Rwanda's Leading Murderer | Paul Kagame

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KIGALI, Rwanda - Ever since the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the international community has been slow to criticize Rwanda's new government and slow to intervene in matters there. This hesitancy to get involved is rooted back to their fear of being to blame for another outbreak of civil war, or worse, genocide. Despite having dirty hands from not stepping in to prevent or stop the genocide, they're fearful of further worsening their guilt by interposing in Rwandan affairs and having a role in any resurgence of violence.

This pattern in the past two decades has created the perfect scenario for Rwanda's president, Paul Kagame. By the end of the genocide, he was viewed as an international hero for easing the chaos and in essence, helping to end the genocide. For his role in restoring stability in Rwanda, the international community paid him back by turning a blind eye to his illegal, murderous and scary actions that would continue to this day. His role in the First and Second Congo War are undeniable, as his political and military decisions were directly tied to thousands of deaths and continued war and violence that spread into neighboring countries.

Twenty years after the Rwandan genocide, Kagame is still in power and still continuing to enforce his intense and total grip on power across the country. Opposition leaders and journalists are commonly jailed, silenced, exiled, or worse, killed. In the past several months, over 40 bodies have turned up in Lake Wreru on the border of Rwanda and Burundi. Rwanda's government conveniently claims that since they were found in Burundi, they are Burundi's responsibility. However, the lake is fed by Akagera River that flows in from Rwanda. To add to the suspicion, many of the bodies were wrapped in plastic bags, indicating that the disappearances were planned and not accidental.

To add to Kagame's list of crimes, there have been a string of mysterious murders in South Africa where former Rwandan government officials that were exiled have been murdered in their hotel rooms and the like. Adding all of these occurrences up, it is evident that these events are not coincidences but are a part of a larger plan to remove dissent and criticism from the country. And without the international community stepping in to hold Kagame and his team accountable, how far will he go? After two decades of overlooking their wrongdoings, when it will it become too much?

Follow Jessamy on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Africa Correspondent: @JessamyNichols

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The Central African Republic Crisis Rages On

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Jessamy Nichols, Africa Correspondent
Last Modified: 23:16 p.m. DST, 18 December 2013

CAR Rebel Exercising, Photo by hdptcarCENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, Africa - I first wrote about the Central African Republic’s deplorable conditions in September, and the situation has worsened since. Luckily, the international community has recently made much larger efforts to step in, intervene, and restore stability but there is still immense and lofty work to be done.

From December 5th through 7th, UNICEF reported that within those 72 hours alone, 60,000 citizens were displaced and 394 were killed. At this point a week ago, the internally displaced persons count had risen to half a million people.

After this extremely deadly period of three days, France finally decided to send in troops to this area and militarily push to end the conflict.

Although international presence may help resolve this conflict in the main hotspots, the destruction and horrors are continuing across the country in small villages and areas isolated from help.

IDP camps are popping up across the country, and as they do, these displaced persons also lack access to adequate shelter, sanitation, food and water. These problems are thus mounting and exponentially piling on top of one another, so more must be done before the damage is irreversible and before more innocent people die.

This international intervention also follows the successful work by the UN and MONUSCO to shut down the M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, so this could hopefully be a precedent for how to end the rebellious conflict in the Central African Republic. If the UN and its diverse troops were able to tackle several conflicts such as these, this may set a much needed tone for African states that murderous rebels will not be tolerated.

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Toto

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Chrycka Harper, Poet & Literary CriticLast Modified: 02:10 a.m. DST, 17 December 2013

TotoToto, Toto Where am I? I don't think we're in Kansas anymore. My footsteps lead us here: But what is here? I heard we are at the Mecca But our leader is leaving and creativity has gone missing.

I heard we are in the Nation's capital, but the government is shut down, Obamacare is supposedly around, and everything seems upside down. It's all a rhythm that I am not familiar with.

Toto, Toto I don't know what to think. We never saw so many shades of brown adorned with different expressions of what it means to be brown. Yet verses of ghetto anecdotes flow from boys' mouths like scriptures.

