The Effect of RTLM's Rhetoric of Ethnic Hatred in Rural Rwanda

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10TheEffectofRTLMsRhetoricofEthnicHatredinRuralRwandaCharlesMironkoBecauseofitsinflammatoryrhetoricandextremistviews,muchhasbeenmadeoftheroleofRTLMinthegenocideof1994.AccordingtoDesForges(1999:71),itwasthesolesourceofnewsaswellasthesoleauthorityforinterpretingitsmeaningduringthegenocide.AlthoughnoonereallydisputesthegenocidalovertonesofRTLMsbroadcasting,thereisdisagreementaboutthecausallinkbetweenthewordsontheairandtheviolenceontheground.SomefeelthatwithouttheassistanceofRTLM,thegenocidairescouldnothavesucceededtotheextentthattheydid.MahmoodMandanisthesisaboutTutsiasaracializedpoliticalidentitycitesRTLMasoneoftwopropagandaorgans[that]werecentraltothiseffort[recastingTutsiasarace]’(Mandani2001:190).TheUSStateDepartmentassertedthatRTLMbroadcastsultimatelyhadalethaleffect,callingontheHutumajoritytodestroytheTutsiminority.ExpertsciteRTMLasanimportantfactorinthespreadofgenocideinthehoursanddaysfollowingHabyarimanasdeath(Chalk1999:97).Chrétienandhiscolleagues,authorsofthemostcomprehensiveanalysisoftheroleofmediainthegenocidetodate,givecentralimportancetoradio(includingRTLM),saying,Twotools,oneverymodern,theotherless[modern]wereparticularlyusedduringthegenocideagainsttheTutsisinRwanda:theradioandthemachete.Theformertogiveandreceiveorders,thesecondtocarrythemout(Chrétienetal.1995:191).Butsomescholarshavecontestedtheroleofradio,specificallyRTLM,inthegenocide.Forexample,RichardCarverwritesthat:MostcommentaryonRwandanhateradiohasworkedonthesimpleassumptionthatsinceRTLMbroadcastpropagandaforgenocideandgenocidedidindeedoccur,theremustbeacausalrelationshipbetweenthetwothenotionthatpeoplecouldbeincitedtoactsofextremeviolencebytheradioisonlytenableifitisacceptedthatRTLMpropagandaunlockedprofoundorevenprimordialhatred.[MillesCollines]mayhaveproducedpropagandaforthegenocidebutitdidnotinciteit.(Carver2000:190,emphasisadded)Carveridentifiestheleapoflogicinrelatinghatespeechtomurder,withoutmorecompellingevidencethatthemurdererswere,infact,somehowmotivated125
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