Monday, November 20, 2017

Translator's Notes to PM Jean KAMBANDA's Rwanda in the Apocalypse of 1994

Image result for google image kambanda
Prime Minister of the Interim Government of Rwanda
(7 April to 16 July 1994)

[I recently had the great honor and pleasure of translating Rwandan Prime Minister Jean KAMBANDA's book, Rwanda in the Apocalypse of 1994 and hope it will soon be available for all Anglophones to read.  It is an important story that casts light on the current impossibility of reconciliation, with Justice and moral rectitude, in that country as it is now ruled by the war-criminal Paul Kagame.  Here are some of the Notes I attached to the translated text.--mc]

Translator’s Notes

    The philosopher's task consists in comprehending all of natural life through the 
   more encompassing life of history.” 
                  --Walter Benjamin, Selected Writings, Vol. I, (1913-1926)
                       Cambridge, Massachuesetts
                       London, England

   Understanding the (recent) History of Rwanda (Central Africa) is a daunting, but wildly interesting, pursuit.  Jean Kambanda came to my attention in 1996 while I was working in Paris on the Yugoslavia dossier. I was writing about the so-called ‘Bosnian Genocide’ for a small French-language monthly newsletter, Balkans-Infos, when a colleague on the B-I Editorial Committee, Diana Johnstone, renowned journalist, expert on Atlantist relations, and the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions, introduced me to International Defense attorney Christopher Black.  Chris cleared up a misconception popular among Eurocentrics, that Slobodan Milosevic, former two-term president of Serbia and among the leaders of the rump-Yugoslavia (when it was just Serbia and Montenegro), was thought to be the first national leader to be charged with Genocide for allowing the killing of 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys by troops of the former-Yugoslav army’s (JNA) Drina Corps led by General Radko Mladic, which occured in July 1995 in the UN-declared ‘Safe Haven’ of Srebrenica.  Chris told me that, in fact, that distinction went to the Prime Minister of the Interim Government of Rwanda (between the assassination of President Habyarimana [6/4/94] and the military seizure of Rwandan Capital City, Kigali, and with it the power of the State, by [Ugandan] Major-General Paul Kagame and his mercenary-comme-refugee-RPF ‘rebels’):  Mr. Kambanda. 

    The need to record such seemingly small details became an obsession with me as I started a blog (CirqueMinime/Paris) and began reading outside of the mainstream writing on Rwanda. 

·         --Philip Gourevitch’s generally sentimentalized (even mendacious) rendering of the RPF takeover of Kigali, We Wish to Inform You. . . etc., very much mainstream and against which I had been warned by many Africa-hands, nonetheless brought to my attention that in the 1930’s Hutu intellectuals were becoming so effective in their Soviet Communist agit-prop that the Arch-Bishop of Kigali was forced to issue an edict warnng the Rwandan people of the terrible fate Communism held for them;

·       --Then, still within the Popular Current, while reading what I mistakenly thought was the original (French) version of General Dallaire’s book, J’ai serré la main du diable, I learned of an almost colleagial, even romantic relationship that had developed between the bloody ‘rebel’ leader, Kagame, and the Chief of the UN Aid Mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR)—including a number of ‘sleep-overs’ in Mulindi prior to the fateful missile strike.

·        --While visiting General Ndindiliyimana in jail in Arusha, he turned me on to a book by an RPF lieutenant, the late Joshua Abdul Ruzibiza, Rwanda l’histoire secrete, which delineating the finer points of RPF strategy, making it obvious just who and how and to what ends had both the Rwandan Government and Military been decapitated on 6 April 1994, bringing the invaders of the country to the realization of their final plan;

·          --Then the works of Pierre Péan (esp. Noires fureurs, blancs menteurs, and Carnages: les guerres secretes des grandes puissances en Afrique) revealed motives among Western powers that might bring about the sort of disaster that befell Rwanda (e.g., a cupiditous lusting after access to all the wealth of Congo and the Great Lakes region, generally) and greatly developed a context for the strong case against the current RPF government of the country.

·           --Though I translated many excerpts from the works of the aforementioned and other French writers and posted them on the CM/P blog, my first serious long-form translation was of the Bruguière Report.  Of course, an official English-language version of the BR was issued by the Commission of Inquiry—just as the ICTY and ICTR issued transcripts and reports in both French and English—, but I found many detail-errors (like the provenance of the Presidential jet on 6/4/94 or the political chains of command in the Yugoslav Republics [e.g., Slobodan Milosevic was never President of Yugoslavia]) went uncorrected and continue to pollute unto poison the discourse still today.

