Museveni; Machiavellian evil incarnate. He has packaged and repackaged himself so packaged and repackaged himself so successfully that while Charles Taylor has been marched to a court, and Omar al-Bashir faces arrest, every American Administration beginning with Ronald Reagan has considered him an "ally". Will Obama break the mold? We won’t hold our breath.
What might not be apparent to readers of a recent article in The New York Times, under the by-line of Howard French, is that both Howard French and Mahmood Mamdani, whose book he reviews, suffer from similar afflictions.
On initial scrutiny, scratching the surface a bit, one might conclude the common maladies to be their status, prestige, career interests, and the hunger for acknowledgment.
Looking deeper however we find that both help to cover up the truth about the atrocities occurring in the region in Africa that they have both been writing about.
"A Continent For The Taking," French's summary of his years as a New York Times bureau chief in Africa (1993-1999) -- is devoid of serious attention to the subterfuge of multinational corporations; absent any real discussion of covert operations; flippant in its treatment of racism; and wholly supportive of the white supremacy that has Africa under a stranglehold.
French at least notes that a genocide was perpetrated against the Hutus in the Democratic Republic of Congo by the Paul Kagame military machine; and to his credit he expresses a bit of outrage about that. But whatever door to the truth was minutely cracked open during the abuses against Hutu refugees who fled the 1994 killings in Rwanda was sealed shut.
French dropped his concern for Congo -- what little of it that seemed to exist -- and moved on to become a Times bureau chief in Shanghai.
French's treatment of Nigeria, 1993-1997, on the pages of the New York Times, is more a mirror to his own youth and shallow understanding than anything else; and the ghost of Ken Saro Wiwa -- and all the other Nigerians sacrificed for the petroleum genocide there -- will certainly haunt him.
For if you read his summary of the Saro-Wiwa story in his "Continent…." you must more importantly go back and read French's trivial pursuits on the pages of The New York Times prior to November 10, 1995; and then the back peddling on the pages of the Times after Nov 10, 1995; culminating in The New York Times triumph over truth, which appeared in the form of a two-full page Propaganda "advert" about the Ogoni story, earning the Times some $136,000.
To see Howard French lauding Professor Mamdani in his review is rather apropos of how the system feeds itself and supports those of its kind.
What is important to note is who Mamdani is and where he comes from, and that is what should inform peoples' understanding of his position vis-a-vis Sudan or the Great Lakes of Africa.
Indeed, extended a bit further South, we get a glimpse of how poorly -- out of foolishness? Fear? Service to Empire? -- Mamdani conveys his version of "reality" re: Mugabe in Zimbabwe, by reading the scathing critique of Mamdani on Mugabe written by Professor Horace Campbell.
Now there is something worth talking about.
Mamdani is never mentioned in Howard French’s "Continent….", but neither are Maurice Tempelsman, or Donald Easum; yet, to borrow from the title of French’s book, the "Taking" of a Continent as Africa was easily achieved with the help of these agents of repression and organized white collar crime.
Indeed, French lauds former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo in "Continent," but never mentions the relationship between Obasanjo and Easum; or their ties to the Africa-America Institute, another Tempelsman-backed entity whitewashing truth with white supremacy; and to the assassination of Nigerian President Murtala Muhammad in 1976.
Back to Mamdani.
When Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni ascended the throne in Uganda after their war against Milton Obote’s government between 1980-1985, Mamdani was all over it.
There must be some skeleton's in Mamdani's closets, as he maintained tight relations with Museveni and Kagame to some degree for several years. So much so that when Kagame and James Kabarebe marched into Congo, wiping out the Hutu refugee camps, Mamdani was fairly silent.
Mamdani was silent about the conflagration in Rwanda from 1990-1995, and only posthumously, meaning after so many Hutus and Tutsis had been killed there, did he conjure up his version of an expose in his book "When Victims Become Killers."
Madeleine Albright, Philip Gourevitch and the New Yorker magazine concocted a "new breed of African leaders"; Kagame, Museveni, Wamba Dia Wamba, John Garang, Laurent Desire Kabila and Meles Zenawi. When these men were all studying Marxism at the University of Dar-Es-Salaam in Tanzania in the 1970s, it seems Mamdani was there too.
When Kagame and Kabarebe marched back into Congo in 1998, for the second invasion, slaughtering left and right, Mamdani went with them from Kigali, traveling with Jacques Depelchin, who was already funding the so-called RCD "rebels" of Museveni, Kagame and Wamba; before the RCD's many pathological fractures.
Where does Howard French situate these people?
French personally told me that he had "dogged Maurice Templesman." He was quite proud of his acumen as a reporter determined to get to the bottom of the Tempelsman matter; and yet, Tempelsman not only eluded French in real life, but also eluded any mention what-so-ever in French's "Continent."
Accident? Self-censorship? Intentional obfuscation? Incidental omission? We're talking about Maurice Tempelsman; right up there with King Leopold as one of the greatest enduring enemies of the people of Congo, Liberia, Angola, Botswana, South Africa, Central Africa Republic, Nigeria, Ghana, and Sierra Leone.
Another curious feat of magic is attempted recently, April 25/26, by Jacques Depelchin, in his critique of the Foreign Policy article by Jeffrey Herbst and Greg Mills titled "68 Million Congolese Can't be Wrong."
Depelchin, who funded the RCD, ostensibly split from Mamdani in 1998 out of Mamdani's supposed concern for "objectivity". It's no wonder that Mamdani says so little about Museveni and the US-Israeli-UK backing of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army, who play a role in the killing in Darfur, as sure as any Hutu is today certain to be labeled a "genocideare."
Howard French sums up the Museveni -SPLA story in a single sentence: "Our latest love affair with a Ugandan dictator stemmed mostly from Museveni's willingness to sponsor an insurgency in Southern Sudan against that country's Islamic Fundamentalist government."
If there is a glimmer of Hope -- after all, French subtitles his book "…The Tragedy And Hope Of Africa," it is that Howard French dared to press the limits as much as he did.
French is an African American and Mamdani is a Ugandan of Indian ancestry.
The system -- the White supremacist system -- is so ruthless and unforgiving against such people who "step out of line" that they can certainly be seen as men in line as fall guys when someone, anyone, ostensibly needs to be held to account for Africa's woes.
Such is the nature of system predicated on black [African] fall guys, who take the heat, and the white collar war criminals who don't.
Perhaps the shortcomings of such works as "Continent…." and "When Victims Become Killers," can be placed in their proper contexts.
James Baldwin comes to mind: "It is the innocence that constitutes the crime."
Tell it to the millions and millions of dead and the millions and millions more perpetually destined to suffer the abuses of the "humanitarian" misery industry, the Western profit sector, across Sub Saharan Africa.
We don't see Mamdani or French writing about that.
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