Mar. 9, 2012
If you have no idea about Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines or RTLM then you are probably most to be pitied among all men – and women (borrowing a phrase from the Good Book).
One thing I have come to accept is that the louder you shout about an obvious issue the louder your calls for attention get suppressed or ignored or disparaged…
It’s an urge more like danged if I do and more danged if I don’t!
One thing, again, is very certain for sure and that is we never learn from experiences of the past- the media power for ensuring we swallow the mundane and sensationalized is ever increasing. It always answers that call of duty, but for more important issues of life and death? We could not be bothered.
Why it is that such events or happenings take us by surprise? Or is it really.
The mantra has always been now, in these days and times – ‘that shall never happen again’ but right in our living rooms, in our kitchens, and on our devises and we watch same unfolding and almost feel a sense of disappointment that the day’s news did not come with any stories of death and destruction… or misery (for those affected).
Most of the most shameful of contemporary incidences have been playing out before our very eyes in the Darfur Region of Sudan where government unleashed a frightful militia upon its people and the media simply dubbed it the ‘celebrity war’ (any Hollywood star who felt bored with a decadent lifestyle could make a lightning fast appearance in the region and the news hogs would wear out the reels of reporting over it), 500 hundred women, children and old folks were massacred in 2010 near a former tin mining colony in Jos, Nigeria and all the main Western media houses would say about it was that it was a ‘reprisal’ …
Still in the new nation of Sudan thousands of armed men from a 'rival' group attacked and sacked a neighboring settlement and while the houses were burning followed the escaping women and children into the bush and dispatched them…in Syria the world media has been meticulously chronicling the wasting of Homs with particularly vented outrage, seeming, when 2 Western journalists were killed by rocket fire…
Just a few days ago a video of a bloodthirsty illiterate Ugandan criminal called Joseph Kony went viral on Y-tube and the buzz has been more about the views and the sensation Kony had become and not what he has been doing in the region for the past years- kidnapping, rapes and killings ….
Exciting! You can feel it in the media…
It’s a mold – it’s a template for operation, meaning nothing has changed much since time, of this kind of intransigence, began.
Since May 2011 a shadowy Islamic sect has reared up in Nigeria threatening genocide upon Christians – threats which were veiled, excused by many pundits from academia and the, rat pack, media- until the first week of March 2012 when the sect openly declared it was waging a war of extermination on Christians in Nigeria…
All of this is happening and being reported so so casually – almost Open Season justification…
Shall we take a walk through history?
It is not as if anything ever happened without anyone knowing – a quote says “even when a tree falls alone in the forest without any witnesses – it, is aware of its falling down”…have we learnt anything?
The Jewish Holocaust
Since the 4th century AD (and possibly before), Jews have been regarded as the killers of Jesus Christ. With the rise and eventual domination of Christianity throughout the Western world, discrimination against Jews on religious grounds became universal, and systematic and social anti-Judaism made its appearance.
The pattern of German anti-Semitism was followed in other parts of western and central Europe. In Austria, for example, a Christian Socialist party advocated more or less anti-Semitic programs. In France, anti-Semitism became an issue in the larger problem of the separation of church and state. Clerical and royalist factions generally adopted anti-Semitic principles based on the racist theories formulated in Germany and fostered in part by the publication of numerous anti-Semitic publications, notably the newspaper La Libre Parole, started in 1892 by the French anti-Semitic journalist and author Edouard Drumont. Anti-Semitism in France culminated in the Dreyfus affair between 1894 and 1906. With the liberation of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army who was imprisoned for alleged treason, anti-Semitism almost disappeared as a political issue in France. (Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.)
The Armenian Genocide…
Empire-wide massacres of Armenians from 1894 to 1896 claimed approximately 200,000 victims, either directly or as a result of associated hardships. Under the banner of Islam, Sultan Abd al-Hamid II had enlisted the help of several Kurdish tribes in the eastern part of the empire. They acted as quasi-military detachments and played a critical role in the destruction of property and lives. These attacks became known as the Sultan Abd al-Hamid-era Armenian massacres.
Some of the Armenian revolutionaries and others hoped that the massacres would provoke the intervention of the European powers (Britain, France, Austria-Hungary, and Germany). Although the leaders of the European powers publicly condemned the actions of the sultan, they failed to intervene. (Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.)
International support, however, remained limited to the provision of humanitarian aid to besieged communities, particularly the Muslim areas in the Drina valley in eastern Bosnia. Serb forces were seeking to remove or kill the civilian population there in an effort to 'ethnically cleanse' the area of Muslims. The United States increased its involvement in a circumscribed manner, with airdrops of food that began in March, but President Bill Clinton asserted that the support was intended for all sides in the conflict. Muslim civilians attempting to reach some of the supplies were met by Serb gunfire. (Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.)
The Rwandan Genocide
Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) was a Rwandan radio station which broadcast from July 8, 1993 to July 31, 1994. It played a significant role during the April–July 1994 Rwandan Genocide
Prior to the Genocide The station is considered to have preyed upon deep animosities and prejudices between the Hutu and Tutsi populations. The hateful rhetoric was placed alongside the sophisticated use of humor and popular Zaire music. It frequently referred to Tutsis as "cockroaches" (example: "You [Tutsis] are cockroaches! We will kill you!").
During the Genocide
During the Genocide, the RTLM incited hatred and violence against Tutsis, against Hutus who were for the peace accord, against Hutus who married Tutsis, and advocated the annihilation of all Tutsis in Rwanda. The music of Hutu Simon Bikindi was played frequently, he had two songs Bene Sebahinzi(Sons of the Father of the Farmers) and Nanga Abahutu (I Hate Hutus) later were interpreted as inciting hatred and genocide
Individuals associated with the station
Take a cursory look at the indictment of media from the above list of individuals said to be associated with RTLM- associated with the Rwandan massacre… Félicien Kabuga, president, Ferdinand Nahimana, director,Jean Bosco Barayagwiza Gaspard Gahigi, editor-in-chief Phocas Hahimana, day-to-day manager, Georges Ruggiu, broadcaster, Valerie Bemeriki, broadcaster ….
I wrote an article on the uncelebrated massacre of helpless women and children in a one horse town called Jos, Nigeria sometime between the tail end of 2009 and beginning of 2010 and subsequently since that year there have continuous massacres of entire families in remote villages in the same state and every time the media specifically the BBC has gone out of its way to water down the story or its impact- as some form of reprisal for some form of slight …as if some people were 'cockroaches' whose stamping on hold no eternal consequences.
My sorrow was that a certain local daily newspaper called Daily Trust (Nigeria) with a very wide readership over a huge swathe of Northern Nigeria and which had the power then and now to educate people away from such paths as the Rwandan genocide refuses to do so but continuously spews out biased and very inflammatory perspectives… almost every single day.
You wonder if these are people who have families or friends or acquaintances or even any form of human relationship that they sit at the helm of mediums and with the power to initiate conciliation and understanding, building up of bridges but rather opt to pour fuel on fires…
I can only conclude quoting Dresden James:
"When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic."