Striking a balance between fact and fiction

An interesting article appeared in a Ugandan daily, Daily Monitor, penned by Timothy Kalyegira.

An interesting article appeared in a Ugandan daily, Daily Monitor, penned by Timothy Kalyegira.

The article entitled: “Can the ICC deliver true justice across the world?” first takes a swipe at the Uganda legal fraternity with the salvo ending with a disappointing “most are little different from the man on the street”.

Next in the line of fire comes the international judicial system for its ineffectiveness and being prone to manipulation from the type of ‘Big Brother’ described in George Orwell’s ‘1994’.

In the book, there is something known as the ‘Thought Police” who prosecute “thought crimes” (whether they have thought-o-metres is anyone’s guess), but we’ll come back to that later.

The article in Daily Monitor makes good reading until one comes to where the author turns his attention to Rwanda.

He not only goes off the mark, but the misguided missile collects collateral damage among people who were targeted in 1994 for being born on the wrong side of the ethnic divide.

I will quote Kalyegira:
“In every single world news report on the arrest of suspects in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, it is almost always a Hutu that is arrested. Never a Tutsi.

The thinking is that Tutsi and “moderate” Hutu were killed in the genocide, almost to suggest that by his very nature the Hutu is a vicious, bloodthirsty being and who is not civilised.”

He continues: 
“The international criminal justice system never stops for once to ask: might the Tutsi also have taken part in the genocide, either initiated or as part of RPF reprisals?”

Come ooon! This surely is the first time someone attempts to change the script in the middle of a play. The author only needs to go down memory lane to avoid rewriting history which seems to be in vogue in some circles that have, up till now, spared Africa.

The notion of a ‘double genocide’ or the word ‘genocides’– this one coined by former French President Francois Mitterrand – was invented  by people either trying to find a rational explanation to give to something they do not fully understand.

Our later day ‘judges’ have dismally failed to sell this new fangled idea that in any conflict, all antagonists should be held to account equally.

In most cases, this is simply a case of shifting blame away from their own backyards.

This prodigious miracle of partitioning blame has failed to gain cause for one simple reason – the truth – unless one decides to close their eyes to historical fact.

This self-inflicted blindness can be found in some sections of the press who have become adept at fanning a non-existing fire.

A saying goes: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”. For those who were not here then, or have never been, this is more like a page from pre-Genocide media in Rwanda.

The infamous Kangura and RTLM should serve as a case study in ‘Direct and public incitement (to commit Genocide)” as explicitly explained in the ruling by the ICTR.

In March 1994, when the final touches were being put on the plan to exterminate a people, Kangura published competitions in issues 58 and 59 whose answers could be found in previous issues.

The ICTR in condemning the three leaders of Kangura and RTLM saw through this smokescreen.

“The Chamber finds that the competition was designed to direct participants to any and to all of these issues of the publication and that in this manner in March 1994 Kangura effectively and purposely brought these back issues into circulation”.

Who would imagine that this ‘repeating lies’ strategy was the brainchild of Hassan Ngeze, a shoemaker-cum-bus conductor (mind you, not driver)-turned-editor and publisher of Kangura? It was not.

Behind him, as the ICTR concluded, were specialists in the art of manipulating simple minds, among them Jean Bosco Barayagwiza and Ferdinand Nahimana.

“Nahimana set in motion the communications weaponry that fought the ‘war of media, words, newspapers and radio stations’ he described in his Radio Rwanda broadcast of 25 April as a complement to bullets,” read the conclusions in the judgment.

I wonder if the author would question for just one minute the fairness of the “media trial” in Arusha. Would he ask, as he did in the mentioned article, that; “Is it fair? Is it professional?

Does it follow the principles that it espouses, of giving all sides an unprejudiced hearing? Does it reason?”

We are lucky we do not have a “Thought Police”; I and Timothy Kalyegira would not be safe.

And by the way, no arrest warrant has ever been issued against Kagame, nor has he been indicted by any of the “two separate and independent investigations by respected European judges,” as the author refers to them.

Sometimes it pays to get the facts right, that a spade is not a spoon, however similar in shape.

Ends

 

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