Congo should begin by looking back to the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, in 1961, ordered by Dwight Eisenhower, which truncated the hopes and possibilities of the Congolese people, despite their hardwon, and still nominal, independence, in 1960.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

BBC interviews Human Rights Watch and Victoire Ingabiré Umuhoza on Rwanda's 2010 election harassment

On February 10, 2010, BBC World Service spoke to Human Rights Watch's senior researcher Carina Tertsakian about harassment of Rwanda's opposition political parties, in the run-up to Rwanda's August 2010 presidential election, with focus on harassment of the FDU-Inkingi Party and the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda:

Earlier that day, Human Rights Watch had issued a news release titled Rwanda: End Attacks on Opposition Parties, which was reported by the BBC, AFP, Reuters, and Afrique en ligne, but not by the Washington Post, the New York Times, or Africa Online.

Rwanda's Criminal Investigations Divison interrogated Victoire Ingabiré Umuhoza, the presidential candidate of the FDU-Inkingi Party for four hours on the same day that Human Rights issued their news release, and the BBC then interviewed Ingabiré the next day:

In "The power of horror" published in the Los Angeles Times on April 11th, 2009, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth wrote:

". . . the government essentially runs a one-party state. And ironically, it is the genocide that has provided the government with a cover for repression. Under the guise of preventing another genocide, the government displays a marked intolerance of the most basic forms of dissent."

Friday, February 12, 2010

"Twas, Tutsis, and Hutus united against Kagame!"

On February 10, 2010, In Brussels, Rwandan exiles demonstrated outside the Rwandan Embassy, against the repression of opposition political parties in Rwanda's 2010 presidential election.   Some held signs reading "Twas, Tutsis, and Hutus united against Kagame!" in both English and French, the two European languages spoken in Rwanda. 

Others held signs of Victoire Ingabiré Umuhoza, the presidential candidate of the broadbased FDU-Inkingi Party, who was, on the same day, being questioned, for four hours, by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Rwandan Police, about "genocide ideology," "divisionism," and her relationship to the FDLR militia in Eastern Congo.  Also visible were signs that read, in French, "Liberez Joseph!" (Liberate Joseph), and pictures of Joseph Ntawangundi, Mrs. Ingabiré's aide, who was arrested several days after the two of them tried to register their party, and her presidential candidacy.

On the same day, Human Rights Watch issued a news release, "Rwanda: End Attacks on Opposition Parties," stating that "opposition  party members are facing increasing threats, attacks, and harassment in advance of Rwanda's August 2010 presidential election, and urging the government "to investigate all such incidents and to ensure that opposition activists are able to go about their legitimate activities without fear."

The three viable Rwandan opposition parties have faced harassment, threats, bureaucratic roadblocks, arrest, and even violence as they've tried to register and convene so as to field presidential candidates in the race against incumbent President Paul Kagame, the former Rwandan Patriotic Front general trained at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in the U.S.  Neither the FDU-Inkingi nor the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda have been able to register and the government has threatened to revoke the Parti Social-Imberakuri's registration.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Election Rwanda 2010: Paul Kagame, Victoire Ingabiré, & Memories of Genocide

On February 7, 2009, I spoke to the Rwandan FDU-Inkingi Party's presidential candidate Victoire Ingabiré Umuhoza, on the phone from San Francisco, California, U.S.A., to Kigali, Rwanda, for KPFA News.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Rwanda's 2010 presidential election? What election?

by Ann Garrison

Joseph Ntawangundi, an assistant to Rwanda's FDU-Inkingi presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, was  arrested, imprisoned, and charged with the crime of genocide, on February 6th, three days after a mob in civilian clothes assaulted him, and Ingabiré, as the two of them waited for papers to register their party, and her candidacy, at a government office in Rwanda's capital city, Kigali.   Ingabiré was uninjured in the assault, but assailants stole her passport and national identification papers.  She will have to replace them before she can register for Rwanda's 2010 presidential election, though it now seems unlikely that she or any other candidate with any chance of winning will be allowed to run against the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front Party's President Paul Kagame.

Leaders of the ruling RPF Party have been calling for Mrs. Ingabire's arrest for the crime of promoting "genocide ideology" ever since her return to Rwanda, from exile, on January 17th.  

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda has tried five times to convene, beginning in August 2009, only to be met with bureaucratic roadblocks and, on October 30th, violence and arrests, followed by more harrassment, threats and arrests. On February 5th, Interim Rwandan Green Party President Frank Habineza issued a press release stating that he had been accosted, threatened, and warned that he is being watched all the time.   On 02.06.2009, Senegalese Green Party President Papa Meissa Dieng called on Global Greens and the American and European Greens Federations to act while there's still time by creating a mediation group to travel to Rwanda.   Habineza also urged the Global Greens to act now.

