by Ann Garrison
As Troy Davis was executed tonight, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, one of the worst war criminals in the world, luxuriated in a $16,000-a-night New York City hotel as chair of the U.N. Millenium Development Goals Committee, the committee in charge of the U.N.’s plan to end poverty, which met yesterday. Tomorrow Kagame will appear as one of Bill Clinton’s featured speakers in a plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative, an annual gathering of the global elite. At the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative, Clinton, who was president during the Rwanda Genocide and ensuing Congo Wars, which cost millions of African lives, presented Kagame with a Global Citizenship Award.
Last Saturday, on WBAI’s Afrobeat Radio, I broadcast this report on demonstrations against Kagame in Paris and Pittsburgh and promised to post news of Thursday’s protest tomorrow morning in New York City. At this point all I know is that Troy Davis is dead and that something has been planned for tomorrow outside the Sheraton Twin Towers in New York City, where Kagame will address the plenary session starting at 9 p.m. The only other thing I have to share right now is the address – 811 Seventh Ave. at 53rd Street – and the news that something is planned.
If I were in New York City, I would make a point of getting there – for Troy Davis and for all my Rwandan and Congolese friends. Being on the West Coast, I signed up to view the webcast instead and resolved to make sure that someone, most likely the San Francisco Bay View and New York based AfrobeatRadio.net, report the news.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s presence protested in Paris and Pittsburgh
Wuyi Jacobs: And now Ann Garrison has this report of protests against Rwandan President Paul Kagame, organized by Rwandan and Congolese people, first on Monday in Paris and yesterday in Pittsburgh, outside Carnegie Mellon University:
Paris demonstration chants: Assassin! Assassin! Genocidaire! Genocidaire! Genocidaire!
AfrobeatRadio/Ann Garrison: That’s the sound of over 1,300 protesters, most of them survivors of Rwandan and Congolese wars, chanting first “Assassin!” French for assassin, then “Genocidaire!” French for person who commits or advocates genocide, during Monday’s protest of French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s welcome to Kagame and Kagame’s presence in France. Spanish organizer Susana Sanz Guardo of Basta de Impunidad en Ruanda said that the turnout and the unity of Rwandan and Congolese people victimized by Kagame’s regime was unprecedented and that nothing will stop them now that they have lost their fear.
Five days later, on Friday, after short notice of Kagame’s visit to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, 50 protestors including Rwandan and Congolese survivors, gathered from around the U.S. to meet their supporters in Pittsburgh. This is a clip of Pittsburgh Channel 4 WTAE’s coverage:
WTAE: Well, the protest is underway right now on Forbes Avenue, across from University Center on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University. About 50 people are over directing their efforts across traffic. Nearby the Rwandan president speaks inside the university center. Many of these people say they survived the 1994 genocide. Rwandan President Paul Kagame is offering a keynote address right now on his country’s strategy for growth in the global economy. Now we speak with one man leading this protest against the university:
Claude Gatebuke: The university is entering into an agreement with a war criminal, a mass murderer and someone whose military is accused of genocide.
AfrobeatRadio: Protester, Rwanda Genocide survivor and University of Memphis law student Claude Gatebuke’s statement, that President Kagame has been accused of genocide, refers to the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights’ October 2010 “Mapping Report on Human Rights Abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1993 – 2003,” to the indictments brought by the Spanish court of Fernan Andreu, the French court of Jean-Louis Bruguiere, to the civil lawsuit, Habyarimana v. Kagame brought in a federal district court in this country, and scholarly investigations by Professors Allan Stam and Christian Davenport, Law Professor Peter Erlinder and others.
Despite all that, former President Bill Clinton will introduce Kagame as a featured speaker in the plenary session of his Clinton Global Initiative, an annual gathering of the global elite, at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22, at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers. The title of the Clinton plenary session is “Engaging Boys and Men as Allies for Long-term Change,” billed as an argument for male allies, who are critical to the sustainable empowerment of girls and women worldwide.”
Boston-based Congolese American social worker and activist Eric Kamba says it’s galling to African people that Clinton would include Kagame in such a forum, less than one year after the shocking U.N. documentation of his crimes in Congo:
Eric Kamba: The U.N. “Mapping Report” said that Kagame’s army committed civilian massacres and sexual atrocities, including mass rape and the intentional infection of targeted communities with HIV in the Congo. Bill Clinton has been Kagame’s ally in all this through the Congo Wars of the ‘90s when Clinton was in power, and now he continues to be Kagame’s most powerful supporter, with the help of his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to this day.
AfrobeatRadio: President Barack Obama did not closely associate his name and image with Kagame’s, as the Clintons have, until last week, when he requested immunity for Kagame in Habyarimana v. Kagame, the civil lawsuit alleging Kagame’s responsibility for the assassination of the Rwandan and Burundian presidents and millions of war dead in the Rwanda Genocide and Congo Wars.
For further information on Obama’s request for Kagame’s immunity, the French and American protests, and the protest being organized in New York City on Thursday, see afrobeatradio.net and sfbayview.com.
San Francisco writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Global Research, Colored Opinions, Black Star News, the Newsline EA (East Africa) and her own blog, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, Weekend News on KPFA and her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.