Panel 1: Hate
Media in Rwanda
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UNESCO, Rwandan historian and co-author of Les Medias du Genocide
Marcel Kabanda: Good morning.
So I have a text, which is rather long, but I' ll try not
to follow rather what it says in the text, but to summarize
somewhat. If it goes too quickly, if it' s not understandable,
then please indicate to me, and I will adapt accordingly.
So you can understand therefore it' s difficult for me to
speak here, just after General Dallaire. So I' ll try nevertheless,
between what he says, and what I' ll explain to you, I' ll
try and ensure a certain continuity here. I think what he
gave was a very good introduction to the following presentations,
which will come. He talked on the basis of his experience
as a military man, but he also talked about the media, and
the role of the media. And he spoke at length also about foreign
media. I myself, I myself, will just talk about the media
in Rwanda. He mentioned the role, which could be played by
the media in a positive way so as to help to resolve issues,
to inform people, and I myself here will focus on the role
which the media have played really in a negative way, an adverse
way, and as he said really the media are the double-edged
sword. In the written media, which affected Rwanda during
the 1990s, the best one known, though, is the Newspaper Kangura.
It' s well known for it' s historic hatred of Tutsi, and against
Hutu, who expressed their desire for change, for freedom,
for democratic openness. It was founded in 1990, and headed
from the beginning to the end by Mr. Hassan Ngeze . It became
famous soon in the publication in December, 1990, by what
was called The Ten Commandants About Hutu, by these ten commandants,
it was encouraging Hutu to realize the Tutsi were an enemy
first and foremost. To move away from them, to break all links
with them, links of marriage, business links, professional
links, and to break up the historic, political, cultural community
of Rwanda, and to build another one, one which would be more
pure apparently, alongside which there would be a different
category, which would be tolerable, but nevertheless have
to be closely monitored because they wish to dominate. But
Kangura is not known simply for making a call to freedom.
It was also known by the propaganda over four years so as
to ensure the failure of all attempts at mediation or reconciliation,
preferring to reconciliation rather the logic of confrontation.
This is more than just suggested. It' s actually expressed,
clearly expressed, that the words associated with this are
evoked carefully of violence, which is very serious, and what
I regret myself is I didn' t conduct a statistical study of
the number of times terms, such as " death" and
" blood" were used.
Also, through cartoons and caricatures,
you can see, that men are dishonored. They' re undressed,
and they' re always shown really in positions, which are really
not to their credit. In 1990, Rwanda was at the crossroads.
Refugees had lived for 20, 30 years outside, and they were
asking to come back. They demanded therefore they put an end
to certain practices. Within the country, more and more people
were protesting to demand an opening to a multi-party system,
the position repatriation of refugees.
There was a feeling of asphyxia within
the country, the feeling of abandonment outside also, come
together, and they speak out against the hypocrisy of the
system, which claims to be republican and democratic, when
it, in fact, clearly practices tyranny.
So in answer to the war, and to the request
for political openness, the regime reacted by recalling the
reaction of 1950, the revolution of 1959. This reference has
a dual advantage. It makes it possible therefore to bring
the armed opponents, to put them into the category of being
simply nostalgic, and it calls on the mobilization of the
people, who were called to defend the advantages gained. It
also, it could also appeal to the first popular movement in
1963, an episode, which legitimized violence, and was extreme
violence. From 1990-1994, but particularly during 1991, the
newspaper Kangura published a number of articles in which
it used the Tutsi as a scarecrow to scare people in the world
of business, claiming that they were governing, despite the
appearance, which was the majority in the school system, both
in terms of teachers, and also in terms of students, and also
in the church, and everything, which was the symbol of modernity,
for example in cities.
So therefore, we' re going to focus primarily
on all these passages, and some of these articles, which illustrate
this movement back to the 1950s and, 60s. You have to recognize
that the revolution was legitimized at the beginning by this
observation, which was made in what you could call the Bahutu
Manifesto of 1957. I' ll read the main points of this document
to you. " The problem is first and foremost a problem
of political monopoly enjoyed by one certain group, the Tutsi"
. What Kangura was trying to do in 1990 is to try and convince
the electorate that the situation still prevails. It was trying
to paste the Rwanda society of 1990, he was trying to put
on it the image of 1957. It was speaking out against so called
hegemony of the Tutsi, where the majority of people were the
victims first. It was asking the Hutu to remember the revolution
of 1959, and this for him was essential to remain a democracy.
It pointed out that the war conducted by
the Tutsi never stopped, and you can read, for example, this
in Kangura number six of December, 1990, that since the revolution
of 1959, not did one day the Tutsi ever give up the idea of
re-conquering power in Rwanda, and exterminating intellectuals
and dominating the Bahutu farmers. It suggested that with
this process of conquest and revolution, the Tutsi had made
considerable advances, and that they were mobilizing the work
markets, trade and also finance. And you can read, for example,
in November, 1991, the following, " The Bahutu Tutsi
can constitute 50 per cent of government officials, 70 per
cent of private business employees, 90 per cent of staff in
embassies and international organizations, and they occupy
important positions everywhere. Nevertheless, they constitute
only 10 per cent of the population. Therefore this image was
an image of an invading Tutsi, an invasive force."
The same thing applies also in education.
He states the following with respect to an education system
you can read this in May, 1990, " For as regards to education,
the minority remains in leadership."
Another article the same month, but in
1992, suggesting the statistics for education at all levels
of secondary education are looked at very carefully, we' ll
be surprised to see that Tutsi are everywhere. They' re present
everywhere. Kangura explains the increase of the role of Tutsi
in the social and political field of the country through the
negligence with which the scoring system was carried out.
It criticizes the government for lacking vigilance, and for
giving the Tutsi identity cards, indicating in fact that they
were Hutu, which made it impossible therefore to control and
conduct discrimination. And it says because of the practice
of falsification of identity, the policy of balance is a failure,
and that' s why in the schools the Tutsi, and those who kept
that identity constitute now 80 per cent of the staff.
The same practice is also used with respect
to political parties. They criticize those people, who try
and revive the old party. It accused them of being cowards,
opportunists. It builds up again the en diable; it doesn'
t want to add other things to it. Kangura nevertheless is
trying to suggest to all the Hutu that the best to continue
this campaign is the president Habyarimana. I wasn' t able
to do this, but at least I' ll come to the conclusion now.
When you reread this text, we' re particularly
struck by the interest shown to history, and why Kangura had
to remind them of the speeches of 1954, and Joseph Gitara
(?) in 1976. In a society where experience is so respected,
this is an excellent argument. The past provides the evidence
that violence against Tutsi was seen, but we can see nevertheless
that throughout the history nevertheless made it possible
to improve things for certain people. You could therefore
look at the logic and genocide here. This is clearly stated.
You identify the Tutsi from within as being accomplices with
any action for refugees. Thank you very much.