The Parti Social-Imberakuri managed to register and nominate Mr. Bernard Ntaganda, but they've since been threatened with exclusion, and accused, like Mrs. Ingabiré, of promoting "genocide ideology."

The statute criminalizing "genocide ideology' was passed to suppress the disputed history of the 1994 genocide, which hangs heavy over Rwanda and this election. Mrs. Ingabiré has put herself at great risk simply by stating that not only Tutsi, but also Hutu people died in the genocidal massacres of 1994, but some American journalists, academics, have gone much farther in challenging the received history.

Rwanda has revoked University of Michigan Professor Allan Stam's VISA because of his collaborations with other academics, investigators, lawyers, and statisticians, and his conclusions that:

- a million people died, 

- the vast majority of those who died were not Tutsi, but Hutu, 

- American, French, and Belgian leaders, including Bill Clinton and the CIA knew what was happening every day as the massacres continued, and 

- current Rwandan President Paul Kagame, a U.S. ally trained at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, is guilty of war crimes of an extraordinary scale. 

Professor Stam also concludes that there are "no good guys in this story," no simple right and wrong.

Mrs. Ingabiré, the FDU-Inkngi Party's candidate, has called for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, like South Africa's after apartheid.

The U.S. and its close ally, Rwanda

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at the 2009 AGOA Conference in Kenya, called Rwanda the beacon of hope for Africa, and, in November 2009, President Bill Clinton presented Rwandan President Paul Kagame with a Global Citizenship Award. However, the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Democracy and Labor's May 2009 report tells a very different story:

"Rwanda is a constitutional republic dominated by a strong presidency. President Paul Kagame was elected to a seven-year term in 2003; the next presidential election is scheduled for 2010. Chamber of Deputies elections that took place in September 2008 were peaceful and orderly, despite irregularities. Significant human rights abuses occurred, although there were improvements in some areas. Citizens' right to change their government was restricted, and extrajudicial killings by security forces occurred. There were significantly fewer reports of torture and abuse of suspects than in previous years. Prison and detention center conditions remained harsh. Security forces arbitrarily arrested and detained persons. Prolonged pretrial detention was a problem, and government officials attempted to influence judicial outcomes, mostly regarding the community-based justice system known as gacaca. There continued to be limits on the freedoms of religion, speech, and association. Restrictions on the press increased. Official corruption was a problem. Restrictions on civil society, recruitment of child soldiers by a Democratic Republic of Congo-based armed group, and trafficking in persons, also occurred."

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Whose news, whose issues, and whose culture, produced by whom, and to what end?

Those were the main issues on my mind on February 3, 2010, as I headed toward 522 Valencia @ 16th Street, in San Francisco, for a public conversation about the future of KPFA Radio, with Steve Zeltzer, Riva Enteen, Jack Heyman, and Associate Bay View Editor J.R. Valrey.

I certainly didn't have all the answers but I had a few points:

1) The station needs a Program Council, which is essential to the community radio model. Since the Program Council was undermined years ago, and still hasn't been revived, I suggest that any individual or collective who wants to do a show take their proposal and/or demo tape to the public comment period of a Local Station Board (LSB) meeting and say they're bringing it to the LSB because there's no place else to take them, even though a Program Council is essential to the community radio model.

I honestly believe that if enough of the great proposals that I think this community is capable of come in, they're going to have to respond.

And, though I know this is problematic, with regard to the by-laws, I think the elected LSB should be the Program Council. I think the by-laws should be amended to make it the Program Council, because when people vote for LSB members, they do so, most of all, in hopes of effecting programming. This is what democracy looks like, imperfect though it may be, and it could hardly be less perfect than the top down management the station has now.

2) If the Program Council could be revived, I'd like to see collectives arise to produce weekly or monthly shows on issues like mass transit, higher education, energy, land use/urban planning/"Redevelopment," and, war'n peace.

We need a new show just to keep track of all the wars the U.S. is involved in at this point, including all the covert U.S. wars in Africa, managed by AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command, and those becoming less covert, as in Somalia and Yemen. Democracy Now is the War'n Peace report, but I think we need a weekly show devoted just to what the U.S. military, the Pentagon, the recruiters, and the defense contractors are up to this week, and, what anybody's doing to resist, with local emphasis.

Allowing communities and coalitions organized around issues like these a chance to pitch and produce a show could widen the station's base of support by widening the number of people who feel they have a stake in the station and thus have a reason to volunteer and contribute.

3) The station should make more creative use of volunteers. Of course someone has to answer the phone during pledge, but that shouldn't be the only thing volunteers are invited to do. Station support communities, or communities who want to support a particular show, could do a lot to get KPFA broadcasts, segments, and the KPFA logo, out into the world via the Web, just by forming groups that make a point of getting them posted to the social networks like Facebook, the Youtube, DIGG, StumbleUpon, Newswvine, and Reddit. Volunteers could also admin Web pages for communities concerned with particular issues and/or shows on the station's website.

