Rwandan Support for M23

Apparently Rwanda supports M23 and is trying to conquer part of the Congo. And what is more, this appears to be a Tutsi vs. Hutu conflict. Read this latest article, and these excerpts:

Nsanzimana said he was 10 when his family first came to Congo, among more than a million Rwandan Hutus who fled after the genocide. He was here in 1996 when Kagame’s troops bombarded refugee camps, killing genociders and innocent civilians indiscriminately. Then they chased those who fled in an orgy of massacres across the breadth of Congo, a country the size of Western Europe.

His father and one brother died in that flight. His sister escaped to neighbouring Republic of Congo. One brother remained as an FDLR commander.

Nsanzimana and one remaining brother finally returned home to Rwanda, only to find that their father’s properties had been seized by Tutsi neighbours.

“When we tried to reclaim our property, those who had stolen it made false accusations against us about the genocide, and we landed up in jail,” he said.

In 2004, the brothers were released and given back one house and a farm. Life remained a struggle, he said, living off the land on the farm.

Nsanzimana believes Rwanda’s latest adventure has left him homeless. He thinks his only chance is to seek refugee status far from Rwanda and eastern Congo, where he believes the history of hatred between Tutsis and Hutus can never be resolved.

“The Rwandan Defence Forces are the same Rwandan Patriotic Front (rebels) that killed my brother and are responsible for the death of my father,” he said. “They are the same Tutsi military that trained me how to fight and brought me to this battlefield.”

My initial thought on all of this is that American Anglicans must insist that the Rwandan Church (PEAR) speak up for the full inclusion of Hutus at all levels of society.

Playing an Away Game

Ties to the African Anglican churches have by and large been positive for American Anglicans. Their orthodoxy, fervency for Jesus, and love of Scripture have been a glass of water in a thirsty land of apostasy.

With that in mind, it seems to me that we are aligning ourselves with political situations we have little to no idea about. We are playing an away game and we don’t know many of the players on our team or the opposing team. George Conger’s recent article on the possible involvement of Emmanuel Kolini with M23 in the Congo is one example. The UN report that Conger mentions says:

Another similar M23 meeting with Rwandan authorities took place on 26 May 2012 in Ruhengeri, Rwanda, at Hotel Ishema. According to intelligence sources and to politicians with close ties to Kigali, the RDF organized the meeting for CNDP politicians, which was chaired by Bishops John Rucyahana and Coline (sic – should read Kolini), both senior RPF party leaders. The aim of the meeting was to convey the message that the Rwandan Government supports M23 politically and militarily. All Rwandophone politicians and officers were instructed to join M23, or otherwise leave the Kivus.

I would by lying if I said I knew anything about “M23” before reading this. However, a Google search turns up some interesting things about the group, including pictures like this:

 

Then there is an article by Stephen W. Smith called Rwanda in Six Scenes. It was published in a leftist magazine, but that doesn’t necessarily detract from its essential veracity. It should be read by all with an interest in the subject, and it says in part:

Rwanda, as a recent document has it,

is a one-party authoritarian state, controlled by President Kagame through a small clique of Tutsi military officers and civilian cadres of the RPF from behind the scenes. The majority Hutu community remains excluded from a meaningful share of political power. State institutions are as effective as they are repressive. The government relies on severe repression to maintain its hold on power … Rwanda is less free today than it was prior to the genocide. There is less room for political participation than there was in 1994. Civil society is less free and effective. The media is less free. The Rwanda government is more repressive than the one that it overthrew.

This is not the preamble to a new Hutu manifesto but an excerpt from the ‘Rwanda Briefing’ published last year by four senior figures in the Kagame regime who’ve now fled abroad: the former secretary general of the RPF Theogene Rudasingwa; his brother Gerald Gahima, one-time prosecutor general and vice-president of the Rwandan Supreme Court; the erstwhile chief of external security services Colonel Patrick Karegeya; and General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, the ex-chief of staff of the Rwandan army. Nyamwasa survived an attempt on his life last June, when a commando opened fire on him in Johannesburg, where he now lives in exile. The South African authorities laid the blame with the government in Kigali.