Versace, Versace, Versace, they can click their heels three times and they still can't afford it or even spell it. But when I quote the Lord is my shepherd and everlasting collective love, they act like they can't even see the picture.

Women waddling around, bobbing heads arms tied behind their backs only to get so far. Multicolored lips, hair, and shoes yet their minds still live in black and white.

It's like they forgot about Lauryen Hill's doo wop doo wop That thing in which we cannot speak But their tongues are so familiar with. Children running in circles But missing out on the circle of life. One down then its on to the next one. I thought that we would give our soldiers the best weapons for war, But instead they get guns.

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Published: 17 December 2013 (Page 2 of 2)

No child left behind But they fly under radar All the time Success after success of missing land mines and traps until when? Until they reach enemy territory then what?

Battles exchange, victories are won Then our children come home But they still don't know how to wade in the water. Help can barely exit their mouths so they try to wade and do what society says.

We tell them to disregard their fantasy, but we continue to imagine our reality. The true reality is that these souls try to operate in the zone in which they are comfortable at dawn, but it still remains at twilight. To the point where event the doctors, lawyers, and police can't save lives But rather push the waves to their demise.

A demise that so happened to be at Columbine. Newton. The Navy Yard. Miles away from where my footsteps leave off...

Toto, Toto I know we're not in Kansas anymore. Kansas had yellow green grass and rolling flatlands going nowhere. We never fit in and never would.

But I know when my true home Have been removed from its village. Now the only thing I see is A sky without a sun. This is what happens when people Don't listen to history. Instead They play the same songs.

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Poet & Literary Critic: @chrycka_harper

Central African Republic's Tragic Conditions

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Jessamy Nichols, Africa CorrespondentLast Modified: 21:41 p.m. DST, 12 September 2013

CAR Malaria Victim Helped by Aid Victim, Photo by Merlin-Frédéric Courbet-PanosCENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, Africa - A few United Nations agencies have released new reports that disclose the dire statistics of the current status of the Central African Republic (CAR). Although a peace agreement was reached in January between the national government and the Séléka rebel coalition, the rebels soon reclaimed the capital of Bangui and have since repeatedly stirred up violence and lawlessness through the volatile country.

The newest UN reports reveal that villages are still being burned to the ground by armed militants which has forced thousands to flee their homes and seek basic human necessities. It is has been calculated that over a third of the country's population of 4.6 million people are in desperate need of food, shelter, healthcare, water, protection and sanitation.

This is clearly a huge humanitarian crisis, and poses a threat to the ever-increasing unstable region. The DRC to the south has its own civil conflict raging on, and refugees from the CAR are fleeing into neighboring Chad and Cameroon daily.

As torture, looting, kidnapping, assaults and extortion continue through the country, UN agencies are trying to provide all of the assistance they can, but it is imperative that the central government regain control of the country and put an end to the rebels' stronghold on power. As long as the rebels have unchecked power, they will continue to ravage the countryside for food, supplies, and potential human capital.

Follow Jessamy on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Africa Correspondent: @JessamyNichols

President Otto Perez Molina Accused of Genocide

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Alex Hamasaki, Student InternLast Modified: 14:04 DST, 10 April 2013

Otto Pérez Molina, Presidente de Guatemala, Photo Courtesy of Casa de Americas

GUATEMALA CITY - During the trial of the former U.S.-backed military president Efrain Rios Montt, a former soldier implicated the former army general and current Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina in civil war atrocities.

Hugo Reyes, a soldier who was a mechanic in part of the engineering brigade in the area where atrocities were carried out, told the court that Molina ordered soldiers to burn and pillage during Guatemala’s civil war with leftist guerillas in the 1980s, reports Latino Fox News.

Molina was elected president for the conservative Patriotic party and assumed office on January 14, 2012.

Reyes said that “the people who were to executed arrived at the camp beaten, tortured, their tongues cut out, their fingernails pulled out.”

Montt is also being held on trial for charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, with connection of the deaths of 1,771 Mayan Indians during his military dictatorship that lasted from March 1982 to August 1983, backed by the U.S. in his counterinsurgency against guerillas.

