Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Welcome To Rwanda!

CNN runs this thing called “Inside Africa,” and this week it’s all about Rwanda. You may recall that Rwanda is a tiny, insignificant country in central Africa that is famous mostly for gorillas and for a sudden, almost record breaking outbreak of mass murder that killed 800,000 people in a couple of months, some ridiculously high percentage of the country’s population. That was some time ago. Now they want you to concentrate on the gorillas.

Remember “Gorillas in the Mist?” I’m pretty sure that took place in Rwanda, before the other unpleasantness. Anybody else remember that “gorillas in the mist” was L.A.P.D. slang in the Seventies for Black guys hanging out on the corner? Rwanda’s still got the gorillas, and the army does a pretty good job of schlepping eco-tourists up and down the mountain to look at them for like a grand a pop.

The unpleasantness, that was a tough one for some of us to understand. It’s hard to be reminded that the old tribal hatreds that ruled humanity for eons are still in place in much of the world, nation states be damned. Evidently, in Rwanda there were two main tribes, the Hutus, who were the majority, and the Tutsis, who where numerically inferior but well established as the political and commercial powers that (then) be. The Hutus got tired of it, big time, and did their damnedest to wipe out the Tutsis, along with any insufficiently Hutu Hutus they could get their hands on, mostly with blade weapons or fire. What a mess.

They say that all is forgiven now, and they’re all friends now. I won’t share my evaluation of that contention here at this time.

The magical part of the CNN show was the repeating commercial for tourism in Kenya, with a web site called You may recall that Kenya had their own little tribal kill-fest about a year ago. It was covered as post-election violence. I don’t remember the names of the tribes involved, but evidently the Kenyans do, and they’re still ready to fight about it.

As the great man said, why can’t we all just get along?

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