Tag: dictator

Why does the west turn a blind eye to Rwanda’s dictatorship?

Paul Kagame led his country away from genocide and war, but today his regime is upheld by authoritarian controls and political violence.

In 1994, Paul Kagame and his rebel forces, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), took Rwanda’s capital Kigali from Hutu extremists, bringing an end to the genocide that saw close to a million people killed in 100 days. Although only officially elected president in 2000, Kagame has been the de facto leader ever since and, following recent changes in the nation’s constitution that allow him to run for a third term, he could remain in power until 2034. Rwanda has seen great progress during his incumbency and has been held up by many in the international community as an exemplary model of development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

However, it is not all sunshine and smiles. Kagame faces allegations of war crimes, is known to suppress any form of political opposition and has even been implicated in the assassination of various Rwandan dissidents. Despite all this, western leaders — who continue to give substantial aid to Rwanda — have not only failed to challenge Kagame on these issues in any meaningful way, but have even praised him as being, to quote Bill Clinton, among “the greatest leaders of our time.” Why does the west turn a blind eye to Rwanda’s dictatorship?

Hissène Habré Sentenced to Life for Atrocities

Over 25 years ago, Souleymane Guengueng, a deeply religious civil servant who watched dozens of his cellmates succumb to torture and disease in Hissène Habré’s Chadian prisons, took an oath that if he ever got out of jail alive, he would bring his tormentors to justice.

Today I sat alongside Souleymane and other survivors as Habré was convicted of atrocities by a special court in Senegal, where he’s lived in luxurious exile since his overthrow in 1990.

For many years, as Souleymane and his colleagues hit one obstacle after another on their path to justice, the common refrain was that they would never succeed. But in a case which looked dead so many times, the victims made it clear that they would never go away. They pressed forward in Senegal and Belgium, at the UN Committee against Torture, at the African Union and, with the support of Belgium, at the International Court of Justice. As the NY Times wrote recently, “many African countries have endured abusive dictators, warlords and large-scale bloodshed that has gone unpunished. But the Habré case has stood out because of determined victims who were advised and supported by Human Rights Watch and other advocates.”

Myanmar: West’s “Saint Suu Kyi” Tramples Rohingya

Myanmar’s “de facto leader” Aung San Suu Kyi recently warned the United States to not refer to the Rohingya ethnic minority as “Rohingya,” in an attempt to deny them the dignity and human rights she and her party posed as renowned defenders of.

For those critically examining and long-following political developments in Myanmar and their wider geopolitical implications for Southeast Asia, Asia, and the world, Aung San Suu Kyi and her “National League for Democracy” (NLD) political front, along with a vast array of Western-funded NGOs’ turning against Myanmar’s Rohingya population after predicating their ascent into power upon “human rights” and “democracy” is no surprise.

For those receiving their news from establishment media networks in the US and Europe, Suu Kyi refusing to recognize the Rohingya, many of whom have lived in Myanmar for generations, may seem puzzling, even disappointing, or more disturbingly, an opportunity for excuses.