Sunday, February 23, 2014

Rwanda: " Retrieve the soliloquy, maintain the obituary "

New Times Rwanda reports

Hamitic myth that led to Genocide in Rwanda

                                                                                           Marcel Kabanda

A new book has shed more light on how a 19th Century Hamitic myth, construed by colonialists and imposed on Rwandans, promoted hatred that led to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.
I think constructed by colonialists is probably a bit hard insofar as I very much doubt any of the Rwandan colonists had the wit to come up with such a theory. The Hamitic myth as it relates to Africa was of course an " intellectual " justification for slavery as well as a load of bollocks. 
" According to the Hamitic theory this "Hamitic race" was superior to or more advanced than Negroid populations of Sub-Saharan Africa. In its most extreme form, in the writings of C. G. Seligman, it asserted that all significant achievements in African history were the work of "Hamites" who migrated into central Africa as pastoralists, bringing technologies and civilizing skills with them. In the early twentieth century, theoretical models of Hamitic languages and of Hamitic races were intertwined."

Written in French by historians Marcel Kabanda (Rwandan) and Jean Pierre Chrétien (French), the book is titled; “Rwanda, racisme et génocide : l’idéologie hamitique,” (Rwanda , racism and Genocide: the Hamitic Ideology).
The “Hamitic Hypothesis” derives from the Bible, where the story of Ham, the son of Noah, who upon finding his father naked and in a drunken stupor allegedly exposed him to his brothers Shem and Japheth.
Ironically Ham escaped any consequences and it was his youngest son who ended up being cursed, from this you can probably draw many conclusions, not least that Noah was a bloody idiot, mind you if you take the existence of Noah seriously then I guess you would probably stupid enough to think slavery was a great idea. 
Researchers say that the racial-based hypothesis was brought to Rwanda by Belgian missionaries who described Tutsis as a foreign race which came from somewhere beyond Rwanda; probably descendents of Europeans.
In all fairness to the Belgian missionaries the " Out of Africa " theory of human expansion hadn't been theorised at that point but that said how on earth they came up with such a batshit crazy idea is beyond me. These guys had to believe in Noah for it to work and if that was the case then logically the Tutsis would already be Christians. I guess it isn't only turkeys who don't vote for an early christmas.
The “Hamitic” myth held that all civilised institutions in central Africa were the result of an invasion by Hamites, variously identified as ‘black Caucasians’ from Europe.
Based on the belief in that myth that every civilisation has to come from Europe, European colonialists somehow attributed the governing Tutsi aristocracy under the King of Rwanda to the European civilisation because their belief in racism did not allow them to see Rwandans as a people capable of organised living.
Again very ironic if one considers 21 century Rwanda which couldn't be more organised if it was a police state. Hang on....
That myth together with a series of discriminatory policies under the colonial Belgian rule in Rwanda and the post-colonial regimes led to the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.
Why not use one load of bollocks to justify another load of bollocks ? The Rwandan genocide roots are slightly more complicated than can be explained by a myth. Also we see yet another myth in the making, one that ignores, for racial reasons and isn't that ironic, any non Tutsi victims of the genocide.  
“It is essentially an weapon of massive destruction,” Marcel Kabanda said, shortly after launching the book at Ikirezi bookshop in Kigali on Friday.
“Racism is in itself an arm of massive destruction,” the historian had said earlier in the discussions about his book. 
“Now the challenge is how to dismantle that myth and move on with life as Rwandans”.
Moving on with life as Rwandans is a good idea, I think the Hamitic Myth has already been confined to the dustbin of bloody stupid ideas.

Dr Alice Urusaro Karekezi, of the University of Rwanda’s Centre for Conflict Management, said it was possible to do away with myths by looking at what fuels the perceived differences and address them. 
“It is our own efforts that will deconstruct that myth,” she said. 
Dr Alice Urusaro Karekezi needs to get out of her ivory tower.

Giving an example, she said the government-sponsored One Cow per Poor Family can help demystify the myth that only Tutsis own cows.

Well maybe but I am not so sure based on this story.

" In 2006 she obtained a donation of a cow, which she describes as a gift from God and a miracle.“One day I came back from work in the farm and sat down drinking a Primus beer. As I drunk, I looked at the bottle and said, ‘Oh! God! Why can’t you relieve me from beer? I need milk.’ The next morning local leaders knocked at the door and told me that I had been chosen to receive a cow as part of the One Cow per Family.”

It would seem that there is still a fair amount of mystification at play.
Raising cows is one of the major characteristics which colonialists based on in the 1930s while distributing identity cards to Rwandans with the mention of whether one was Hutu, Tutsi, or Twa.

I haven't got a clue what the point being made here is, however anyone with even the slightest knowledge of the history of Rwanda would be aware that including ethnic identity on an identification document is a thoroughly bad idea. That it is a practice brought about from the 1930's is not a surprise but I am at a loss to figure out the cow connection. 
One of the participants during the discussions wondered who would be in charge of deconstructing the “Hamitic Myth”, saying it was unclear whether it would be the role of the government or researchers.
Kabanda said it’s going to be everyone’s role to help deconstruct the myth.
And will deconstructing the myth require that someone does research to identify where Rwandans came from?
Dr Raphael Nkaka, a historian and lecturer at the University of Rwanda, said it would be useless. 

And thus ended some promising careers in genealogical anthropology.

" The Genographic Project is an ambitious attempt to help answer fundamental questions about where humankind originated and how we came to populate the Earth. Using the latest genetic and computational technologies to analyze historical patterns in DNA from participants around the world, our team of world-renowned scientists led by Dr. Spencer Wells, seeks to reveal our migratory history and to better understand the connections and differences that make up humankind."
“It’s a pointless question even if people like to ask about it. It’s not the origin that gives vitality, what is important is the evolution,” he said.
Kabanda said that there is no trace of the migratory movements that led to people’s settlement in Rwanda and that no one can say where people living in Rwanda today came from.

Well there might as well not be if one of the countries leading historians can't see the value in analysing DNA to discover the migratory history of mankind. Lets face it Dr Raphael Nkaka by rejecting the science is little different from the morons who came up with the Hamitic theory in the first place.
The conversation was moderated by Dr. Rose Gasibirege who runs the former NUR Kigali Campus and local media owner and journalist Albert Rudatsimburwa.
Rudatsimburwa said that there is a serious need to transmit the message to Rwandans about things that have divided them.

Maybe concentrating on human similarities would have a greater dividend when it come to defeating batshit crazy ideas like ethnic and racial discrimination.

Human genetic variation is the genetic differences both within and among populations. There may be multiple variants of any given gene in the human population (genes), leading to polymorphism. Many genes are not polymorphic, meaning that only a single allele is present in the population: the gene is then said to be fixed. On average, biochemically all humans are 99.9% similar to any other humans.
Dr Claudine Uwera Kanyamanza, a clinical psychologist and lecturer at the University of Rwanda said that Rwandans will need to craft a new and positive way of living despite what they went through.
“We have to decide what to make of the tragedy that engulfed Rwandans. We need to give a sense to our life,” she said.
Ikirezi bookshop said the book will be available on the local market at Rwf 22,000.

That is about $32 US dollars which is a lot of money in a Rwandan context

" The median net hourly wage of the total sample is 450 Rwandan francs (RWF); 26% of workers earn less than 150 francs per hour, another 24% earn between 150 and 450 francs, 29% earn between 450 and 1350 francs and the remaining 21% earn more than 1350 francs per hour."

No comments:

Post a Comment