Rwandan Sentenced

One of Rwanda’s most famous singers, Simon Bikindi, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for inciting violence during the 1994 genocide.

His conviction stems from a speech he made from a vehicle equipped with a public address system encouraging ethnic Hutus to kill Tutsis.



  1. #1 Romeo Vitelli
    December 2, 2008

    At least he didn’t try to make a song about it.

  2. #2 Ritchie Annand
    December 2, 2008

    What a horrible episode in human history. The campaigns they ran for dehumanizing the enemy, to make them easy to kill. They whipped up such a frenzy of fear and anger. They killed adults, children, sometimes family members. Those who thought they were safe in churches were surprised in the most horrible way.

    The weirdest thing is that it wasn’t even about race. The Tutsi and Hutu classifications were once upon a time fluid and descriptive of social standing until the Belgians came in and “froze” the labels in place, passing them on hereditarily.

    We visited the genocide memorial in their capital, Kigali. Such a moving monument to genocide you will hardly see elsewhere. There is a memorial room with bones and clothing of some of the victims in the center that is particularly disturbing.

    In this day and age, four genocides have taken place during my lifetime. Disgusting.

    They are fairly happy to meet Canadians, since we were the first to brave entry into the country after the atrocities and helped them rebuild.

    They actually have a fairly interesting tribunal system in Rwanda – it’s no Guantanamo. I do not remember which days of the week it was, but they pointed out to us that on those days, many businesses are closed. Those who were only “mildly” complicit in the atrocities spend those days rebuilding and building things for the community.

    It’s a beautiful country – all mountainous and houses up and down the slopes. I will have to post some of the pictures one of these days. No tourist facilities to speak of, really; we ended up having to stay at a mission near Ruhengeri (which had, of all things, good, cheap internet access). Pretty nice people, too, though they do have a penchant for trying to bilk foreigners.

    I’m glad Bikindi did not get away with it.

    It really goes to show how powerful fearmongering is.

  3. #3 Michael Fridman
    December 2, 2008

    I wonder how the 15 year sentence will compare to the prison sentences neighbouring Burundi will start giving gays and lesbians. This seems to be the year of bittersweetness.