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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Another Failure for the United Nations

AP News and the New York Times reports that Rwandan and Congolese rebels gang-raped nearly 200 women and some baby boys over four days within miles of a U.N. peacekeepers' base in an eastern Congo mining district. The eastern Congo is known as the "rape capital of the world" where savage mobs use sexual violence to subdue the population and vie for control of the "conflict minerals" used to make cell phones and laptops around the world.

This is just another example of how the billions of dollars pumped into the United Nations ends up going down a rat hole. The blue helmeted “peacekeepers” in the Congo have failed to protect the villagers as the incidents of rapes continue to rise. It has reached a point where the Congolese government, this year, has demanded the withdrawal of the $1.35 billion-a-year U.N. mission, the largest peacekeeping force in the world with more than 20,000 soldiers, saying it has failed in its primary mandate to protect civilians.

In 1994 the Hutu rebels slaughtered an estimated 800,000 Tutsi in the Rwandan Civil War. The United Nations did nothing to stop the Geonocide. The genocide was sparked by the death of the Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, when his plane was shot down above Kigali airport on 6 April 1994.

A French judge has blamed current Rwandan President, Paul Kagame - at the time the leader of a Tutsi rebel group - and some of his close associates for carrying out the rocket attack. Mr Kagame vehemently denies this and says it was the work of Hutu extremists, in order to provide a pretext to carry out their well-laid plans to exterminate the Tutsi community.

Whoever was responsible, within hours a campaign of violence spread from the capital throughout the country, and did not subside until three months later. But the death of the president was by no means the only cause of Africa's largest genocide in modern times.

The two ethnic groups are actually very similar - they speak the same language, inhabit the same areas and follow the same traditions. However, Tutsis are often taller and thinner than Hutus, with some saying their origins lie in Ethiopia. During the genocide, the bodies of Tutsis were thrown into rivers, with their killers saying they were being sent back to Ethiopia.

When the Belgian colonists arrived in 1916, they produced identity cards classifying people according to their ethnicity. The Belgians considered the Tutsis to be superior to the Hutus. Not surprisingly, the Tutsis welcomed this idea, and for the next 20 years they enjoyed better jobs and educational opportunities than their neighbors. (This is similar to Sri Lanka, where the British favored the Hindu Tamils over Buddhist Senegalese population)

At first, a multi-ethnic government was set up, with a Hutu, Pasteur Bizimungu as president and Mr Kagame as his deputy. But the pair later fell out and Bizimungu was jailed on charges of inciting ethnic violence, while Mr Kagame became president. Although the killing in Rwanda was over, the presence of Hutu militias in DR Congo has led to years of conflict there, causing up to five million deaths.

Rwanda's now Tutsi-led government has twice invaded its much larger neighbour, saying it wants to wipe out the Hutu forces. And a Congolese Tutsi rebel group remains active, refusing to lay down arms, saying otherwise its community would be at risk of genocide. The world's largest peacekeeping force has been unable to end the fighting. It seems that wherever the UN goes chaos follows.

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