Magazine article The Nation

Back to Rwanda

Magazine article The Nation

Back to Rwanda

Article excerpt

The arrival of French peacekeeping troops in Rwanda was rather like arsonists returning as the fire brigade. If there is an outsider most responsible for the horrible slaughter in Rwanda, it is France. The last time it sent troops to the country, in 1990, it was to prop up the Hutu-dominated regime of President Juvenal Habyarimana, supplying weapons and building up the army, which was fighting the mainly Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (R.P.F.). This past April, when the President was killed in a mysterious plane crash, this same Hutu-dominated regime embarked on a massacre not only of Tutsis but of all "moderates"--that is, people opposed to ethnic strife.

France's guilt by association may explain why the R.P.F., now master of more than half the country, was hostile to this intervention, why the U.N. Security Council was reluctant to approve the French move, why France's European partners contributed no more than lip service and why a small Senegalese contingent is, so far, the only African reinforcement. Still, with the blessing of the U.N., the French proceeded to move their troops to Rwanda from a provisional base in Zaire (brushing up the image of the notorious President Mobutu in the process).

Operation Turquoise, as it is called, throws some light on the vexed problem of the right or duty of intervention. France may not be the best candidate for knight in shining armor, but what is the alternative when you see corpses floating down the river like fish after a poisoning? …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.