Sunday, January 9, 2011

We're all Rwandans now?

Compare and contrast American media today with this paragraph about media propaganda in Rwanda leading up to the genocide in 1994:

...the news media played a crucial role in the genocide; local print and radio media fueled the killings while the international media either ignored or seriously misconstrued events on the ground. The print media in Rwanda is believed to have started hate speech against Tutsis, which was later continued by radio stations. According to commentators, anti-Tutsi hate speech "...became so systemic as to seem the norm." The state-owned newspaper Kangura had a central role, starting an anti-Tutsi and anti-RPF campaign in October 1990. In the ongoing International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the individuals behind Kangura have been accused of producing leaflets in 1992 picturing a machete and asking "What shall we do to complete the social revolution of 1959?" – a reference to the Hutu revolt that overthrew the Tutsi monarchy and the subsequent politically orchestrated communal violence that resulted in thousands of mostly Tutsi casualties and forced roughly 300,000 Tutsis to flee to neighboring Burundi and Uganda.

The parallels are, of course, obvious, and no, there is no equivalency, and any attempt to draw false equivalencies between left and right in this matter is intellectually dishonest at best. The 24/7 drumbeat of lies, distortions and hateful and eliminationist rhetoric that pours forth daily from Faux News has no equivalent outside Rwanda and Nazi Germany. And yesterday Roger Ailes reaped his reward - five dead, including a nine year old girl.  Of course, attempts will be made to place the shooter on the left end of the spectrum, but again those attempts reek of intellectual dishonesty. The blame for this lays squarely with the American right - nowhere else.

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