·            --The first complete book I translated was brought to me by French Legionnaire Col. Jacques Hogard, one of the officers on the French Rescue Mission to Rwanda, Operation Tourquoise, as well as being a Yugo-hand with subsequent service in Kosovo.  He asked me to translate the book by Ambassador Jean-Marie-Vianney Ndagijimana, How General Paul Kagame Sacrificed the Tutsi.

·          --Then the works of the Cameroonian investigative journalist Charles Onana came to my attention, especially his works on Rwanda and the International Justice system, and Charles gave me my second book to translate, Coupe d’État in Côte d’Ivoire.  This was a gripping story of how Laurent Gbagbo was brought down by the West with the criminal utilization of France—much as is still happening in the former Pré Carré today.  Disagreements as to the translation of certain terms (e.g., Invasion for Intervention, etc.) were thought to be “less than objective” and the English version has not been published.  (MI6?)

·           --Finally, Chris Black brought me Prime Minister Jean Kambanda’s Rwanda in the Apocalypse of 1994, and my cup of significant details raneth over.

    Do these little pieces of information really matter?  If the doomed presidential jet with Rwandan President Juvénal HABYARIMANA and his Burundian counterpart and fellow democratically-elected Hutu Head-of-State, Cyprien NTARYAMIRA, on board—as well as their entourages, which included the Rwandan Army Chief of Staff, Déogratias NSABIMANA (thereby allowing the killers to decapitate the Rwandan government AND its military with a single missile strike)—began its fateful flight from Arusha (as is still mistakenly posited by various anti-Kagame/anti-Habyarimana sources) rather than its actual provenance from Dar es Salaam and a bogus regional peace conference called by Kagame-god-father and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, for the sole purpose of setting up a mass assassination, can anything of historical significance be gleaned from the perpetuation of such an error?  I believe that the devilish details also carry the angels of Historical Truth—that same ideal that Jean Kambanda has claimed to be his overriding motive.

      In early 2001, as Chris Black was preparing the defense of Chief of the Rwandan National Gendarmie during the ‘troubles’ (1992-1994), Major-General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, he invited me on a TGV-ride from Paris to Brussels, to attend a memorial service for General Ndindiliyimana’s sixteen-year-old son, Alain, who had recently died from treatment for leukemia.  On that short train ride, Maître Black, with a thumb-nail resumé of recent Rwandan history, piqued my curiosity.  But it was when we reached Alain’s memorial service in Dendermonde and I heard the General’s family and friends reading his young son’s letters to his father (each time a reader recited the word ‘Papa,’ I could hear my own young French son, Max—then just three--addressing me, telling me how very important was this story that he had promised to record for his Papa), I was overcome.  I became convince that this was a story, still an extraordinarily little-known history, that I, too, had to tell.

    After seventeen years in Europe, mostly in Paris, I returned to the US in 2011 and was asked to make a presentation at New York City’s Brecht Forum: Rwanda/Libya: Same Counter-Revolution, Different Day ( I was shocked at how much more this leftish crowd knew about Libya’s Jamahiriya Revolution than they did about Rwanda’s MRND national-movement—because of an anti-French bias over Libya’s difficult relations with its neighbor, and France’s ally, Chad, Gaddafy took up strong positions in support of Kagame and the RPF and against the Habyarimana MRND government as to the 1994 Genocide.  Ironically, this pro-Kagame bias brought Gaddafy in line with his arch-enemy Israel, which felt the criminal regime in Kigali represented the victimized Tutsi, known by some as the Jews of Africa.  Such incongruities—almost uniquely on the (privileged) Left—were resolved, as is the Left’s historical wont, by siding with neither of the opposing forces (ni-RPF, ni-MRND), but merely opposing the power that be at the moment.  And without concern for the devilish details, it is quite easy to oppose the murderous Kagame who now rules Rwanda while still demonizing the diabolical dictator, Head of the Single-Party, the MRND State. 

  I doubt that Mr. Kambanda and I would agree on all the implications of the esoteria that makes up recent African history, but, at the same time, I hope the details of Jean Kambanda’s story will reflect the true Good and Evil in the ways the historical contours of this tragic region are being interpreted and implemented.

Mick Collins, for CM/P
New York City, 15 November 2017


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