Commemorating the Rwanda genocide

Rwanda is commemorating this week the genocide that rocked the country 25 years ago. On 6 April 1994 the mass killing of members of the Tutsi minority by the majority Hutus began. 800,000 people were killed. UN Blue Helmet soldiers stationed in the country failed to intervene. Media look at the factors that sparked the genocide and the role played by the international community.

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Index (HU) /

Inciting genocide on the radio

The call for the genocide in Rwanda was made on the radio, Index recalls:

“In Rwanda around a million people were exterminated within three months at the end of a civil war that had already gone on for four years. This didn't require industrial-scale death camps or organised extermination. One half of the population slaughtered the other half with small arms. All this happened in a country with six million inhabitants, for the most part before the eyes of the international community and as UN peacekeeping forces looked on helplessly. Radio stations played such a huge role in this extermination that their owners were later convicted as war criminals.”

Karjalainen (FI) /

Hate speech remains highly dangerous

The genocide in Rwanda shows just how dangerous hate speech can be, Karjalainen points out:

“The Hutus living together with the Tutsis were incited to commit genocide by means of something that is still widespread today: hate speech. ... With exaggeration and lies one group portrayed the other as to blame for all the problems. Through sheer repetition the most unbelievable claims came to be believed. ... Europeans, including the Finns, must not forget the dangers of hate speech. In Rwanda hate was spread by word of mouth and over the radio. Today such statements spread much faster and are more dangerous: we live to a large extent in our own bubbles and don't necessarily know the whole truth, or even what's happening in the next bubble.” (ES) /

Those who look on are not impartial

The world must intervene to stop genocide, the Socialist MP Carlota Merchán Mesón stresses in

“After the genocide the UN announced its famous 'never again'. But after Rwanda came Srebrenica and the execution of 8,000 people in a zone that was under international protection and had been declared a safe zone. And Darfur, where around 400,000 people died, and most recently the persecution of the Rohingya people. These things don't happen all of a sudden. A nation's population doesn't start killing each other from one day to the next. ... I contradict those who say that to stay on the sidelines is to not participate. In my opinion you are participating. Confusing neutrality with keeping both victims and perpetrators at the same distance is always to side with injustice.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Stop denying France's responsibility

French decision-makers must finally admit that with its weapons deliveries the French state made itself complicit to the genocide, writes Guillaume Ancel, a captain in the French military operation in Rwanda at the time of the genocide, in Le Monde:

“Before, during, and even after the genocide we supplied the killers with weapons. Today that's a documented fact. ... Why do our leaders shift the responsibility and cast the exectioners as victims? With their decisions and their behaviour, former president François Mitterrand, his secretary-general Hubert Védrine and chief of staff Admiral Lanxade put us in an unacceptable situation: France can be accused of complicity in genocide.”