Ethiopia’s unjustly and cruel link to the Rwandan Genocide
On this date on November 22, 1992, a violent and gruesome speech inciting violence was recorded in Rwanda that would hint as a prelude to the devastating genocide to follow two years later in 1994.
On this date, Rwandan Leon Mugesera, a member of the Hutu majority and the MRND party, was recorded in a speech to an audience of a thousand supporters calling for the expulsion of the Tutsi minority in which he proclaims are in fact Ethiopians.
Speaking french, he was cited (translated) saying “they are foreigners from Ethiopia, so we must help send them home by the shortest route… throwing them in the Nyabarongo river. We must act, wipe them out.”
In the ensuring 1994 genocide where some quarter million Tutsi, and Hutu “sympathizers”, were massacred, it is estimated that 10,000 bodies were dumped in that river. It was so severe the water was poisoned for years to come.
Throughout much of Rwandan history, European colonialists had attempted to link the Tutsi population as originating from Ethiopia, partly due to their divisive divide and conquer policies, and also to the fact the Tutsi shared similar facial features of the Ethiopian highlanders. Later genetic testing however would disprove this earlier assertion.
Shortly after that speech Mugesera fled to Canada, claiming himself a political refugee, and was admitted permanent status in Quebec where he became employed at Université Laval. Repeated efforts were made to deport Mugesera but in 2001 the Supreme Court of Canada overturned the deportation ruling 8-0 on grounds there.was no direct link to his speech and the ensuing events.
(Photo: The Nyabarongo River is a tributary of the Nile.)