It was a weekend of protests across Eastern Province as hundreds of residents marched several kilometres in their respective districts to denounce the BBC over a documentary, Rwanda’s Untold Story.
The documentary, first broadcast by the British public broadcaster on October 1, has been renounced by survivors, eminent scholars and friends of Rwanda as a denial and attempt to revise the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The protest was mainly staged by women, youth and the handicapped.
The protestors carried placards denouncing the film, as they sang patriotic songs.
The deeply flawed BBC documentary attracted the ire of survivors of the pogrom in which more than a million people were killed in a space of 100 days, with several protests since last month.
Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency, in October, suspended BBC Kinyarwanda transmission following public complaints, but survivors say Rura’s action was not enough and insist government should take a more vicious approach to deal with the matter.
Such was the demand of hundreds of varsity students in Kigali, who took to the streets on Friday to express their disapproval of the BBC insults and demand action.
Alice Uwingabiye, one of the women leaders and organisers of the demonstrations, said the film led many to doubt the corporation’s ethics and standards.
Uwingabiye said by producing such a film, the people of Rwanda were once again tormented by the so-called independent and democratic world.
“The BBC has a radio channel in Kinyarwanda language that claims to unite the people (Gahuza Miryango). But the irony is clear; their film shows the direct opposite of what they claim to stand for–creating divisionism and hatred.”
Uwingabiye said the majority of the demonstrators were women and children, who were directly or indirectly affected by the Genocide the BBC film denies.
“Our demonstration is to tell the world that Rwandans are united, more than some people believe. We shall defend our dignity and life irrespective of what the negativists continue to do,” she said.
‘Running short of ideas’
Jean Damascene Rwasamirira, a member of Ibuka, the umbrella organisation for Genocide survivors associations, told The New Times after the march that the film was part of the bankrupt propaganda to deny the Genocide.
“I am not surprised that the revisionists turned to such film, they are desperate and running short of ideas to deny the genocide,” he said.
“Part of their claim is that the genocide was triggered by the downing of the plane by RPF/RPA. I don’t even accept the genocide happened because of the plane crash.
“But even the investigating judge Marc Trévidic report showed clearly the missiles were fired from an area that was controlled by Hutu extremists from the presidential guard. The film is a mockery of supposed investigative journalism.”
Ibuka has asked the BBC to stop all screenings of the documentary, calling it a deliberate denial of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.