Conger’s article goes on to say:

Direct assistance in the creation of M23 through the transport of weapons and soldiers through Rwandan territory; Recruitment of Rwandan youth and demobilized ex-combatants as well as Congolese refugees for M23; Provision of weapons and ammunition to M23; Mobilization and lobbying of Congolese political and financial leaders for the benefit of M23; Direct Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF) interventions into Congolese territory to reinforce M23; Support to several other armed groups as well as Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC) mutinies in the eastern Congo; Violation of the assets freeze and travel ban through supporting sanctioned individuals.”

The Group of Experts stated two Anglican bishops had convened a meeting organized by the Rwandan Defence Forces for leaders of the CNDP – the Congrès national pour la défense du peuple, CNDP  is a political armed militia established by Laurent Nkunda in the Kivu region in 2006 that under the terms of the recent peace accord is to be integrated into the Congolese army.  The Group of Experts further identified the two bishops as “senior members” of Rwanda’s ruling government party.

Conger also contacted Archbishop Rwaje, who said:

Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje said: “We were not aware of the UN report or any involvement of our retired Bishops as contained in the report. PEAR is in the Proclamation of the Gospel and not in politics between two countries or simply put in politics. We are not able to comment on the report or the names therein.”

Finally, there is a document written by Phillip Cantrell called “The Anglican Church of Rwanda : domestic agendas and international linkages.” It was written in 2007, and it gives a good accounting of the AMiA / PEAR (called PEER in this document) relationship to that point. I can’t do justice to the entire thing, you should read it, but it says in conclusion:

As to Rwanda’s church leaders, specifically PEER, their close association with and support of the RPF, dating back to their own origins in Uganda, have made them a politicised church along the same lines as the Catholic and Protestant Churches under both Kayibanda and Habyarimana. They support the post-genocide narrative offered by the RPF, and have been enlisted in the campaign to re-write Rwanda’s history. While their efforts to promote reconciliation have brought many resources and much attention to the country, and while they may be utterly genuine in their own efforts, they have become complicit in presenting the RPF’s version of Rwanda’s history and politics. As a result, to paraphrase Pottier (2002), AMIA has joined the ranks of numerous groups in the ‘aid industry’ that prefer to accept the authorities’ easy reading of a highly complex situation, and have actively reproduced and spread, wittingly or unwittingly, a vision of Rwanda that bears the RPF’s seal of approval. Forgotten is Lemarchand’s (1998) warning that ‘there can be no reconciliation without justice and no justice without truth’.

Many of these sources point to former Archbishop Kolini’s connections, which I believe came to fruition with the AMiA – Congo tie up this year. If the UN report is correct, Kolini is multitasking while in the Congo and is keeping very busy. It would be interesting to map the territory of the “4 dioceses…committed to being partners through Concordat” mentioned by Kevin Donlon, and presumably in the Congo, with Kolini’s activity.

But the bottom line here is: we don’t know. I don’t know anything about M23, the CNDP or anything else in the Congo or Rwanda, and I bet you don’t either. Most of you anyway. But when we ally ourselves with these churches, we risk being drawn into a whole web of connections that we are unaware of. I don’t know what the answer is to the questions posed by these connections, but I think we should start thinking through them.

HONA merges with ADGL

How’s that for acronyms? The Heart of North America (HONA) Network was part of the AMiA under the leadership of Bishop Doc Loomis. HONA is now merging into the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes (ADGL) under Bishop Roger Ames. Salient portions of the letter announcing this change include:

The ADGL is receptive to the ordination of women in Holy Orders serving as Deacons and Presbyters. We want to be perfectly upfront about our desire to honor the “duel integrity” in regarding the ordination of women to Holy Orders in our shared life together.

Bishop Loomis will continue to serve on the AM Council of Bishops canonically resident in the Anglican Province of Congo and will return to full-time church planting with a focus on building Missional Communities. He intends to begin a new church near his Ohio home and will continue to provide coaching and counsel for the churches in the region. The ADGL fully supports Bishop Loomis in his work and looks forward to continuing in partnership with him and with the AM.

Clergy desiring to remain in the AM are free to request transfer to the Anglican Province of Congo. (Parishes are currently affiliated in the AM and would not have to move). Parishes remaining in the AM may choose to ask Bishop Loomis or any other AM Bishop to be their overseer. This letter is an invitation; any clergyperson or parish is free to choose another option and will be released to go and love and serve the Lord as they feel led.

One wonders how many churches are actually left inside AMiA? You can also see from this that the Wave only talks about good news.

