Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Real Abominables #3 The Rwandan Genocide & Jean Kambanda

Rwanda, slightly smaller than Maryland, is in east-central Africa, surrounded by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi. Steep mountains and deep valleys cover most of the country.

The area was once the home of the Twa, a Pygmy race, but though still present they make up only 1% of Rwanda's population. The Hutu and Tutsi tribes make up most of the remaining population. They are often considered ethnically separate, through intermarriage has led to much sharing of cultures. Traditionally the Hutu were farmers of the land, while the Tutsi raised cattle, and in many cases had become somewhat wealthier than the farmers.

The Hutus settled in the general area between 500 and 1000 B.C. the Tutsis (also known as Watutsis), a nomadic people, arrived from Ethiopia some 400 years ago, settled among the Hutus adopting many of their customs, beliefs and language.

Rwanda became a part of German East Africa in 1890. It was first visited by European explorers in 1854. During World War I, in 1916, it was occupied by Belgian troops. After the war, it became a Belgian League of Nations mandate, along with Burundi, under the name of Ruanda-Urundi.

Belgian leaders forced Hutus and Tutsis to carry ethnic identity cards, something which exacerbated divisions; they allowed Tutsis to attain higher education and hold positions of power, thus maintaining Tutsi dominance. Eventually they did encourage power sharing between Hutu and Tutsi. Ethnic tension led to civil war, forcing many Tutsi into exile. When Rwanda became an independent nation on July 1, 1962, it was under Hutu rule.

The Hutu majority lashed out at the minority Tutsis – killing thousands and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee to neighboring Uganda.

In Oct. 1990, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), Tutsi rebels in exile in Uganda, invaded in an attempt to overthrow the Hutu-led Rwandan government. Peace accords were signed in Aug. 1993, calling for a coalition government. But after the downing of a plane in April 1994 killing presidents of both Rwanda and Burundi, deep-seated ethnic violence erupted.

From United Human Rights Council website

On April 6, 1994, a plane carrying President Habyarimana, a Hutu, was shot down. Violence began almost immediately after that. Under the cover of war, Hutu extremists launched their plans to destroy the entire Tutsi civilian population. Political leaders who might have been able to take charge of the situation and other high profile opponents of the Hutu extremist plans were killed immediately. Tutsi and people suspected of being Tutsi were killed in their homes and as they tried to flee at roadblocks set up across the country during the genocide. Entire families were killed at a time. Women were systematically and brutally raped. It is estimated that some 200,000 people participated in the perpetration of the Rwandan genocide.

In the weeks after April 6, 1994, 800,000 men, women, and children perished in the Rwandan genocide, perhaps as many as three quarters of the Tutsi population. At the same time, thousands of Hutu were murdered because they opposed the killing campaign and the forces directing it.

The Rwandan genocide resulted from the conscious choice of the elite to promote hatred and fear to keep itself in power. This small, privileged group first set the majority against the minority to counter a growing political opposition within Rwanda. Then, faced with RPF success on the battlefield and at the negotiating table, these few power holders transformed the strategy of ethnic division into genocide. They believed that the extermination campaign would reinstate the solidarity of the Hutu under their leadership and help them win the war, or at least improve their chances of negotiating a favorable peace. They seized control of the state and used its authority to carry out the massacre.

The civil war and genocide only ended when the Tutsi-dominated rebel group, the RPF, defeated the Hutu perpetrator regime and President Paul Kagame took control.

Although the Rwandans are fully responsible for the organization and execution of the genocide, governments and peoples elsewhere all share in the shame of the crime because they failed to prevent and stop this killing campaign.

Although the genocidal slaughter seemed a spontaneous eruption of hatred, it has in fact been shown to have been carefully orchestrated by the Hutu government.

In the aftermath of the genocide, an estimated 1.7 million Hutu fled across the border into neighboring Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Although Tutsi rebels took control of the government, they permitted a Hutu, Pasteur Bizimungu, to serve as president, attempting to deflect accusations of a resurgence in Tutsi elitism and to foster national unity. Paul Kagame, the Tutsi rebel leader, became vice president and éminence grise (advisor).

