Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Liberia avoided another Rwanda Type Massacre by Shuting down the media.
Liberty and freedom of speech is what I often hear people who detest Western philosophy spout when they want to spew their venom.My freedom of speech this,my rights that.Many of these people are hucksters,who have no idea what the world went through to acquire these rights.Forget civilization in Ancient Egypt,Greece,Rome,Persia,China or West Africa ect.All had their times of joy and liberty.This depended on who was ruling and how much they decided to share the blessings of liberty with you.In other words your rights were never written in stone.Well fast forward to the end of feudalism in Europe.The peasants and serfs rose up against feudal lords and corrupt kings then we had the Magna Carta and we had the Edict of Worms which is what the Prodestant reformation was the root cause.The beginning of the renaissance and the idea of individual rights.It seems what started in Ancient Egypt was coming full circle.This tiny attempt to recognize human dignity was the only thing challenging the the horrible Trans Atlantic slave trade, as humanist fought against corrupt religious institutions who sanctioned slavery.The right of mankind is something that man has been fighting for since the dawning of time.
Free Speech is not free
The idea of free speech is rooted in American democracy,or the experiment in democracy.There is no other time or place in history where this right was guaranteed by law.The Declaration of Independence,of which the Constitution is based states that "We hold these truths to be evident that all men are created equal".If that is the basis, then explain slavery?It was in imperfect experiment,but many take that and the constitution of America as their reference when wanting to exercise their so called civil liberties.No place is where this is more evident than in Africa.Many people still have no concept of what a civil society is, and what are the obligations to it.What is the responsibility of the citizen?What is the obligation of the state?In America democracy is rooted in land and property ownership.There is a social contract.The state protects property and the individual obeys the law and pays taxes.In other circumstances people may be require to go to war.But the rule of law and the consensus of the majority is what allows a country to grow and surviveLiberian opposition misunderstands democracy.
People forget the Rwanda Massacre.People who naively want to give free speech to people who cannot read or have a concept of what the limited of a government can do.In Liberia as in Africa many people accuse others of stealing.With no evidence they take to the airways and incite people to disobey authority.We see now this is how things are done in Africa.If you do not like the election results you go to the bush.You get arms from any power broker who will finance your cause.The state treasury is something to enrich oneself at the expense of the nation.So tell people to go out and make the country ungovernable is freedom of speech?Where is this based on?I know the Right wing in America is coming close to this sort of savagery,but is that what a democracy is?Has it ever worked?Look at what it did in America a civil war.Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the early days of the civil war.Was President Sirleaf any different?History proved Lincoln right.History will vindicate President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for shutting down the media outlets to avoid another bloodbath instigated by the same type of people who have Africa in the state it is in.The AK47 and Machete rules all other consideration except money.The following is an excerpt from the Rwanda Massacre of 1993-1994...KALAGENESIS
The killing was well organized by the government. When it started, the Rwandan militia numbered around 30,000, or one militia member for every ten families. It was organized nationwide, with representatives in every neighborhood. Some militia members were able to acquire AK-47 assault rifles by completing requisition forms. Other weapons, such as grenades, required no paperwork and were widely distributed by the government. Many members of the Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi were armed only with machetes. Even after the 1993 peace agreement signed in Arusha, businessmen close to General Habyarimana imported 581,000 machetes for Hutu use in killing Tutsi, because machetes were cheaper than guns.
Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda revealed in his testimony before the International Criminal Tribunal that the genocide was openly discussed in cabinet meetings and that "...one cabinet minister said she was personally in favor of getting rid of all Tutsi; without the Tutsi, she told ministers, all of Rwanda's problems would be over." In addition to Kambanda, the genocide's organizers included Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, a retired army officer, and many top-ranking government officials and members of the army, such as General Augustin Bizimungu. On the local level, the genocide's planners included Burgomasters, or mayors, and members of the police.
Hutus and Tutsis were forced to use ID cards which specified an ethnic group. These cards served as symbols that the Interahamwe could check via the threat of force. Skin color was a general physical trait that was typically used in "ethnic" identification. The lighter-colored Rwandans were typically Tutsi, the minority group, while the darker-skinned Rwandans were typically Hutu, the majority group in Rwanda. In many cases, Tutsi individuals were separated from the general population and sometimes forced to be Hutu slaves. Tutsi women were often referred to as "gypsies" and frequently fell victim to sexual violence.
Government leaders communicated with figures among the population to form and arm militias called Interahamwe, "those who stand (fight, kill) together", and Impuzamugambi, "those who have the same (or a single) goal". These groups, particularly their youth wings, were responsible for much of the violence.
Family ties and relationships were manipulated by the Rwandan government as well as the Rwandan Armed Forces to create killing groups, or Interahamwe, throughout Kigali and more rural areas. Without these killing groups, the genocide would not have been nearly as effective and gruesome. In her article on citizen participation in the genocide, Lee Ann Fujii argues that the Interhamwe formed not from hatred for Tutsi or the Rwandan Patriotic Front, but from "social dynamics that sometimes took precedence over ethnic considerations"
According to recent commentators, the news media played a crucial role in the genocide; local print and radio media fueled the killings while the international media either ignored or seriously misconstrued events on the ground. The print media in Rwanda is believed to have started hate speech against Tutsis, which was later continued by radio stations. According to commentators, anti-Tutsi hate speech "...became so systemic as to seem the norm." The state-owned newspaper Kangura had a central role, starting an anti-Tutsi and anti-RPF campaign in October 1990. In the ongoing International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the individuals behind Kangura have been accused of producing leaflets in 1992 picturing a machete and asking "What shall we do to complete the social revolution of 1959?" – a reference to the Hutu revolt that overthrew the Tutsi monarchy and the subsequent politically orchestrated communal violence that resulted in thousands of mostly Tutsi casualties and forced roughly 300,000 Tutsis to flee to neighboring Burundi and Uganda. Kangura also published the infamous "10 Hutu Commandments," which regulated all dealings with Tutsis and how Hutus were to treat them. It communicated the message that the RPF had a devious grand strategy against the Hutu (one feature article was titled "Tutsi colonization plan").
Due to high rates of illiteracy at the time of the genocide, radio was an important way for the government to deliver messages to the public. Two radio stations key to inciting violence before and during the genocide were Radio Rwanda and Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM). In March 1992, Radio Rwanda was first used in directly promoting the killing of Tutsi in Bugesera, south of the national capital Kigali. Radio Rwanda repeatedly broadcast a communiqué warning that Hutu in Bugesera would be attacked by Tutsi, a message used by local officials to convince Hutu that they needed to attack first. Led by soldiers, Hutu civilians and the Interahamwe attacked and killed hundreds of Tutsi.
At the end of 1993, the RTLM's highly sensationalized reporting on the assassination of the Burundian president, a Hutu, was used to underline supposed Tutsi brutality. The RTLM falsely reported that the president had been tortured, including castration (in pre-colonial times, some Tutsi kings castrated defeated enemy rulers). There were 50,000 civilian deaths in Burundi in 1993.
From late October 1993, the RTLM repeatedly broadcast themes developed by the extremist written press, underlining the inherent differences between Hutu and Tutsi, the foreign origin of Tutsi, the disproportionate share of Tutsi wealth and power, and the horrors of past Tutsi rule. The RTLM also repeatedly stressed the need to be alert to Tutsi plots and possible attacks. It warned Hutu to prepare to "defend" themselves against the Tutsi. After April 6, 1994, authorities used the RTLM and Radio Rwanda to spur and direct killings, specifically in areas where the killings were initially resisted. Both radio stations were used to incite and mobilize populations, followed by specific directions for carrying out the killings.
The RTLM had used terms such as inyenzi (cockroach in Kinyarwandan) and Tutsi interchangeably with others referring to the RPF combatants. It warned that RPF combatants dressed in civilian clothes were mingling among the displaced people fleeing combat zones. These broadcasts gave the impression that all Tutsi were supporters of the RPF force fighting against the elected government. Women were targets of the anti-Tutsi propaganda prior to the 1994 genocide; for example, the "Ten Hutu Commandments" (1990) included four commandments that portrayed Tutsi women as tools of the Tutsi people, and as sexual weapons to weaken and ultimately destroy the Hutu men. Gender-based propaganda also included cartoons printed in newspapers depicting Tutsi women as sex objects. Examples of gender-based hate propaganda used to incite war rape included statements by perpetrators, such as, "You Tutsi women think that you are too good for us", and "Let us see what a Tutsi woman tastes like."
To promote an informed population and democracy in Rwanda, international agencies had promoted development of the media during the years leading up to the genocide. It appeared that promoting one aspect of democracy (in this case the media) may, in fact, negatively influence other aspects of democracy or human rights. After this experience it has been argued that international development agencies must be highly sensitive to the specific context of their programmes and the need for promotion of democracy in a holistic manner.