Victims of the Guatemalan massacres also gave testimonies. Julio Velasco Raymundo told the court that he witnessed the Guatemalan army shelling villages full of civilians.

The Guatemalan civil war lasted between 1960 and 1996, with heightened violence and terror during the reign of Montt in the 1980s. Several guerilla groups were rebelled against the government in a response to state repression and lack of representation.

Two guerrilla groups emerged in the early 1980s: the Guerrilla Army of the Poor (EGP) and the Organization of the People in Arms (ORPA). The geographical areas of activity of both guerilla groups corresponded with zones of high indigenous presence. The EGP and ORPA drew large numbers of members from the indigenous population, and they had bases of support among the poor and ladino middle classes of the capital city.

The government viewed the indigenous population as a threat and began the systematic killing of indigenous Mayan Indians assumed to be associated with the guerilla groups. The “kill list” of indigenous Mayans continued to grow, including non-violent leaders. From the start, the Guatemalan government was not fond of the indigenous Mayans, and were especially brutal toward them.

The Guatemalan Truth Commission estimated during the 36-year conflict, 200,000 people were murdered, 85 percent of whom were indigenous.

The Guatemalan government could not have performed these atrocities without outside assistance from their allies, Israel and the United States. From the U.S. assistance in a coup d’etat in 1954 to the Carter Administration, the U.S. provided the Guatemalan government military aid and troop training to assist with the combat of guerilla groups. When the U.S. decreased their aid to Guatemala, Israel stepped up in the 1970s and created an intelligence network within Guatemala, providing Guatemala with military intelligence, weapons, and military training.

Throughout the trials, Latino Fox News reports that Montt has remained silent, his lawyers saying that there was a lack of clear evidence that proved Montt is responsible for the crimes committed by Guatemalan troops.

Follow Alex Hamasaki on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Student Intern: @aghamasaki

Ugandans Leverage Viral Activism

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 23:54 PM EDT,  23 April 2012

Evelyn, she was one of LRA leader Joseph Kony's child brides, Photo by Sean SpragueKAMPALA, Uganda - The Joseph Kony video that revealed gross human rights abuses in Uganda, particularly with regard to the kidnapping of children who were subsequently pressed into war as child soldiers, is not without its critics. Many Ugandans feel that their involvement in fighting against the ills that plague their war-torn country were portrayed peripherally if at all.

In the video below, the Ugandan people want the world to remember that they are like other people living in conflict areas around the world - they are inherently resilient, dedicated to conflict resolution, and involved in creating solutions to the problems which afflict their country and society.

This does not mean that The Kony 2012 video which went viral was not positive, only that it didn't go as far as it could from the perspective of the Ugandan people. There are many Ugandan activists on the ground making a difference, in fact, we recently featured a post on 'Victoria Seeds | Josephine Okot,' who is working to reeducate and train women to become successful farmers and businesswomen.

Africans are no different from most people engaged in life or death struggles. They are people of great courage fighting for the right of self-determination like groups in countries across the Middle East, fighting for the right to live in a conflict free society as are people in other countries across Africa, and for economic or religious equality as do people in Asia, Europe and the United States.

The difference usually lies in how the media portrays Africans versus these other cultures. Unfortunately, Africans are often portrayed as victims instead of victorious survivors, capable of effecting positive, lasting change in their societies and communities without external intervention. Though the Kony 2012 video is not guilty of this bias, many Africans through force of habit and historical experiences, reacted to the video with lukewarm response.

Thus, the first video features Ugandans telling their stories in their voices about their lives and the many challenges they face in their country including Kony. They share with us how this conflict has affected them, but also how they are persevering, thriving, and succeeding.

The second video is a response by the producers of the Kony 2012 video to its many critics, and documents the genesis of the project, the original objectives, and the utter surprise that this video project would garner so much attention and support.

Whatever side of the discussion you find yourself on, this video has done more than most in bringing the genocide that is occurring across the Continent front and center to the global consciousness. It is both inspirational and instructive because it demonstrates that each one of us is capable of making a profoundly positive difference, and if we just have the courage of conviction to follow-through on our dreams, we may be surprised at the global impact our vision coupled with action can have.

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