Towards a New African Fascism – Kagame’s Rwanda in the 21st Century

Kagame2

“If you go back to the birth of nations, if you come down to our own day, if you examine peoples in all possible conditions from the state of barbarism to the most advanced civilisation, you always find war. From this primary cause … the effusion of blood has never ceased in this world.”
Joseph de Maistre (1797)

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Civilisation is measured by its roads; uneven development is revealed by its potholes. The Romans ruled the extent of their imperium along their via; the Victorians penetrated with protractors and railroads; lately, the BBC has devoted an entire chauvinistic TV series (‘Top Gear’) to ridiculing the absence of ‘proper’ roads outside the Western comfort zone.

Rwanda’s roads could never be straight, for every inch of this African emerald is set across a vertiginous mountain range. But its winding roads are perfect. Too perfect. They are fastidiously-tarmacked, governed, regulated spaces with delineated sidewalks, freshly-painted lines, rationalised roundabouts, 12-hour street lighting, advance-warning filter systems, traffic lights which work – and which are obeyed. This is not only in the capital, Kigali: all the way south in the border town of Gisenyi, one can gaze smugly from its smooth Paradise into the shambolic warzone of eastern Congo; at the other end of the country, a European visitor to the northern town of Nyagatare could be forgiven for thinking they were in Liechtenstein.

To make matters even more disconcertingly ‘un-African’, Rwandan drivers always follow traffic regulations, even when no-one is looking.

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My first visit to Rwanda is in 2008. It’s only 10pm and Kigali is already dead. I’m with Karlsson, a foul-mouthed Swedish academic, and we are looking for somewhere to have another beer. He’s researching the controversial topic of media freedom and I am keen to hear of his findings. We’ve had the uneasy feeling all day that people have been eavesdropping on us. To anyone listening in, our conversation must sound bizarre. You cannot meaningfully discuss Rwandan politics without mentioning their ethnic factions, the Hutu and the Tutsi, yet the regime has literally outlawed the use of the terms ‘Hutu’ and ‘Tutsi’, unless you use them in a close approximation of the following phrase: “… the Hutu genocide against the Tutsi.” So in the spirit of naughty schoolboys we spend the whole day talking politics by substituting the ethnicities with the terms ‘Hookers’ and ‘Trannies’ (as in transvestites). “Some claim there were actually more Hookers killed by the Trannies in reprisals…” or “the Trannies are simply burying the issue and the Hookers are going to boil over one day soon, you’ll see…” 1

In this prematurely deceased night we sit down and relax in the absence of flitting eyes. We are probably being paranoid to think we were shadowed the whole day, but we’d be well-advised in that attitude. Karlsson would simply be the latest foreign researcher or journalist to have his visa revoked. The Rwandan authorities are justified in their vigilance. Only 5 years earlier Rwanda had been one of the most feared protagonists in the Second Congo War (9 combatant nations and nearly 6 million deaths) and only 14 years earlier Hutu Power had conducted a genocide in Rwanda itself (800,000 deaths).

Karlsson staggers off in search of a demarcated urination spot and I enter a kiosk bar, the only place open as far as the eye can see. There is a middle-aged man drinking at the counter. He stares fixedly at me as I try and order beer and cigarettes. The kiosk is brightly-lit by ghastly neon. High up on the wall is the ubiquitous framed image of President Paul Kagame, sitting up straight, his narrow neck-tied frame topped by bespectacled, beady eyes. “Hey you! Do you know who that man is?” the sodden customer addresses me breezily. “Yes”, I smirk, attempting some levity, “he’s the main man, the numero uno – the big cheese!” There is a brief silence as the drinker contemplates me; his lips are now snarled with contempt. “This man” he hisses, grabbing my sleeve and jabbing his finger towards the icon, “is our saviour. He is a God to us.” The barman abruptly finishes the transaction and President Kagame watches from the wall as I leave his kiosk. [Read more →]

Just Say Non: Nazism, Narcissism and Boyd Rice

boyd5_grey boyd_rape

“Boyd’s rather unimaginative sadism used to embarrass me, but then he explained it using words like ‘Weltanschauung'”
Lisa Crystal-Carver, Drugs are Nice [LC, p215]

