New understandings of populism
3 days ago
"I am presently awaiting execution at Pretoria Central Gaol having been sentenced to death at the beginning of the year. On October 2, 1964, Captain Geldenhuys and two other policemen came to see me. They asked me if I had been informed that my appeal had been dismissed. I told them I was not interested to know from them what my advocate said. They then said there was still a chance for me to be saved, as they knew I was the big boss of the movement in the Eastern Cape. I must just tell them where the detonators and revolvers were, and they would help me. I refused. They then asked me about Wilton Mkwayi [subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment]. They said I saw Mkwayi in January 1963. I said `Yes.' They asked me if I was prepared to give evidence against Mkwayi whom they had now arrested. I said `No, I was not.' They said there was a good chance for them to save me from the gallows if I was prepared to assist them. I refused to assist. When they asked would I make the Amandla Ngawethu [‘Power is ours'] salute when I walked the last few paces to the gallows, I said, `Yes'. After a few more jokes of that nature, they left.
"The last evening was devastatingly sad as the heroic occupants of the death cells communicated to the prison in gentle melancholy song that their end was near... It was late at night when the singing ceased, and the prison fell into uneasy silence. I was already awake when the singing began again in the early morning. Once again the excruciatingly beautiful music floated through the barred windows, echoing round the brick exercise yard, losing itself in the vast prison yards.
And then, unexpectedly, the voice of Vuyisile Mini came roaring down the hushed passages. Evidently standing on a stool, with his face reaching up to a barred vent in his cell, his unmistakable bass voice was enunciating his final message in Xhosa to the world he was leaving. In a voice charged with emotion but stubbornly defiant he spoke of the struggle waged by the African National Congress and of his absolute conviction of the victory to come. And then it was Khayinga's turn, followed by Mkaba, as they too defied all prison rules to shout out their valedictions. Soon after, I heard the door of their cell being opened. Murmuring voices reached my straining ears, and then the three martyrs broke into a final poignant melody which seemed to fill the whole prison with sound and then gradually faded away into the distant depths of the condemned section."
To accept the standard model of “The Genocide,” one must ignore the large-scale killing and ethnic cleansing of Hutus by the RPF long before the April-July 1994 period, which began when Ugandan forces invaded Rwanda under President (and dictator) Yoweri Museveni on October 1, 1990. At its inception, the RPF was a wing of the Ugandan army, the RPF’s leader, Paul Kagame, having served as director of Ugandan military intelligence in the 1980s. The Ugandan invasion and resultant combat were not a “civil war,” but rather a clear case of aggression. However, the invasion led to no reprimand or cessation of support by the United States or Britain—and, in contrast to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait just two months before, which was countered in the Security Council by a same-day demand that Iraq withdraw its forces immediately—the Council took no action on the Ugandan invasion of Rwanda until March 1993. It did not even authorize an observer mission (UNOMUR) until late June 1993, the RPF by then having occupied much of northern Rwanda and driven out several hundred thousand Hutu farmers.
Paul Kagame and the RPF were creatures of U.S. power from their origins in Uganda in the 1980s. Allan Stam, a Rwanda scholar who once served with the U.S. Army Special Forces, notes that Kagame “had spent some time at Fort Leavenworth…not too far before the 1994 genocide.” Fort Leavenworth is the U.S. Army’s “commander general staff college…where rising stars of the U.S. military and other places go to get training as they are on track to become generals. The training that they get there is on planning large scale operations. It’s not planning small-scale logistic things. It’s not tactics. It’s about how do you plan an invasion. And apparently [Kagame] did very well.”
By 1994, Kagame’s RPF possessed, in addition to the necessary manpower and material, a sophisticated plan for seizing power in Rwanda that, in its final execution, Stam says, “looks staggeringly like the United States’ invasion of Iraq in 1991.” Stam adds that the RPF launched its final assault on the Rwandan government almost immediately after the assassination of Habyarimana, within 60 to 120 minutes of the shooting-down of his jet, with “50,000 [RPF] soldiers mov[ing] into action on two fronts, in a coordinated fashion”—clearly “a plan that was not worked out on the back of an envelope
Very big lies about Rwanda are now institutionalized and are part of the common (mis)understanding in the West. In reality, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame is one of the great mass murderers of our time, far surpassing Uganda’s former dictator Idi Amin.41 Yet, thanks to the remarkable myth structure that surrounds him, he enjoys immense popularity with his chief patron in Washington, his image of big-time killer transmuted into that of an honored savior, deserving strong Western support. Philip Gourevitch, one of Kagame’s prime apologists for many years, portrays him as an emancipator, a “man of action with an acute human and political intelligence,” who “made things happen.” He also compares Kagame to “another famously tall and skinny civil warrior, Abraham Lincoln.”42 A more recent hagiography by Stephen Kinzer portrays Kagame as the founding father of a New Africa, “one of the most amazing untold stories of the modern history of revolution,” as Kinzer explains it, because Kagame overthrew a dictatorship, stopped a genocide, and turned Rwanda into “one of the great stars” of the continent, with Western investment and favorable PR flowing.43 In fact, what Kagame overthrew was a multiethnic, power-sharing, coalition government; what Kagame imposed was a Tutsi-dominated dictatorship; and what Kagame turned Rwanda and the whole of Central Africa into was a rolling genocide that is ongoing. But it is true that he is a shining “star” in the Western firmament and its propaganda system
The Pentagon has very actively supported these invasions of the DRC, even more heavily than it supported the RPF’s drive to take Kigali. This support led to the killing of many thousands of Hutu refugees in a series of mass slaughters (ca. 1994-1997), and also provided cover for a greater series of Kagame-Museveni assaults on the DRC that have destabilized life in this large country of perhaps sixty million people, with millions perishing in the process.56 In his letter of resignation to Chief Prosecutor Hassan Jallow, Filip Rentjens, a Dutch academic and one-time expert witness before the ICTR, took issue with the “impunity” that protects the RPF leadership from prosecution. “[RPF] crimes fall squarely within the mandate of the ICTR,” he wrote. “[T]hey are well documented, testimonial and material proof is available, and the identity of the RPF suspects is known….It is precisely because the regime in Kigali has been given a sense of impunity that, during the years following 1994, it has committed massive internationally recognized crimes in both Rwanda and the DRC
The tea party people get up in the morning and they make phone calls to each other that they‘re going to go to a rally. And they use a subsidized telephone system. Then they drive down a road that was built by the government that is protected by government workers called highway patrolmen.
They get to a rally and they carry their signs and they are protected by the firemen and the policemen who are in that town. And then they eagerly drive home and say, “It was a success". We‘re against the government.
So you have got to have government that works. In Montana, we‘re one of the two states that have a surplus. We have $400 million in the bank. But I‘m still challenging expenses. I‘m not cutting government. We‘re challenging expenses of government, the same way a small businesses and some big businesses all over the country are. It‘s not a sin to be frugal. It‘s not a sin to challenge expenses. But it is a sin to cut back on education for our most valuableresource. And when we‘re expected to keep people in prison, we should keep them in prison. Don‘t turn them loose because, well, you‘ve got a bad budget. That‘s government that doesn‘t work.