Beer incites militants in genocide

During the genocide of Rwanda in 1994, Dutch brewer Heineken kept on bottling the local Primus beer.

Photo: Bier van Heineken was smeerolie van de genocide in Rwanda

That meant:

· Beer for the militants, that was used to incite them and make them more aggressive during the massacres. Witnesses say that militants killed under the influence of alcohol: Primus or locally brewed banana beer.

· Paying taxes to the Rwandan government during times of genocide and working with that government (e.g. to protect the breweries). As the main tax-payer in the country those days, Heineken probably financed part of the Rwandan genocide.

To be able to do this, Heineken’s Rwandan headquarters were temporarily moved to the neighbouring Goma (DRC) and had daily meetings with the operations team in Gisenyi (Rwanda). What’s more, the brewery in Gisenyi was still provided with beer’s main ingredients like clean water and yeast.

Could Heineken have taken its responsibility?

Heineken could have tried to stop its breweries from brewing beer. If it did, it would have been a setback for the militants.

According to criminal lawyer Michiel Pestman, it is not likely that we see Heineken’s responsible managers in court one day, but it is possible, he says. But only if there is proof that Heineken knew it contributed for a great part to the genocide. Or if there is proof that Heineken’s tax money substantially financed the militants. “It worthwhile a research.”

Read the entire story (in Dutch), written by Olivier van Beemen

Read all stories from All about Africa*.

*ALL ABOUT AFRICA BRINGS A COLLECTION OF THE BEST AFRICAN NEWS STORIES TO READERS FROM ALL OVER EUROPE. AWAY FROM ONE-SIDED STORIES, WE BRING EASY-TO-READ STORIES PRESENTING A BIGGER PICTURE, TOGETHER WITH HELPFUL ALTERNATIVES OR OPTIMISTIC SOLUTIONS.

The news we normally read about Africa tend to make us hopeless, talking about poverty, conflict or disease. On the other hand, positive stories are too often anecdotal. Besides, the news seldom gives us the information or the opportunity to discuss and come to better alternatives together, for instance about the role Europe plays in African politics or trade.

That is why we should know more about Africa. A continent so close to ours, where many countries are developing quickly. In a few decades 1 out of 7 world citizens will be African. Many of us — Europeans — are personally involved in our neighbouring continent as descendants, donors, ngo workers, entrepreneurs or politicians. On a global level, we are connected to each other in issues, like the environment, politics, economics, trade, culture, migration, religion and security.

All about Africa shows the bigger picture of African news: the bigger systems behind it. And how we — Europeans — relate: our historic and current role, biases we have, and the impact on us — citizens. Once we know we can come to alternatives: other thoughts, different solutions, another role. Because that is the power of good journalism: it gives us the information to discuss and then change for the better!

DON’T MISS A STORY and follow me @ Medium! Or sign up for the newsletter: http://eepurl.com/c4anwz