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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Being a Tutsi

by digby

I just watched Glenn Beck's program "the Puppet Master" about the nefarious, money-changing, New World Order, self-hating Jew conspirator, George Soros. I don't think I could do it again.

I listened to an hour or so of Limbaugh and had to turn it off, when I heard this line , which was actually fairly mild considering some of the stuff he says.

I know that it's very wrong to make comparisons or analogies between bad foreigners and fine upstanding Americans who are by definition "good." But after spending some time in the right wing media today I couldn't help but think about this:
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 are 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 Burundi 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.

Right wing radio is hate radio. And Glenn Beck is fucking lunatic. And they reach many millions of people every day. Will any of those people act? Well, they already have on an individual basis. But this daily ranting about the evil of liberalism and the inhumanity of liberals seems to finally be reaching some sort of critical mass in which those on the right who hear nothing but this sort of raving all day long have come to believe that liberals -- not liberalism -- must be eliminated. I realize that we won't have teabaggers running across the countryside lopping off people's hands with machetes. But the sentiment that drives people like Beck and Limbaugh isn't all that different, even though the worst we've seen are spit spewing screamers at Townhalls and a few cases of head stomping and false arrest. So far. This cannot end well.

Update: For those citing the "SEIU incident", read this. It's bullshit. And for all the other conservatives who are drolly commenting about how ridiculous this is, I certainly hope you are right and that extremists don't listen to various radio hosts calling liberals America-hating America-raping vermin all day long and get the wrong idea. Oh wait, it's already happening. Fairly frequently.