I last saw Boyd Rice play (as ‘Non’) back in August 1981, alongside Throbbing Gristle (TG), Z’ev, Cabaret Voltaire and Clock DVA as part of the ‘Industrial Night Out’ at the Lyceum, London, which brought together the big cheeses of Industrial Music in what was to be something of a coming out party for the scene but turned out also to be its swansong (it was TG’s last UK concert; they broke up a few months later). At the time Rice presented himself as a Dadaist and prankster though his aesthetic was actually closer to the sub-Futurist ‘instant karma for kids’ noise-racket that Merzbow has since successfully appropriated and turned into a brand / ‘racket’ of his own. While TG boasted of making music from ugly noise, Rice tried to outflank them by serving up the ugliness directly, unfiltered by any obvious concern for form. In fairness Boyd Rice could be said to be among the key players of early Industrial Music, and as a result he perhaps has a shade more kudos than some of the complete musical non-entities we’re generally concerned with around here (Wakeford, Pearce, Moynihan, et al). Rice has declared his Fascism in a number of statements, in his art, and through public actions such as appearing in full Fascist regalia and holding a dagger in a photograph alongside Bob Heick, taken in 1989 to promote the latter’s organisation, the neo-Nazi skinhead party, American Front. He has also appeared on White Aryan Resistance founder Tom Metzger’s cable TV show Race and Reason, where he declared that his friends in Current 93 and Death in June were promoting a ‘racialist’ agenda and emphasised the importance of Industrial and Neo-Folk music for building the ‘Aryan youth movement’.
[Read more →]

Invincible Tedium – On the Lyrics of Tony Wakeford

From the booklet 'The Unconquered Sun'. London: Sol Books, 1989

From the booklet ‘The Unconquered Sun’. London: Sol Books, 1989

When this travelling correspondent examined, as she habitually does, the bargain basement boxes of a second hand CD and record shop in the English seaside town where she sought refuge from a heatwave designed to punish mankind for its sins, she came across Sol Veritas Lux, a CD containing the first two LPs by a band called Sol Invictus. As she had read about this outfit (in datacide, but chiefly on the web pages of Who Makes the Nazis)1 but had never actually heard their music she thought it not excessive to invest one (currently, though, very expensive) pound Sterling on some enlightenment in this murky area. The bandleader of the (in spite of the Latin name) very English ‘Invincible Sun’ is Tony Wakeford,2 a man who has asserted in numerous interviews and statements that he is not (anymore) a member of a fascist party (he had at a time been a member of the National Front) without ever, though, being very clear about why not. (I mention this because people leave parties or other rackets either because they have a change of heart about the ideas, ideals, goals, values involved, or because they find the respective party or racket fails to serve these ideas well enough. In the absence of any substantive evidence suggesting otherwise, it has to be assumed Wakeford’s is the second case: in various interviews with fanzines that are available on the internet he only ever makes comments that imply a critique of how the fascist party he was in operated, but nothing substantive concerning fascism as such.)3 ‘Sol Veritas Lux’ consists of ‘Against the Modern World’, the 1988 debut album of Sol Invictus and a follow up live album originally released shortly thereafter, ‘In the Jaws of the Serpent’,4 containing some of the same and some other songs.

The most prominent characteristic of this album is its [Read more →]

NSU Update

In the year since the last issue of datacide came out there has been continued fallout from the scandal surrounding the activities of the National Socialist Underground terror group and the involvement of the state security forces in the extreme right. Well, at least until about May, which is when the court case against Beate Zschäpe finally started after a few weeks delay. One reason for the delay was that the 50 seats for the press had been allocated, and not a single Turkish newspaper was allowed to report from inside the courtroom. Needless to say, there is considerable interest in the case in Turkey, as most of the victims had Turkish roots. Finally, the seats were rearranged and the trial could start.

There are obvously many open questions: Where did the NSU come from, and how was it possible it was not detected for so many years despite the fact that the state security had paid agents very close to the perpetrators of the killing spree?
[Read more →]

White Power Music – Scenes of Extreme Right Cultural Resistance

Book review by Christoph Fringeli

Anton Shekovtsov, Paul Jackson (Eds): White Power Music – Scenes of Extreme Right Cultural Resistance.Mapping the Far-Right, Volume 2, Searchlight Magazine/Radicalism and New Media Research Group, August 2012.

This volume shines a spotlight on various far right musical scenes all over Europe. The first part of the book is made up of country-specific looks at the scenes in Germany, France, Sweden, Greece, Hungary and Romania, and the Czech Republic. The second part consists of three articles: one about the memory of Ian Stuart Donaldson, one about women in White Power music, and one about „White Power music and censorship in the Information Age“.

The articles differ a great deal in how they approach the issues. The article about the German „Rechtsrock“ scene limits itself largely to that particular brand of white power rock, and is basing itself to a considerable degree on the reports of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV). These should be taken with a grain of salt as we have seen in the context of the murders of the National Socialist Underground. The author is staying close to the music associated with traditional neo-Nazism (NPD and DVU parties) and doesn’t investigate the more transversal forms of far-right subcultures. Nevertheless it can serve as an introduction to a particular field of German far-right music to a reader unfamiliar with the topic.

The second article is concerned with France, starting off with the phenomenon of „rock identitaire“, and the involvment of protagonist Fabrice Robert in various national-revolutionary and national-Bolshevik sects until his recent activities as a leader of Bloc Identitaire. The article traces the nationalist rock back to the 70’s and the influence of the Italian Janus group up to the present via skinhead hate rock and NSBM, expanding the spectrum into far right techno since the 90’s. [Read more →]

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