January 27, 2009

Two Takes on the Rwandan Holocaust

I recently happened across two different theories concerning the roots of the cause of the Rwandan killings. One is from the newly infamous SSPX Bishop Williamson, the other from the book "Led to Faith" by Immaculee Ilibagiza and Steve Erwin.

Williamson's belief in conspiracies (he'd have a lot in common with Obama's former pastor Rev. Wright) suggests that he might well be a contrary indicator of truth but it's still interesting to line up his views next to another. In this essay the blame goes to "modernism, or democratism, in the Catholic Church":
In brief, God makes different men with widely differing natures, for instance some natural leaders, many natural followers, so that by men's different gifts completing and complementing one another, all men may together make up a harmonious society...

Likewise in the little "country of a thousand hills" of Rwanda, lost in the centre of Africa until the first white man arrived in 1894: for some eight centuries prior to his arrival the minority pastoral Tutsis had peacefully ruled the majority agricultural Hutus because as a tribe the Tutsis had the natural gifts to do so, and they had been wise enough on the whole not to misuse those gifts.

Nor was this natural order disturbed when Catholicism arrived soon after with Belgian missionaries teaching the true religion in the wake of the first World War, in fact Tutsis and Hutus who speak the same language mingled happily in the weeks-long celebrations to commemorate in 1933 the consecration of their joint land to Christ the King by the Tutsi King Mutara III.

The troubles only came when modernism on a large scale began to contaminate Catholics in Europe between the wars: man is God; so man, not Christ, is king; so all men are king, so one man must have one vote. As this democratism spread to Rwanda, so the Hutus were progressively indoctrinated by their clergy and leaders with the insufferability of their undemocratic status as one tribe ruled by another over which they enjoyed numerically a three-to-one majority.
Now let's see how Immaculee Ilibagiza characterizes it:
As is the case in much of Africa, many of Rwanda's modern problems were rooted in the colonial past.

For more than 500 years, Hutus and Tutsis has lived in peace under a long line of Tutsi kings. But that peace was shattered when European colonizers - first the Germans, and later the Belgians - arrived in Rwanda in the 19th century. To more easily conquer and control the country, the Belgians supported the Tutsi monarchy and exploited the existing social structure. The Belgians favored the Tutsis because their lighter skin and finer features made them seem more closely related to the Europeans than the Hutus. The Belgian overlords even introduced an "ethnic identity card" to guarantee that the two groups remained as socially segregated as possible.

When the Tutsi king pressed for independence and asked the Belgians to leave Rwanda in 1959, the Belgians retaliated by helping Hutu extremists seize power and topple the centuries-old Tutsi monarchy. The bloody Hutu Revolution that followed left more than 100,000 Tutsis dead. After the Belgians pulled out of Rwanda in 1962, Hutu extremists began a decades-long campaign of terror and slaughter aimed at Tutsis.
I'm much more inclined to accept the hypothesis in Led by Faith, especially since Williamson is like the guy who has a hammer and sees all problems related to the lack of hammers. He's not an unbiased observer: he's looking for modernism and democracy within the Church as the cause of all troubles foreign and domestic, so naturally he'll find it.

Especially telling in the Led by Faith account was the mention of the introduction of "ethnic identity cards". I suspect that modernization and democratization is less the problem than the social Darwinism that infected the West around the time of Nietsche and bore its ultimate fruit with the Nazis. It seems a clear path from the Darwinism to extreme nationalism to ethnic identiy cards to genocide.

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