Refugee problems, continued massacres, and the horrific legacy of genocide continued to haunt the national psyche. In Sept. 1998, a UN tribunal sentenced Jean Kambanda, a former prime minister of Rwanda, to life in prison for his part in the 1994 genocide. He became the first person in history to be convicted for the crime of genocide, first defined in the 1948 Genocide Convention after World War II. By 2001, eight others had also been convicted of the same charge. The UN tribunal, however, was criticized for its inefficiency and slow pace. In Dec. 1999, an independent report, commissioned by the UN, took Kofi Annan and other UN officials to task for not intervening effectively in the genocide.

 Jean Kambanda was Prime Minister in the caretaker government of Rwanda from the start of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. He is the only head of government to plead guilty to genocide, in the first group of such convictions since the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide came into effect in 1951.

Kambanda holds a degree in commercial engineering, but his career was in banking. At the time of the April 1994 crisis he was vice president of the Butare section of the opposition Democratic Republican Movement (MDR).

He was sworn in as prime minister on April 9, 1994 after the President, Juvénal Habyarimana, and a former Prime Minister, were assassinated. The opposition MDR had been promised the prime ministerial post in the transitional government established by the Arusha accords, but Kambanda leapfrogged several levels in the party's hierarchy to take the job from the initial choice. He remained in the post for the hundred days of the genocide until July 19, 1994. After leaving office he fled the country.

On September 4, 1998, the ICTR (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) condemned Jean Kambanda to life imprisonment for:
Genocide, and Agreement to commit genocide
Public and direct incitation to commit genocide
Aiding and abetting genocide
Failing in his duty to prevent the genocide which occurred while he was prime minister
Two counts of crimes against humanity

This verdict was upheld by the ICTR Appeal Chamber on October 19, 2000, and Kambanda is currently jailed in Mali.

Sources ~
PBS; Infoplease; Infoplease; Wikipedia


First: Wikipedia appears to have the wrong date of birth for Jean Kambanda. The record of the sentencing hearing states 10 Oct 1955 - not 19th October.

See HERE. See also HERE.

Jean Kambanda, born 10 October 1955 in the Prefecture of Botare, Rwanda. Chart is set for 12 noon - time of birth unknown.

This is another chart where all natal planets are clustered within the span of just a few signs. This is usually thought to indicate a personality with sharp focus on particular aims and ambitions.

The signs emphasised are somewhat surprising - Kambanda is another who could be labelled "not yer textbook Libra-type" as was Irma Grese in a post here. He has Sun, Mercury, Venus and Neptune all in the sign astrology depicts as a set of scales, signifying balance, negotiation, tact, diplomacy - all that good stuff. What went wrong in Kambanda's case? His natal Jupiter (excess) conjunction with Pluto (darkness, death) in Leo is a definite suspect, especially as the conjunction lies in sextile aspect to three of his Libra planets, drawing in at least some of the dark significance in stark contrast to everything Libra usually stands for.

His Leo planets (probably including Moon) clearly represent his talent and ambition for a position of leadership. The fact that Kambanda pleaded guilty to genocide, does reflect, albeit in a very unfortunate way, both Leo leadership (in his willingness to accept responsibility), and an all-but buried Libra-based sense of right and wrong.

So far, in the few charts of The Real Abominables explored, Pluto well-integrated and conjoining personal planets is a common feature; bundled/clustered chart configuration is emerging as being significant too, but more charts needed - early days!


Sonny G said...

I can just see all of the Meanies you've posted about so far standing in front of a full length mirror asking,

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
who's the Cruelest one of all..

this was on aol news this morning and I just wanted to share because you and mike are always so kind to post links to interesting sites.
Perhaps the scientific community is
finally coming to realize Astrology is a True Science after all.


mike said...

Every astrological sign has yin-yang, positive-negative attributes. Libra's positive traits make it easy to forget that it is a cardinal sign, with action, direction, and force. The masculine, air element of Libra allows emotion to escape the equation, allowing the cold, mental calculations of decision-making and strategizing to dictate, leading to fair and balanced jurisprudence as a positive outcome...the opposite as negative traits of Libra. His Venus is in Libra and in its home rule. Venus is positively depicted as planet of love, negatively as the feminine warrior and consort of Pluto.