This would also make more people, and communities feel they have a stake in the station and a reason to support it.

4) KPFA's going to become an anachronism, soon, if it doesn't get a better grasp of the Web, browsers, and social networks.

The "KPFA community," and the wider Pacifica community, could become its own social network on the Web, or possibly a network within a larger coalition of some sort.

5) The station is spending way too many human and material resources on ephemeral broadcasts because its Web presence is so negligible. Each news and public affairs need to be posted to the station's podcasting channel, with tags and its own URL, sent to the Internet Archive, and indexed in Google News. Other media makers, advocates, list managers, organizers, and social networkers need to be able to find and repost KPFA segments they remember hearing much more readily without knowing how to download and edit them in an audio editor, tag them, and give them a URL, meaning finding an appropriate place to upload them to the Web.

As it is now, the best anyone can do if they want to post a segment of a two hour Morning Show broadcast, or an hour long Flashpoints broadcast, to the Web, is to post a link to the whole audio archive with a note saying, e.g., "The interview with J.R. Valrey about the Oscar Grant case, and his own, is 1 hour and 22 minutes in"---unless they have the time, skill, and patience to download, edit and post the audio.

Here are just a few examples of my own efforts to give life after broadcast to the KPFA News and Flashpoints broadcasts that I've been on myself:

San Francisco recruits; Blue Angels over the Bay

Greens fight for rights in Kagame's Rwanda

Here's a longer segment, close to half an hour, from the KPFA Morning Show, about the privatization of Candlestick Point State Park, in Bay View Hunters Point. I edited this out after downloading the whole two hours, because I thought it was so important, and because resident Nyese Joshua did such a kick ass job as a guest representing the Bay View community.

But, once I'd done the download and edited out the segment, as I really think KPFA staff should, I didn't have time to make a little movie to go with it, so I just slapped the KPFA logo on for posting to the Web.

(Note: To post pieces lengthier than those commonly on the Youtube, one has to put up with a brief advertisement at the outset, as here, on the Internet station, Current TV. The same is true of Vimeo, but KPFA could, I'm sure, obtain Directors' status, so as to post longer pieces on the Youtube and escape the ads. Just hold on about a minute, and, keep in mind that the fight to stop the privatization of Candlestick Point State Park ain't over yet.)

Whose park, for what purpose? Bayview, the Lennar Corporation, and Candlestick Point

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Disputed histories of the Rwanda Genocide

Skulls of victims of one of the massacres during the 1994 Rwandan genocide displayed at the Genocide Memorial Site church of Ntarama in Nyamata, Rwanda.

I was surprised and alarmed on, 02.02.2010, to read Amil Omara-Otunnu's one-sided history of the Rwanda Genocide, "Rwanda Genocide: Lessons for Human Rights Advocacy," in the Black Star News, a publication I rely on for investigative reporting and commentary about Africa.  This is especially disturbing now, as tension around disputed Rwanda Genocide history increases amidst political repression leading up to Rwanda's August 2010 national elections.  

Professor Omara-Otunnu's elegant English, rationality, and partial rightness put this essay leagues above the vicious propaganda currently being published in the Rwanda New Times or the confusion in the Rwanda News Agency, both of which are promptly reproduced on, seemingly without editorial review or discretion, but his account of the Rwanda Genocide and its aftermath is wholly biased towards Rwandan President Paul Kagame, his ruling RPF Party, and the suffering of Rwandans identified as Tutsi.  It disregards all the evidence that Kagame and the RPF are themselves guilty of major human rights violations, including compromised courts and elections, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocidal violence against Rwandan Hutus, and, of ruthless invasion and resource theft in Eastern Congo.  

Omara-Otunnu makes no mention of the tension and repression of opposition political parties in Rwanda now, as the nation's 2010 national elections approach.

And he makes no mention of the Human Rights Watch release pointing to the failure of the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) to indict the ruling RPF, which makes the ICTR's legacy an example of one-sided justice rather than a historic example for human rights investigations and courts to emulate.  

Nor does he mention Rwanda's prisons, which house the third highest per capita prison population in the world, including many political prisoners.

Though he decries the international community's "inaction," in accordance with the received Rwanda genocide narrative, he says nothing about evidence of foreign powers covert involvement, including that of the U.S. and its allies, and France, and/or of their ongoing involvement in Rwanda and the wider region now.

This essay is elegantly written, but the writer's disregard for disputed narratives of the Rwanda Genocide, including those of Victoire Ingabiré Umuhoza, FDU/UDF-Inkingi's 2010 presidential candidate, and the need to reconcile disputed narratives is dangerous and irresponsible.

I should add, however, that Professor Amara-Otunnu's has been outspoken in his opposition to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's state terror and genocidal violence against the Acholi people of Northern Uganda. 

David Barouski's Z-Space Page
Rwanda Documents Project, created by Dr. Peter Erlinger, Lead Defense Counsel for the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda