Open Letter to Tim Cooke of the BBC World Service

This is the second part of a letter the author wrote to Tim Cooke of the BBC showing how journalists of the Kinyarwanda/Kirundi service, Gahuzamiryango, continue giving airtime to revisionists of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.

This is the second part of a letter the author wrote to Tim Cooke of the BBC showing how journalists of the Kinyarwanda/Kirundi service, Gahuzamiryango, continue giving airtime to revisionists of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.

You Do Not Understand the Problem
Mr.Cooke, you told me that I don’t understand anything, and that I am poorly informed, and therefore what I had said has no foundation. It seems to me that you decided to adopt outrage as a defence, but about something that you do not even know anything. This can only be out of ignorance, or from lack of respect, or both at the same time.

What you wrote to me reveals ignorance on your part. Ignorance about the past of certain journalists of the BBC Gahuzamiryango, and their contribution to a culture of hatred and to dissemination of the ideology of genocide.

Ignorance of the language used. And the little you know has been fed to you by those who have an interest in hiding their culpability. 

But it also reveals lack of respect because you dared to write to me things that you know perfectly well are not true.

There is lack of respect for those to whom you sent copies of these falsehoods. And, lack of respect for yourself and for the radio which put its confidence in you. 

In reality, your fundamental difficulty is that you do not understand the problem. You seem to be telling me that I am exaggerating when I tell you that prominent genocidaires are often given a platform by the BBC.

You criticise me for citing only the former Prime Minister, Jean Kambanda.

Mr. Cooke, you say that this happened in 2004, and that to speak of it today is to confuse things and to spoil the image of the BBC.

In addition, you pretend that I should no longer speak about it because the BBC has settled the issue with the Rwandan State.

In fact, when the Government of Rwanda complained, a detailed investigation was carried out and the BBC apologised. Have you forgotten this by any chance?

In the first place, to speak of Kambanda by recalling only that he is “the former Prime Minister” is already for me a grave mistake which was unfortunately committed wittingly. And if it was not that, then why did you make such an error?

It was absolutely necessary to specify that he held this position in the government that perpetrated the genocide. He himself recognized and pleaded guilty to this.

To omit it, by presenting him as a politician imprisoned somewhere for having committed an ordinary crime, is to mislead those who might be unaware of it, or who might have forgotten about it.

And if I speak of Kambanda, it is because there is a connection with one of your journalists, Vénuste Nshimiyimana. They have a lot in common, apart from spreading propaganda on behalf of the genocidaires.

If I don’t make reference to the others, it is not because I do not know them, but because I don’t think it is necessary. The broadcast was prepared by a BBC journalist and was transmitted by the BBC’s Gahuzamiryango.

If you want to know, or to remember the names of the other four genocidaires, you only have to ask your own staff. One of them will no doubt rush to see you.  

In any case, I am not taking an exam, and I hope the next time you will not be asking me where you work.

There are other things you wrote, but I didn’t see their relevance. For example, when you say that Nshimiyimana left Imvo n’Imvano a long time ago.

What is the purpose of such information which has no correlation with the problem of journalists who use the radio with the intention of helping the proponents of the ideology of genocide?

Whether he works there or not is not the issue. The fact that he left a long time ago does not lessen the faults he committed.

He abused his profession by allowing genocidaires to use it as an opportunity to brag about their ignoble acts instead of seeking forgiveness. Is that honesty? Rather, it is shameful.

There is something else that made me realize you have not grasped the problem: it’s the way you consider someone like Dr. Ignace Murwanashyaka.

This Murwanashyaka and the FDLR, which he leads, have adopted the ideology of genocide and the denial of genocide, as their policy. I know a lot about them and other people who know FDLR like I do have written about them.

As someone who deals with information in the Great Lakes region, you should make an effort to find out what is happening there, and what is being said about it.

One of the examples is the journalist Chris McGreal who has written about FDLR and their dreadful activities in Congo. He explains the objectives of FDLR.

You only have to read the article which appeared in The Guardian on 16 May 2008 entitled ‘‘We have to kill Tutsis wherever they are.” You can read it on:
There is also the research by ‘‘Conflict & Transition Consultancies”, such as the report entitled “Opportunities and Constraints for the Disarmament & Repatriation of the Foreign Armed Groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo-The cases of the: FDLR, FNL, and ADF/NALU’’.

Their report which was published in June 2007 at the request of the secretariat of the ‘‘Multi-Country Demobilisation and Reintegration Programme (MDRP)’’, makes it very clear that FDLR is an organization whose essence is genocide.

One of its chief features is to deny and denigrate the genocide.

I have a great deal of evidence which confirms what these documents say. If you have proof to the contrary, I am asking you to make it public.

You Want Some Truths to be Hidden
I don’t understand why you told me to keep quiet about the activities of BBC-Gahuzamiryango on the pretext that you have come to an agreement with the Rwandan government.

What I say, I say in my personal capacity and because I know it is the truth. Not only have I carried out investigations into the genocide, but I lived through the genocide and have been affected by its consequences.

I’m not the spokesperson for the Rwandan government so you cannot accuse me of contradicting the opinion of those I represent. I am not privy to the correspondence between the BBC and the government.

I am not involved in the agreements which have been concluded between the BBC and the government. And even if that were the case, I will never keep quiet as long as your radio serves as a vehicle for propagating the ideology of the genocide.

I will continue to denounce this without let up, loud and clear, and in terms that are absolutely unambiguous.  

I do not mince my words when I confront a situation where human dignity is put in doubt and is threatened as it is done by the propagators of the ideology of genocide to whom the BBC’s Gahuzamyiryango gives priority as guest speakers.

I am writing in this public fashion because this kind of abuse does not concern me personally, but touches humanity as a whole. I will never hesitate, nor feel ashamed, in denouncing wrongs like genocide and the ideology of genocide.

The fact that you wanted me to keep quiet regarding your mistakes only served to increase my curiosity. There must be something even more serious behind that.

To mention, criticize and denounce the journalists who have negative intentions, like Mugenzi and Nshimiyimana, should not be interpreted as “personal attacks” against them, as you want to believe.

A radio as respected as the BBC should be able to archive news and should be competent in preserving its institutional memory. Mr Cooke, you should have consulted your own archives to refresh your memory before writing to me.

In the first place, you should have known that the journalists under your direct responsibility, amongst others Mugenzi and the person he replaced, have already damaged the BBC, many times, to the extent that the BBC had to apologise publicly.

I must point out, however, that the problem for which the BBC apologised remains unresolved, and has in fact become both broader and more intense. 

There are several written reactions by ORINFOR, which denounce the harm done by these journalists, to such an extent that it became necessary to modify (on 28 August 2003) the agreement between the Government of Rwanda and the BBC to specify that the BBC should take care not to broadcast “any material which is likely to incite hatred, violence or division”.

The first reaction sent to you came from ORINFOR on 17 June 1998. The controversy concerned Mugenzi following the interview he had just accorded to the spokesman of ALIR/PALIR. And now, it is more than 10 years since Mugenzi, and those who act similarly have been destroying the good reputation which your radio enjoyed before they became part of it.

Instead of taking the necessary measures to resolve the problems which their programmes have caused, you are determined to defend them. That will not serve any purpose, and worse still, it is a dishonour to BBC radio, continuing to offer a platform to the genocidaires.

Third and last part in tomorrow’s issue

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