Though he has four planets in Leo, the Sun (ruler of Leo) is in Libra and therefore disposited or ruled by Venus. ALL of his planets have Venus in Libra as the sole dispositor. Kambanda displayed the negative traits of Libra and-or Venus in his role as Rwandan's PM.

Off topic - http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-10/econ-bsa101714.php

mike (again) said...

Hey, Sonny, we both read the same AOL article...I was busy typing my comment and didn't see your post until submitting my comment.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ They're a bad lot, for sure - personification of evil.

Thanks for the link - I couldn't get it to work, but found the article via Google anyway. Yes, someone comes up with this theory, and a new study on it from time to time - there are several articles around the net from 2010 on the same seasonal theory. If taken seriously it could be the first foot on the ladder, or maybe the first toe of the first foot on the ladder of acceptance, and better than nothing at all towards the idea that astrology isn't simply "folklore". :-)

Twilight said...

mike ~ Thanks - I didn't know Venus had any connection to Pluto in its negative role.

So... what, I wonder, is the trigger that decides whether a person displays positive or negative traits of the prominent aspects in their natal chart? Could it be too much emphasis, too much concentration on certain signs? I seem to remember, when writing about Sarah Palin years ago, that too much Aquarius can turn it into what seemed to me to be a negative direction - in some cases, anyway. In these heavily focused bundled charts this is going to be more evident, isn't it?

Re the link about seasonal matters - yes, there are several older articles on earlier similar studies.
I Googled seasonal astrology - or something similar and several pieces from 2010 came up. It always seems to end there though. Nothing deeper.

mike (again) said...

I read the Wiki link for Kambanda and several other accounts of his role in the genocide. It is difficult to determine whether Kambanda was the leader or a scapegoat for the incident. He wasn't in office but a few months. Yes, his term coincides with horrific events, but accounts vary:
I'm not trying to defend the guy, but there may be more than meets the eye.

I've read several accounts of Saddam Hussein's brutal rein of terror as president of Iraq. However, he managed to maintain an alliance of disparate Islamic factions, which hasn't occurred since his disposition and has since spiralled completely out of control. The American version is that ISIS is to be eliminated. Is the USA (ie, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Obama) liable for genocide and-or war crimes against the Iraqi people? ISIS (Sunni tribe) calls themselves the "pure Islam" and we are killing them in the name of terrorism...is the USA liable for Sunni genocide?

As was mentioned regarding the Catholic Inquisition era, much death and destruction can occur, but labeled in such a way as to make it very palatable and digestible. I doubt that there is any USA president that can claim innocence to some sort of assisting genocide or terrorism occurring on their watch.

Interestingly, when Kambanda was sworn-in on April 9, 1994, he did not have supporting transits to his natal chart:
(I hope this link works)
T Mars-Mercury opposed N Mars
T Uranus-Neptune square N Mercury-Venus-Neptune
T Sun inconjunct N Saturn
T Pluto-N Node square N Pluto-Jupiter

These transits would indicate deception, surprises, conflict, challenges, "karmic" influences

Just the aspects of April 9, 1994, are fairly smooth and harmonious...Jupiter and Pluto are retrograde, however. Advance four months and Jupiter and Pluto are forward, but now Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are retrograde. This is about the time he went into exile.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Thanks, I've now read the links and Kambanda's 2003 statement too.

I agree that there's room for doubt that Kambanda was solely responsible - there's never just one figure responsible, even in cases where it appears to be much clearer than in this one. He appears to be blaming the Rwandan Patriotic Front for what happened, and asserts that any so-called confession he made then was under duress and threat.

We have to bear these things in mind when looking at his natal chart.

I did initially have doubts about posting on Rwanda (someone mentioned it in the previous post in this series, and I commented that I was unsure who the true leader would have been.) Anyway I went ahead with Kambanda's chart, as it seemed the sensible one to use in the circumstances -since he has been imprisoned and is said to have confessed.

We'll never know the full and true sequence of events and who said and did what. Kambanda did take the position of PM, and leap-frogged to get it, he has had to "carry the can". At least he's alive, which is more than can be said for the thousands murdered.

