Friday, January 7, 2011

France and the Catholic Church were involved in the Rwandan genocide.

“At the end of 1950s, as decolonization swept through the African continent, king Mutara III and a group of his national council members vowed to initiate important reforms. In response to their demands for independence from colonial rule, the Belgian administration and the missionary church leadership adopted a new tactic: They shifted their support for from the Tutsi hierarchy to the Hutu elite and, in turn, blamed their divisive policies on the former. The Tutsi chiefs who had once been praised for their superiority and their natural born leadership qualities were now condemned as enemies of the Church and the white people and they were accused of being stranglers who had invaded the Hutu peoples land in order to exploit them. This colonial strategy sought to undercut the authority of the Tutsi, and, in doing so, position the Belgians as the true protectors of the Hutu people. Essentially, the colonial authorities, with the support of the Church played one group off of the other so that the real exploiters and invaders- the Belgian colonizers and white missionaries - could maintain their dominant position in Rwandan society.”
(The Catholic Church and the Nation-State page 176)

France and the Catholic Church continued to support the Hutu regime also during and after the genocide 1994.

“In what was arguably the Rwandan bishop’s lowest moment, they published a letter in the April 1994 edition of the Osservatore Romano, which paid ‘tribute to the Rwandan Forces for taking security concerns to heart.’ Further, they expressed ‘their satisfaction at the institution of a new government ‘-The government that was using Hutus to kill Tutsis-’to which they promised their support. Finally, ‘they called upon all the Rwandans to ease the task of the new government by responding to their call favorably and help them achieve their mission.’ “

“Some priests and nuns were directly involved in the killings, while other members of the clergy acted as accomplices by gathering Tutsis into church buildings, where they were slaughtered. The Rwandan Church’s statements made no mention of the responsibility for these acts. To the contrary, the Church assisted those priests and nuns in finding safe havens in other countries to avoid facing trials in later years.”
(The Catholic Church and the Nation-State page 179-180)

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