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Voices from Zimbabwe and the Great Lakes

Zimbabwe: Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), a civic action group looking out for the welfare of Zimbabwean women, held their third annual valentine's day protest march. This is Zimbabwe blogged that flyers promoting the march brought Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, to a standstill days before the event.

This is Zimbabwe's continued coverage of the march reveals that several hundreds of the protestors, including babies and men, were unjustly arrested and held by Zimbabwe's paranoid police.

Burundi:Agathon Rwasa reports that the UN is compelling the FNL to disarm unconditionally. The post also notes that,

Predictably, FNL apologists have attacked the UN for it's new-found resolve, even as the FNL murdered another four people, including a Catholic priest.

The anonymous author of an article on the “African News Dimension” website claims that “many Burundi analysts” believe the UN's comments are “ill advised”, but says nothing about who these analysts are, or what the basis is of their alleged expertise.

The article makes no mention of the August 2004 Gatumba massacre, which is widely believed to have been a joint attack by the FNL and its Congolese and Rwandan Hutu-extremist allies, or of the longstanding evidence offered by Human Rights Watch and other groups of links between the FNL and former members of the Rwandan army implicated in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The article appears to suggest that such claims have been fabricated by the Burundian government for the sake of convenience.

D.R.C: Sahara Sarah sattirically describes what she calls “the Nescafe Model of Development,”

Rather than real coffee, most establishments, office coffee areas (if you are lucky enough to have one), etc. have Nescafe – instant coffee. It's just not that great. And rather than just recognize it's inadequacies and replacing it, it's just modified and jazzed up to appear better than it is. This is a nice metaphor for governments and development in many third world countries. Say you have a bad road maintenance system (or a “Nescafe” road system)

Congo Watch's Ingrid has an intriguing report on the possibility that UN peacekeepers will stop fighting alongside government troops if they continue to commit human rights violations .

Malawi: Blogger Mike of Hacktivate highlights rockstar Bono's recent remarks at the prayer breakfast held in Washington responding that,

After reading the transcript from his talk, I am convinced that Bono has a God given role to play. It is a must read for people tired of Christian hypocrisy, for people interested in Africa, for Christians themselves, and for people who love to see George Bush challenged (he was there) on issues of social justice.

“God is with the vulnerable and poor.

God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house? God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives? God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war? God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them.”

Mike is also challenging Malawi's open source developers to work on a project for cash.

Rwanda: On the occasion of Heroes day in Rwanda earlier this month, George Conard contemplates the apparent contempt displayed by many in Rwanda towards Paul Rusesabagina, the man on whose life Hotel Rwanda was based.

One of the interesting things that has stood out for me in this coverage has been the number of articles and references to Paul Rusesabagina, the man portrayed by Don Cheadle in the movie Hotel Rwanda as the manager of the Hotel des Milles Collines in Kigali. There is a lot of bitterness and anger toward Rusesabagina, with many writers arguing that he has exaggerated his role and acts during the genocide, that he only really saved a few people, and that he has downplayed the role of others at the time…

I was talking with a friend here in Kigali about this over dinner tonight, and we both agreed that the film was clearly a Hollywood production; more specifically, it wasn't a documentary and didn't try to be, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. While I can understand the desire to educate people about all of the heroic acts during 1994, the fact remains that Hotel Rwanda probably did more to raise awareness in the West, and especially in the US, about what happened here than everything else that was made, shown, or published in the ten years prior to its release, and I can't help but think that's a good thing.

Read more here.

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