by EDWARD S. HERMAN and DAVID PETERSON
Rwandan President Paul Kagame speaks at Tufts University near Boston. PHOTO/Steven Senne/AP/The Guardian
On October 1, 2014, a remarkable event occurred in Britain. The British Broadcasting Corporation’s BBC 2′s This World telecast Rwanda’s Untold Story, a documentary produced by Jane Corbin and John Conroy that offered a critical view of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and of his and the British and U.S. roles in the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda and beyond.1 Although the documentary adheres to some key longstanding falsehoods of the Anglo-American propaganda system’s treatment of the “Rwandan genocide,” above all the claim that in 1994 leaders of the country’s Hutu majority conspired to commit genocide against its Tutsi minority,2 nevertheless, we believe that the telecast of Rwanda’s Untold Story constituted a first of its kind in the reinterpretation of what really happened in Rwanda in 1994. And this is true not only for the BBC, but also for the rest of the establishment English-language television news media in Britain, the United States, Canada, and elsewhere.
The BBC 2′s reinterpretation works largely by providing airtime to well-informed figures conventionally marginalized within the establishment media. Accordingly, Rwanda’s Untold Story is the story that they tell and that they would have been telling for many years had they and their views not been systematically suppressed and even ridiculed and smeared by the establishment media, historians, and assorted political hacks from within the Kagame-Power Lobby.
Hence, the following crucial exchange between Corbin and Stam (30:31):
Allan Stam: If a million people died in Rwanda in 1994 — and that’s certainly possible — there is no way that the majority of them could be Tutsi.
Jane Corbin: How do you know that?
Allan Stam: Because there weren’t enough Tutsi in the country.
Jane Corbin: The academics calculated there had been 500,000 Tutsis before the conflict in Rwanda; 300,000 survived. This led them to their final controversial conclusion.
Allan Stam: If a million Rwandans died, and 200,000 of them were Tutsi, that means 800,000 of them were Hutu.
Jane Corbin: That’s completely the opposite of what the world believes happened in the Rwandan genocide.
Allan Stam: What the world believes, and what actually happened, are quite different.
Monthly Review Zine for more