RTLM Propaganda the Democratic Alibi

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5RTLMPropaganda:theDemocraticAlibiJean-PierreChrétienAmongthetestimonialsofparticipantsintheRwandagenocidegatheredbyjournalistJeanHatzfeldisthispassage:Killingisverydiscouragingifyoumustdecidetodosoyourself...butifyouareobeyingordersfromtheauthorities,ifyouareadequatelyconditioned,ifyoufeelpushedandpulled,ifyouseethatthecarnagewillhaveabsolutelynoadverseeffectsinfuture,youfeelcomfortedandrevitalized.Youdoitwithoutshame...Weenvisagedthisreliefwithnoreluctancewhatsoever...wewereefficientlyconditionedbyradiobroadcastsandadviceweheard.(Hatzfeld2003:85)Thispsychologyofkillersperpetratingmassslaughtermakesthemostsensenotwhenitisseenassomekindofexotic,ethnoculturalwayofthinking,butratherwhensituatedamongthemethodsofaneminentlymodernpropaganda.ThepsychologyisexplainedinahandbookwrittenbyFrenchpsychosociologistRogerMucchielli(1972),PsychologiedelaPublicitéetdelaPropagande:ConnaissanceduProblème,ApplicationsPratiques.Atraininghandbookinthefieldofhumanitiesdesignedforpsychologists,facilitatorsandleaders,itcanbefoundalongwiththerestofMucchiellisworksinthelibraryoftheNationalUniversityofRwanda,Butare.Thehandbookinspiredanoteregardingexpansionandrecruitmentpropaganda’,writtenbyaButareintellectualandlaterfoundbytheteamheadedbyhumanrightsresearcherAlisonDesForges(1999:656).TheMucchiellimanualexplainswithoutmoralorideologicalexpectationthemechanismsofmassconditioningandmobilizationrequiredtocreateamassmovement.Itdescribesmethodsformouldingagoodconsciencebasedonindignationtowardanenemyperceivedasascapegoat.Itdescribessuchtacticsasmirrorpropagandaoraccusationsinamirror’,thenotionofascribingtootherswhatweourselvesarepreparingtodo.Thegoodconsciencewouldlegitimizecollectiveactionbasedonwidespreadcertaintyofbeingonthesideofthestrongestandthejust.Inotherwords,thecollectiveactionwouldbetheembodimentofthepeople’.ThefascinationthatsomegenocideorganizersdisplayedforMucchiellisworkisquiteunderstandable.Alltheingredientsforsuchconditioningexisted55
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