3: International media coverage of the Genocide
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Allan Thompson: Hello,
welcome back. We’re about to resume, if we could.
I’d like to begin the afternoon’s session.
I just want to take a moment. I’m going to give
the floor for a couple of minutes to Mr. Gerry Caplan, who
is the head of the Remembering Rwanda commemorative exercise,
and Gerry would just like to speak briefly to that, and then
I’ll have a couple of public service announcements before
we move to panel three. Mr.Caplan.
Mark Doyle answers questions
Gerry Caplan: Thank you,
Allan. This is wonderfully impressive meeting, and I
want to personally congratulate Allan Thompson. I’ve
been in touch with him through the months he’s put this
together, and one of the things that excites me, I wrote a
report for the Organization of African Unity called, “Rwanda:
The Preventable Genocide,” and it built on the work
of most of the people here today, and it’s a pleasure
to listen to them. It’s a pleasure to see them,
and to learn from them that this was not a made-in-Rwanda
exercise, exclusively. That if it hadn’t been
for external forces, if it hadn’t been for international
forces, the genocide might never have happened, and could
easily have been prevented. One of our colleagues, Howard
Adelman calls it “the most easily preventable genocide
imaginable,” and we didn’t prevent it. And
beyond that, once we didn’t prevent it, we failed to
bother to remember it. And it occurred to me, and to
those of us in the field that it was slipping out of public
consciousness, and unless we did something dramatically and
deliberately, pretty soon the genocide would only be known
to Rwandans, and a few remote friends and scholars of Rwanda.
So we created an organization called “Remembering Rwanda,”
with a specific mandate to try and encourage as many people
around the world to commemorate and remember the genocide
on April 7 of this year, and the African Union passed a resolution
accordingly, and the United Nations passed a resolution accordingly,
and you’ll be surprised to know the Parliament of Canada
two weeks ago passed a similar resolution, which Geoff Salat
(?) of the Globe did not know about until I told him today,
and you can expect it to be a major story on the front page
of Monday’s Globe.
Many things are being forgotten; one is
this was one of the most grotesque incidents of the 20th century.
The other is that nobody is remembering the survivors, that
no one is paying attention to the victims, that the perpetrators
are still getting off scot free, most of them, and above all
for my own personal passion, that the international community,
the so-called bystanders have not been held accountable.
I mean the Catholic Church, and I mean the French government,
and I mean the Belgian government, and I mean the Clinton
administration, and I mean the Major government in Britain,
and one of the things we want to do in the next month is to
commemorate these events, and to remember these four components,
and above all to say that accountability still must be paid,
and we must make those who didn’t intervene, those who
allowed it to happen, accountable for their sins. Across
Canada there will be events from Vancouver, all the way to
the Atlantic. I just came back from two days in Nova
Scotia, and it will include for your students, Allan, some
significant events here in Ottawa. There’s a desk
outside. The Rwandan community is preparing a series
of really interesting events. I urge your students.
I urge all of you to get involved. For those outside
guests, who have come today, in almost every country you come
from, you will find that there are commemoration events.
We talk about never again. And the truth is, if we leave
it to our governments and our politicians, never again will
just a cliché. It can only be never again if
people like us get involved. So I urge you to do so
in the next month, and we will remember Rwanda, and make sure
the world remembers it. Thank you Allan.
Allan Thompson: Thank
you very much for coming back, for being so disciplined.
You’re almost as disciplined as our panelists.
Now we’re going to move to basically the other half
of the equation that I described this morning, the rest of
this dichotomy of the media, beginning with the third panel
on the international media coverage of the genocide.
Briefly before I forget, and I will remind you of this again
before we conclude, immediately following the proceedings,
when we close at panel four, there’ll be a brief video
presentation, then the official part of the event will be
over, but we invite you to please follow-up the stairs to
the upper foyer. There’s a reception that’s
being hosted there by the Journalists for Human Rights local
chapter here at Carleton, and Humura, the Rwandan Community
Survivors’ Organization. So that reception will
be immediately following the closing of the event.
At this time, I would like to call on Jocelyn
Coulon, who is the chair of panel number three. Jocelyn
is at present with the Pearson Peacekeeping Center, Montreal
Campus. Like myself, he worked for 17 years with one
of Canada’s major newspapers, in his case Le Devoir,
before he made a career change, and I’m glad he could
be here with us today. He doing conference duty this
weekend, because yesterday and this morning he was at another
event here in Ottawa. So thanks very much, and Jocelyn
I’ll turn it over to you.
Jocelyn Coulon, Pearson Peacekeeping
Centre, formerly of Le Devoir: Thank you very much
Allan. Do you hear me? Yes okay. I will chair
this meeting in French, then people who need to adjust their
device, you have a few seconds to do it. So we have
up until 3:30 to discuss the topic presented to us today,
“International media coverage of the Genocide.”
I will not introduce the speakers. You have their biographies
and their information in the agenda, in the program.
So each of these four speakers will have 10 minutes to speak
on the topic of interest, and immediately afterwards Gil Courtemanche
will ask questions to some of these speakers or to all of
the speakers, and immediately afterwards around 3:00 or 3:10,
we will go to the question period, which will allow you to
ask questions to these speakers. So I would invite Steven
Livingston from George Washington University to come up to
the mic, and give us his talk. Steven it’s all