1997-05-14 - Rwanda and “anarchy”

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From: Rich Graves <rcgraves@disposable.com>
To: cypherpunks@cyberpass.net
Message Hash: 06ac24eb2e614d1aad27f715b74ecebb5212a8d22a29400ed39b7be186827671
Message ID: <337A3314.1B990EE4@disposable.com>
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UTC Datetime: 1997-05-14 22:03:26 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 06:03:26 +0800

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From: Rich Graves <rcgraves@disposable.com>
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 06:03:26 +0800
To: cypherpunks@cyberpass.net
Subject: Rwanda and "anarchy"
Message-ID: <337A3314.1B990EE4@disposable.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Kent Crispin wrote:
> On Tue, May 13, 1997 at 08:21:13PM -0800, Tim May wrote:
> > At 6:34 PM -0800 5/13/97, Kent Crispin wrote:
> > 
> > >First of all, it neglects to consider that governments may have
> > >prevented more murders than they caused. This is unknowable, since
> > >we don't have any worthwhile control cases. (I suppose we
> > >might examine a state of anarchic chaos (eg Rawanda) and compare the
> > >percentage of murders...but such cases are symptoms of other human
> > >ills, and cannot be used as a meaningful comparison, I believe.)
> > 
> > Rwanda (or Ruwanda, or...) is a _very_ poor example to pick, as this was
> > not any kind of anarchy such as any of us have ever advocated. Rather,
> > Rwanda was a near-textbook example of one tribal faction (Hutus or
> > Tutsis) coming to power and inititiating a pogrom against the rival
> > faction (Tutsis or Hutus).
> > 
> > Calling this an "anarchy" is comparable to calling the pogrom by the
> > Third Reich against Jews, gypsies, cripples, and others an example of
> > anarchy.
> Nonsense.
> "anarchy n. the absence of government or control, resulting in 
> lawlessness. 2. disorder, confusion" -- Oxford American Dictionary
> Which part of that would you say didn't apply to Rwanda? 

I would say "none." Tim is essentially correct. Ironically, we know he's
correct thanks to the United Nations and Judge Goldstein's International
Criminal Tribunal, which Tim would oppose. (The answer to bad government
is more government?)

Jean-Marie Higiro was Rwanda's Minister of Telecommunications. He saw
the radio turn into a tool of totalitarian propaganda. The killings were
encouraged and organized by the government. He was there.

Lindsey Hilsum was the only English-speaking reporter in Rwanda when the
killings started. She described the situation as "anarchy" because she
did not understand the language or the political situation. She later
retracted that story, and spent several more months in Rwanda and
documenting what really happened. She eventually testified before the
on what she saw. I think she's a really cool person.

Raymond Bonner joined Lindsey in Rwanda later. You might recognize his
name -- he's the guy who was fired by the New York Times because the
Reagan Administration didn't like his reporting on human rights
in El Salvador.

Gilles Peress is a French photojournalist who documented the genocide in
Rwanda both for himself and for the ICT.

I met these folks and browsed the relevant documentation, recordings,
photos on April 11th. I believe them when they say it was planned.

Blaming it on "evil government," though, is ludicrous. There was quite a
lot more going on.

If you want to look at anarchic chaos, try, maybe, Albania, or Los
after the Rodney King verdict. But even in those cases, the violence had
specific targets for specific reasons. It wasn't unstructured anarchy,
and it didn't last long. For all the press, there were few deaths in
either case.

> In fact, the correlation between anarchy and war is very strong, for
> obvious reasons. Perhaps that is why most intelligent people don't
> consider anarchy a desirable state of affairs.

There is no such thing as anarchy, and there never will be.