FROM RWANDA TO THE RUNWAY

Copyright 2015 Edgar J. Ridley

It is a fact that the European myth of beauty and attractiveness caused the genocide in Rwanda between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes.  The 1995 genocide that took place in Rwanda, in East-Central Africa, was precipitated by European antagonists who created a mythology surrounding physical characteristics.  Although Europeans didn’t explicitly say to the Hutus and Tutsis to murder each other, English explorer John Henning Speke articulated the European point of view, when he stated that: The tall, elegant people with Caucasian features migrated from Ethiopia and are descended from King David.  The shorter people with flat noses are Negroid and come from the South.  The   tall ones have 5,000 years of civilization in their blood, the short ones, a timeless history of backwardness.[1] The “tall, elegant people” symbolize the Tutsis, and the “short, backward people” symbolize Hutus.  This mythologizing of people led to the tragic genocide of one group over another, perpetuated by a European, racist attitude resulting from mythological, superstitious behavior.  The European suggestion of the Tutsi superiority because of their high cheekbones, narrow noses and thin lips, as a symbol of European beauty and attractiveness, exacerbated an already fragile relationship between the Hutus and Tutsis causing the massacre of hundreds of thousands of people.

That European mythology is the same dynamic that informs today’s global fashion industry where the myth of color superiority and so-called European facial features are the rule of the day.  Black models are underrepresented in runway modeling, resulting in friction between models with so-called European features and models with so-called Negroid features.  (We must understand that the term Negroid was created by white anthropologists who were describing the beautiful facial features of sub-Saharan Africans.) It is true that Black Africans come in all colors and all facial structures and features.  What has to be understood is that the global fashion industry’s penchant for a European structure of beauty and attractiveness is caused by symbolism and its resulting mythology and superstition.  This dynamic causes a symbolic-behaving people to automatically mythologize the models based on their physical characteristics.

People who mythologize others are behaving symbolically – this symbolism has caused enormous harm to the psyche of people throughout the universe.  Indeed, this event of symbolism in the human psyche has caused conflict and destruction throughout the world. The above is further explored in my book, The Golden Apple:  Changing the Structure of Civilization – Volume 1 (Africa World Press).  Available on Amazon.com


[1] Excerpted from Edgar J. Ridley, The Golden Apple: Changing the Structure of Civilization (Africa World Press) 2008.
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41 Responses to FROM RWANDA TO THE RUNWAY

  1. Gwenelda says:

    I’m impressed by your wirting. Are you a professional or just very knowledgeable?

    • Administrator says:

      I am Chairman of an international management consulting firm. We specialize in the behavior sciences and changing behavior so that we can be more productive globally. You might be interested in my book, The Golden Apple: Changing the Structure of Civilization. It is my latest book and you can get it on http://www.amazon.com. I appreciate your comments. Thank you very much.

      Edgar J. Ridley

      • Pierre says:

        I was thinking about what Aktis said about the UN being held reniosspble for not acting, and I think it underlies a common misunderstanding about the UN. The UN is not a sovereign, independent government agency. It is a forum for collective action of sovereign national governments. The U.N. can’t do anything without the permission of its contstituent governments, subject to the approval of the Security Council, subject further to any of five Veto-wielding nations. What’s criminal, isn’t that the UN didn’t do anything, what’s criminal is that governments played with language to avoid calling things Genocide , language which if invoked requires, by treaty, the action of all member states of the U.N. What’s criminal is that vetos and various procedural hacks were used to avoid taking responsibility. The UN is a reflection of its member states. Some agencies are better, like UNHCR, UNICEF, and UNESCO and WHO. These agencies tend to operate pro-actively. But the general assembly and the member states, on any issue where they want to avoid doing stuff they can play tons of procedural games to avoid it. And the veto-wielding nations can shut the whole place down.It’s easy to get angry at the U.N., and Romeo Daillaire’s book is certainly good fuel for that. But Romeo Daillaire while was begging for orders to move in and help, his higher-ups were required to get sanction to order him to do so, and they couldn’t get such sanction, precisely because the U.N. structure prevents the U.N. from taking independent action, without approval of member states in various forms. National-sovereignty guarrantees built into the U.N. charter errode its ability to prosecute emergency action quickly and effectively, and the Rwandans certainly suffered for it.

        • Kenichi says:

          And then Belgium’s final act upon decolonization was to resreve the power structure, giving Hutus dominance over the Tutsi, which they resented and outnumbered. So much guilt to go around and so little accountability. This is such a tearful subject but Rwandan’s are into forgiveness and reconciliation and since the identification cards denoting the tribes are gone they should never see another genocide, the country is thriving and its legislature is run by women.