All Apologies

This week, the AM embraced Kevin Donlon’s Constitution, which is based on the charters of a hodgepodge of Roman religious orders. The three streams mantra was repeated and a lot of cool things were said about being ‘Celtic.” For example, Apostolic Vicar Murphy issued a document that says things like:

While these qualities have created a very distinct and very effective culture for mission and church planting in the life of the Anglican Mission, this culture is not always appreciated or valued by those firmly committed to the more  jurisdictional  model  for  structuring  church  life.    There  is  an  anxiety  about  the  very  “cultural  distinctives”  that  we  identified and listed above in describing our life together in the Anglican Mission. There is a strong bias against this vocational model and structure for ordering church life that can be traced back to the period of the Celtic tradition. The same tensions and struggles that  we  find  recorded  in  church  history  between  the  “Roman”  and  the   “Celtic”  models  for  ordering  and  structuring  the  church  that  more  or  less  culminated  in  the  Synod  of  Whitby  in  664   A.D., remain very much with us to this day.

Essentially, last year’s flight from Rwandan church discipline was akin to the struggles that led to the Synod of Whitby! Ignoring for a moment the false nature of the Vicar’s claims that this was about culture and not simple disobedience, I would like to focus on the new “Celtic” angle that theAM is pushing. It is even used in the blurbs from the paper’s intro where both Bishop Fitz Allison and Bishop Rodgers mention “our Celtic heritage” and “the older Celtic pattern.” Concerning the supposed “Celtic” model that has now been transplanted to South Carolina, historian Richard Fletcher says:

The argument is further advanced that branches of the Christian church in close proximity to Ireland, such as Wales, developed in the same manner; and that this distinctive model was exported to further neighboring areas – from Wales to Brittany, from Ireland to western Scotland. Thus, the argument concludes, there came into existence a Celtic church which differed in its organization and customs from the Roman church.

It is now recognized that this is misleading…There never was a ‘Celtic church.’ Irish churchmen repeatedly and sincerely professed their Roman allegiances and if there were divergent practices between Rome and Ireland, well, so there were between Rome and Constantinople or Milan or Toledo. The terms ‘Roman’ and ‘Celtic’ are too monolithic.

The Barbarian Conversion, p. 92

Rather than admitting that last year’s defiance of Episcopal authority has caused a collapse of what was the AMiA (in addition to a drift towards Tridentine theology under Kevin Donlon), the Apostolic Vicar is now talking up the supposed Celtic model, which seems to believe that doctrine doesn’t much matter (the Roman Catholic church is just ‘another net’ used to catch fish) and the main thing is the ability to maintain command and control with no meaningful oversight from above. All the rest is window dressing to backfill a theology over this command and control ecclesiology.

We don’t read of anyone from the Congo being at this session, but another website tells us: “However there was no official word as to whether the Anglican Province of the Congo would receive them now that they are no longer under the Anglican Province of Rwanda. VOL has been told the letter to Bishop Murphy from Archbishop Henri Isingoma is on its way. It remains an open question if the AMIA has a solid link with an Anglican province (apart from three retired archbishops) and if so, whether they can be called Anglican at this time. Canonist Kevin Donlon told VOL that the last communication with the Archbishop of the Congo confirms that the missionary vicariate, as established, continues as agreed through the 180 days (till October 3). Additionally, 4 dioceses are committed to being partners through Concordat.”

The ACNA has a lot of faults: women’s ordination, horrible three streams theology and bad ideas like working with idolaters such as Metropolitan Jonah. But one key differentiator between ACNA and whatever theAM is called now is that ACNA isn’t a one man show. Archbishop Duncan will move on and someone will take his place, while Apostolic Vicar Murphy will move into the College of Consultors and probably still be a major (if not the decisive) influence on affairs. You can see now that the strategy is for him to officially take a different role and plead “why can’t we be part of ACNA” when there is new leadership. “Why stay divided over old conflicts?”

Facebook as AOL

I remember AOL circa 01-02. Surfing to discussion boards, IM-ing friends, reading news stories on the homepage, being stuck inside the terrible AOL browser. Facebook is starting to feel like an updated version of AOL: pages are discussion boards, chat is IM, and now terrible news stories appearing in my feed all the time. An alternate web is surfed from within the terrible Facebook UI. It all seems depressingly familiar.

Could Facebook collapse like AOL did?