the 1994 genocide did not come from the blue. Of course there were raids of Tutsi group RPF, which was based in Uganda. It was led by General Kagame, who is presently president of Rwanda. The group was–RPF was supplied by both Ugandan forces, but also by the United States. There was a very close link between them and the United States. It grew from very insignificant group to a force of thousands of well-armed men.
General Kagame at the time was–he was intelligence chief of Ugandan military, of Ugandan army. Can you imagine a foreigner actually being intelligence chief in the foreign country?
And then what was happening is that, as was told to me by a former ambassador of the United States to Rwanda, Mr. Flaten, the relationship was very close and very–and there was a direct–there was direct supply, direct training, direct support of the United States for RPF. After the genocide, after 1994, when many Hutus actually fled to neighboring Congo, Rwanda became a place which was used, together with Uganda, to fulfill geopolitical and economic ambitions of the United States and European Union in that area, meaning Congo, which is one of the richest places on earth in terms of natural resources–it has coltan, which we use for our mobile phones [incompr.] uranium, diamond, gold, and so on. Congo was actually plundered by RPF, by Rwandan forces, but also by Ugandan army, on behalf of the U.S. and European multinational companies, and some would say on behalf of the governments.
Now, just to show you how close the relationships were and are, some people, like Tony Blair, the prime minister of U.K., after retiring, he became, actually, a direct adviser to Paul Kagame. Bill Clinton was very close to the government. And also, as we probably all know, Kagame before and after was several times visiting United States. He received military training at the U.S. bases. And his son is also receiving military training–received military training in the U.S. So this is just a short overview.
What happened after–other very important lesson is that truth always has to be learned, because we are always talking about the genocide of 1994 in Rwanda, and of course it was horrible and people died, and 800,000 people died. But as I was told by Congolese presidential candidate at the time, /bɛnkəˈlɑːlɑː/, he said, well, we are talking about 800,000 people, and I’m very sorry for them, but look what happened in Congo. Between six and, by now, between six and ten million people died. Ten million. That’s the worst genocide, actually, that happened after the Second World War. It was probably worse than partition between Pakistan and India. And nobody’s talking about it. It’s a total taboo subject.
So we also have to–one thing we can learn is that if one thing is left unchecked, if the history is not being addressed, like the history of 1994, a horrible bloodletting or genocide, then the conflict can spread all over the region, as it can destroy many more lives. So in this case, in the case of Congo, it was perhaps ten times more people who vanished than those who died during the [incompr.] genocide itself.
Also what we have to learn is that geopolitical interests of the West should by no means be allowed to destroy entire nations. I mean, we have what happened in Rwanda in 1994 again is somehow very similar or it is resembling the events in Indonesia in 1965 or in Chile in 1973.
So there are many lessons that we can learn. But definitely some very powerful ones about neocolonialism, and also about the truth, about the truth not being told.