        • Thx says:

          I found Basil Davidson’s The Black man’s burden: Africa and the curse of the natoin-state a useful book explaining the dynamics of the colonial and post colonial periods.

    • Carmen says:

      Hey Gas I’ve read fairly well on this, my wife hainvg been an exile from Burundi since her extended family slaughtered in 1972, and I simply don’t believe the Hutu-killed-the-president theory is credible. It’s in the The CIA caused 9/11 category. There was motive for extremists, but there was plenty of motive for the RPF with no conspiracy necessary. Of course, none of it justifies the genocide which followed. My point was that however horrific we find the actions of the Hutu-led government and the mobs they incited, if we get a demon/victim mentality around it, the problem will never be solved. That genocide is a straight-line computation from the 1972 genocide in Burundi in which some 200,000 Hutus died in a 3 month campaign with lists and co-ordination with the army. Until both Hutu and Tutsi feel that they live in a just situation, this COULD HAPPEN AGAIN!In some ways, however flawed, the experience of South Africa does provide a certain hope, the TRC’s hainvg explicit forgiveness and honesty as a key factor. Part of justice is hainvg your story told. Part of why I get so engaged about this, is that during 1994 we (at my University) knew something was brewing, because several Rwandan Tutsis who were going to school with us suddenly left to go to Uganda, (months before the presidents’ plane was shot), and these were people with rank in the RPF. Some of these are now members of the government. Students of the politics of the area were quite aware of the situation, and various Hutus and Tutsis in Canada and the USA and so-forth were writing their M.P.’s and Congressmen warning of the impending crisis. No one thought it would become genocidal, but we expected another vicious civil war. And then, once things became clear, the media reported the thing in such simplistic terms, that the actual causes that underlay the violence were washed away in a sea of western-guilt and self-flagellation, which turned the RPF into some great saviour coming to rescue the Tutsis from the evil Hutus.Subsequently, no media attention has been paid to the deals Kagame made with Laurant Kabila to support him in his revolt in Congo, in exchange for a blind eye to raids and indescriminate and extrajudicial slaughters in refugee camps, ostensibly made to root out genocide organizers. Or other violence of a genocidal character, but smaller scale, by either side. The whole thing is a mess, and everyone should be held accountable. These nuns should go to jail forever, but the truth is, that in these great-lakes conflicts, the person in power at any given moment probably has blood on their hands. If we vilify whole races (which you weren’t doing, gas, but many do) we remove the possibility of peace in the future. And if we decide that vilification is appropriate, then there’s enough blame to go around, if you look at things beyond what was reported on CNN. None of that helps the next generation which has to find a way to learn to love their neighbour. And if both Burundi and Rwanda are not healed, the wounds of one will spark violence in the other, and the cycle will continue.

    • Ben says:

      Every none white nations must consdier doing business with none whites nations. Whites are extremely violent, barbaric uncivilzed greedy race whoes hell bent on murdering innocent weak human beings. The blood resources of others is why the white nations have survived this long.

      • Jiangfung says:

        when i watched hotel rwndaa, a few years back, i thought it was only an adaptation of some novel. never did i see it coming that all those stuff actually happened to them very sad but very inspiring story

      • Misuzu says:

        that the first Congolese university gruaadte attained that feat only in 1956. About the same time, a Belgian academic published a thirty-year plan for the independence of the Congo; the duration was selected according to the author’s (probably pessimistic) assessment of how long it would take to develop the necessary layers of Congolese leadership. Belgium’s precipitate exit left these countries with no trained – let alone experienced – leaders. Other colonial powers were ungenerous, ham-fisted, and ethnocentric, but Belgium outdid them all.

    • Babar says:

      Personally, it just underlies the wolf in sheep’s ctlohing metaphor. I don’t have much trust in anyone who claims a spritual vocation greater than that of a poor, single mother (to pick an example out of a hat). That these were Nuns, just means that, like so many others in all walks of life, these were people whose words and personal claims did not match their actions and hearts. Good and bad people, in their natural proportion (whatever that is) are, I believe, equally spread through all walks of life, all vocations.There are, to contrast this, great stories of personal heroism from Rwanda, and great examples of healing, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice to protect the innocent.In Burundi, to take an example I know more of, my Aunt-in-law escaped the massacres, because a Tutsi classmate warned her that the Army was coming for her, and gave her some Congolese ctlohing which allowed her to pass her self off as other than Hutu. Some missionaries then helped her escape to the border where she crossed through a razor-grass swamp. These are evangelical missionaries, whom I’ve met, and however imperfect in their greater lives, they rose to the occasion, and I have great respect for them, despite our spiritual differences.It’s good to hear the positive stories too, so we don’t all lose faith in our common humanity.

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