The New Times’ response to The Globe and Mail

Mr. John Stackhouse,Editor In ChiefForeign DeskThe Globe and Mail444 Front Street WestToronto, Ontario, M5V 2S9  Kigali, March 6, 2010 Dear Editor In Chief, I am writing in response to an article published in The Globe and Mail issue of March 3rd, 2010, « Rwanda’s blood-soaked history becomes a tool for repression » by Mr. Geoffrey York, in which my name is mentioned as one of the people he “interviewed” on his assignment in Rwanda.
 Geoffrey York
Geoffrey York

Mr. John Stackhouse,
Editor In Chief
Foreign Desk
The Globe and Mail
444 Front Street West
Toronto, Ontario,
M5V 2S9
 
Kigali, March 6, 2010
Dear Editor In Chief,

I am writing in response to an article published in The Globe and Mail issue of March 3rd, 2010, « Rwanda’s blood-soaked history becomes a tool for repression » by Mr. Geoffrey York, in which my name is mentioned as one of the people he “interviewed” on his assignment in Rwanda.

During the “interview”, that  Mr. York refers to, I inquired if in his interaction with Ms Victoire Ingabire he had asked about her documented association with Front Démocratique pour la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), a grouping listed on the United Nations and the US State Department’s lists of terrorist organizations.

Ms Ingabire, November last year, featured in a UN report as one of the key supporters and fund-raisers for the FDLR.

Indeed, Mr. York confirmed to me that he had discussed with Ms Ingabire the issue of her association with the terrorist organization and the fact that she is on a UN list of supporters of terrorism.

Surprisingly, The Globe and Mail journalist chose to omit this critical detail from his article, electing instead to attack the newspaper organization that I manage, The New Times, for denying the very person blacklisted by the UN as an FDLR supporter, space in the publication.

It is evident that in Mr. York’s play book a terrorist organization targeting Africans does not deserve to be mentioned in his story, even after his interviewee has confirmed to him that she has been cited as a supporter of such an outfit by the United Nations.

The Globe and Mail journalist goes on to write that I “was unable to provide evidence that Ms Ingabire denies genocide”.

I want to state that I didn’t have to prove anything, since Ms Ingabire’s utterances are a matter of public record, and if Mr. York had not been motivated by his bias, he would have found the recorded evidence. If anyone had anything to prove, it is Mr. York.

The story on Victoire Ingabire was his assignment and not mine, and he conveniently chose to rely solely on her version. Among the many organisations that have denounced Ms Ingabire’s revisionist position are genocide survivors associations and the National Commission against Genocide.

The fact that Geoffrey York chose to exclude their views from his story, goes a long way to prove his true intentions.

Geoffrey York’s open endorsement of Ms Ingabire’s “deliberate appeal ” to ethnic sentiments simply boggles the mind. It is this very ethnic appeal – “Hutu Power” cry that led to the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

Mr. York, approvingly points out that Ms Ingabire “is backed by many Hutus who fled to Europe and North America during the Rwandan wars of the 1990s”.

Indeed Geoffrey York, should know that the newspaper he works for has actually covered stories related to the conviction, on genocide charges, in Canadian courts, of some of these “Hutu” supporters of Ms Ingabire’s cause.

While Geoffrey York has attacked the New Times for denying Victoire Ingabire space to articulate her revisionist views, a decision that the publication’s management justified and formally communicated to Ms Ingabire in writing, I would like to challenge Mr. York to justify his decision to deny space to Rwandan genocide survivors’ organizations, in his Globe and Mail story, to tell the world what their views are about Ms Ingabire’s public statements.

Sincerely,

Joseph BIDERI