Refer to Junior Sabena Mutabazi’s article, “Charlie Hebdo: tasteless satire, hypocrisy at play” (The New Times, January 15).
I find Mr Mutabazi’s piece rather naive and therefore deficient on many accounts.
Let me just pick three aspects:
First, he intentionally and simply equates “democracy” to “free speech” yet one is just a tiny component of the other.
Second, he naively thinks that journalism can and must pursue the “absolute” or “philosophical truth”. The writer should know that this is not in the realm of journalism and journalists; in fact, its origin and its very name should have taught him that.
Third, he wants us to believe (as many others do) that western journalism should, by any means, report in “difficult, dangerous, unsafe situations” in Nigeria...but he fails to grasp that media houses are not charity organisations, and should not be indeed, in my opinion.
They are in two type of business and, as such, reporting on whatever event, wherever and whenever, is ultimately a matter of weighing in between the attached risks and accrued profits.
For instance, if the Independent (UK) published a piece of article on Nigeria massacre on its front page, how many among its readership would be eager to buy the paper to understand the events in Nigeria? How many would indeed sympathise with the pain of Nigerians?
Have you noted how the bodies of these 2,000 Nigerians were haphazardly amassed and buried in a common mass grave?
While we read in the news (such as Forbes) that many oil-rich Nigeria citizens are billionaires (e.g. Aliko Dangote), how do you explain that a respectable country buries its dead in mass graves like pigs decimated by a certain influenza?
Editor, through you, I want to bring it to Mr. Mutabazi’s attention that there is no such thing as Africa as an entity – it is a myth.
As a conclusion, the writer’s 20 lines “examination of the nature of Charlie Hebdo” is seriously flawed. He has not, in any way, assessed objectively “why the Nigerian, Syrian massacres” were not given the same level of attention.
In manyways I believe Mr Mutabazi’s article is meant for people with the exact attitude as Rosenthall’s – people who put profits before humankind, people who believe the white man is above everyone else, and people who continuously undermine the unification and for that matter that is Africa.
No one is surprised that Rosenthall exhibits this attitude which of course has led him/her to unconsciously ignore the purpose of Mutabazi’s article.
Let me answer a few of the questions raised. I will start with the criticism of Mr. Mutabazi’s apparent tendency to equate democracy to free speech.
Has Rosenthall even bothered to understand the context of the article in question? If Mr. Mutabazi was writing about another component of democracy, he would have mentioned it. The rest of the components here are irrelevant.
Second, he/she talks about Mutabazi’s naivety in thinking that journalism must pursue the absolute truth; let me ask, does Rosenthall even know the first principle guideline of an editorial team?
Third, Rosenthall mentions that western media houses aren’t charities and they are not obliged to report news that isn’t “profitable”; I agree, however, he/she ignores the fact that Mr. Mutabazi wrote that this attitude of western media is sadly not new.
Plus, could Rosenthall please tell me the profits made by the BBC last year (one of the biggest media houses in the world)? That’s right; zero! Not all western media is commercial but all of western media is biased and undermines all but white people.
To sum up, I am really trying hard to contain my anger, the attitude by Rosenthall is unacceptable (to me) and he/she does not deserve anymore explanation from me.
Arnold, University of Nairobi