Thanks for your assessment of the chart of his swearing in.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Regarding the USA, ISIS, Iraq, Sunni etc - I don't know - it'll be for historians of the future to assess.
Whether it is classed as genocide or war on "terrorism" - it's still wrong either way.

anyjazz said...

Genocide is unimaginable to most people. To be of that mind and get enough of the rest of the people who can't imagine the whole idea, to do the actual work is really beyond me.

Another thought disturbing post.

LB said...

I was going to recommend the movie, "Hotel Rawanda" *until* I read this review which basically says the film tended to oversimplify in its portrayal of victims, demons and saviors - without taking into consideration the larger historical context: http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/africa-themed-films-hotel-rwanda-fail-give-full-historical-context-101097

As an alternative, the author does recommend the movie, "Sometimes in April": http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/africa-themed-films-hotel-rwanda-fail-give-full-historical-context-101097

I've already seen "Hotel Rawanda" and now plan on renting "Sometimes in April". Disturbing as it'll be, it helps to remember what humans are capable of, our kindness and our cruelty.

I do think most of us tend to oversimplify complicated issues and overcomplicate simple ones. It helps us to make sense of what would otherwise be unimaginable.

LB said...

Adding how I wrote my comment before reading the thoughts of anyjazz.:)

Twilight said...

anyjazz~ Yes, beyond me too. That's why I have this (possibly hare-brained) idea that there really ought to be some clue in astrology - the astrology of those most closely involved.

Twilight said...

LB ~ I haven't seen either of the films you mention. I will try to see one or both at some point.

It's such a tangled topic, especially in attributing blame - but somebody, or some small group, has to be at the root of the monstrous events, in all cases.

"Victors, demons and saviors" might be unclear in some cases - though I have difficulty seeing how that could be, even taking historical context into account. I can see how it might not be totally clear who was the main perpetrator(s), who it was kept the horror going - that part could remain foggy, especially when decades have passed since the events, and those accused have made their excuses.

mike (again) said...

"Rummel defines democide as 'the murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder'. For example, government-sponsored killings for political reasons would be considered democide. Democide can also include deaths arising from 'intentionally or knowingly reckless and depraved disregard for life'; this brings into account many deaths arising through various neglects and abuses, such as forced mass starvation. Rummel explicitly excludes battle deaths in his definition. Capital punishment, actions taken against armed civilians during mob action or riot, and the deaths of noncombatants killed during attacks on military targets so long as the primary target is military, are not considered democide.

... His [Rummel] research shows that the death toll from democide is far greater than the death toll from war. After studying over 8,000 reports of government-caused deaths, Rummel estimates that there have been 262 million victims of democide in the last century. According to his figures, six times as many people have died from the actions of people working for governments than have died in battle."


Rummel's very interesting site:

LB said...

mike ~ I checked out the link on Democide. Thanks.

Seems like the definition should include lack of affordable housing, water (as in Detroit) and access to affordable healthcare - just to name a few other examples. Or maybe it does already???

With all the talk of deadly viruses right now, I keep thinking how those of us without affordable healthcare will be the first to go.

People who can't afford the costs associated with healthcare -here in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world- are far less likely to be seen for a fever, or vomiting, or some other random symptom - and in some instances, are also far less likely to receive appropriate care even if they do seek help: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26861-privatized-ebola

mike (again) said...

Twilight, the Rummel link in my last comment listed the UK at 816,000 democides from 1900 to 1987. Piqued my curiosity, so I searched and, sure enough, UK colonial genocide-democide pops-up, but very limited sources for the 20th century...many more hits for pre-20th century.


I thought this was an interesting observation-essay regarding the Rwandan genocide:
"Over the course of European occupation in Rwanda, elitism was successfully refashioned into racism. By preventing Hutu access to higher education and administrative jobs, they were essentially closed off from the political arena and representation in such. Moreover, the documentation of ‘ethnic groups’ enhanced the importance of these rigid classifications. No longer was there flexibility between groups. Ethnic boundaries were clearly defined. So Hutu, excommunicated from power experienced the solidarity of the oppressed. Over time this rift, this pronounced separateness between Hutu and Tutsi, blossomed into hatred. Why? Because of the Europeans who came to colonize and bring the wealth of western knowledge, but instead brought racist ideologies. Though the roots of this ethnic hatred and in turn ethnic genocide can be tied to European colonialism that does not mean that Europeans can be blamed for these atrocities. According to UN staff members, 'the whole world failed Rwanda…' (Gourevitch)."

mike (again) said...

LB -
"The answer is simple. We may have understood globalization intellectually, but we have not digested its emotional effects, and we, for sure, have not yet experienced the full practical effect of its sting. The fallout of Ebola will be huge. The World Bank estimates $32.6 billion worth by end 2015. The tens of thousands of lives that will be lost, even in the best-case scenario, won’t fit on a monetary scale.

Next time, it will not be Ebola. Perhaps it will be a truly contagious disease, a flulike pandemic, or something else with high mortality rates and airborne transmission. If so, are we still going to allow the world to have a handful of collapsed states? Can we really live with the situation that there are some 20 countries in the world with virtually no working healthcare system with the capacity to stop or even manage an epidemic?

Interestingly, what the world agreed to as the UN Millennium Development goals which all expire in 2015 were formulated almost as moral imperatives: do not let these poor people in far off places suffer in silence. The opposite is true. As upcoming goals, we should enact basic sanitation, healthcare, governance in failed or collapsing states not simply because of moral concerns, but because of our own safety concerns. We live on one planet. That planet is connected. We now call it globalization. Get with the program."

Twilight said...

mike ~ I hadn't come across the term democide before - I can see the difference from true genocide (when a whole culture is exterminated), but some examples are still commonly called genocide - e.g. Mao Zedong is mentioned in the article, ad perpetrating democide, whereas most sources recognise what he did as genocide. Equally bad, of course, and a similar personality is likely to be in leadership positions for both types.

British Empire did lots of wrongs in its heyday, for sure - as did other European colonial rulers (France, Spain, Holland, for instance).
As allies of the US most haven't improved much to date! :-(

Re Rwanda - With hindsight historians are able to find root causes linked to European colonialism. No argument from me on that - but still it takes a certain kind of character to actually carry out genocides, or order them to be carried out - whatever combination of causes, old or new, might exist.

So I shall stick with the weekly posts on this for just one more "go" next week, then give it a rest and, maybe, once in a while go back to the topic and look at another example.

jpbenney said...

Mike and author, to my mind, it's not exactly true that a "non-textbook" Libra would be so much the sort of person that Jean Kambanda was. As you point out, Libra is a cardinal sign and very much the kind of sign that seeks social status.

At their worst, all the cardinal signs let ends justify means, which Libra will do to create social unity and group status as far as is fair.

You know, your posts on Kambanda and Irma Grese reminded me of Edith Stein, the philosopher, Catholic convert, Carmelite nun and controversial saint. It's hardly to be expected that the most social and most worldly sign of the zodiac would pruduce a woman attracted to the rigorous obedience and spartaness of "Carmel", nor the doctrinaire philosophies of Catholicism!

Even with your three posts on them, Edith Stein - especially as her chart is exceptionally airy despite some powerful interactions of the Moon, Neptune and Pluto - seems much more "not yer textbook Libra-type" than Irma Grese or especially Kambanda.

Twilight said...

jpbenney ~ Textbook Libra-types, as depicted in popular astrology, can give a mistakenly over-benign flavour to the sign - I've come to realise that. Same applies to Aquarius-types.

I wasn't familiar with Edith Stein's
story, but read a little about her
history this morning. Her very Airy chart does match, very well, her impressive intellectual gifts. I suppose there's an argument that in her case the Libran sense of balance mnifested in her ability to embrace both Jewish and Roman Catholic beliefs with equal sincerity. I guess her Virgo Mars/Saturn was key to her acceptance of the rigours of "Carmel" and RC doctrines.

mike (again) said...

astro.com has 12:30 AM as birth time, Leo ascendant:

astrotheme.com states 7:30 PM with Gemini ascendant.

Either way, Stein's Neptune-Pluto (both square Jupiter) and Mars-Saturn conjunctions remind me of the perfect victim or the perfect abuser. All of her planets are disposited by Venus in Libra, except for Jupiter in Pisces. A model Libran, but that pesky Jupiter in Pisces square Neptune-Pluto made her more in death than in life, with a bonus controversy of faith vs race.