To: BBC Trust, The editorial Standards Committee (ESC)
Dear Mr. Tony Hall and Jane Corbin,
20 years ago, we were children aged between 5 and 15 when the horrors of the famous “Rwanda genocide” began. 20 years later we are adults in our late 20’s and early thirties. Some of us are even parents. For a longtime, we have felt prejudice for being Hutu. The western media has and continues to portray Hutus as ruthless killers who were on a killing spree which is not the case. Today, Habyarimana’s government is referred to as the “genocidaire regime.” Our parents have been branded as genocidaires just because they were affiliated with Habyarimana’s government.
We have uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters who were wrongly accused of committing genocide and spent years in jail for crimes that were never committed.Every previous government employee today is regarded as a possible genocide suspect. Most of them have been killed. Those who are alive today live in fear that someday Rwandan Patriot Front (RPF) will come for them with the genocide allegations. Some had to change their names in fear of being tracked down.
We thank you for your documentary and depicting the truth in all fairness. Your documentary was able to shed light to a dark story and we hope that the world can see what actually happened in 1994. We also thank you for clarifying that not every Hutu took part in the genocide against Tutsis as today’s media claims and made the world believe that. We feel that the truth is finally coming out.
For a long time victims of RPF’s act of violence remained unheard. We feel that a voice (BBC) has heard the cries of victims that were suppressed for many years. We feel that you have opened the gate for the world to see the crimes committed by RPF.
Allan Stam “What the world believed and what actually happened are quite different”
Every Rwandan has a story to tell; whether it be Hutus, Tutsis or Twas. It is unfair to paint a picture that RPF brought peace in Rwanda and justice for the genocide victims, when in fact triggered the genocide as explained in the documentary. It is important to note that RPF wanted to be in power because they had been waging wars since 1990. Some of us recall being ordered to stay indoors as the fight went on, the bullet holes that filled the walls of our houses. How is the 1990 invasion justifiable?
We also would like to express our gratitude for showing the world “behind the scenes” cover ups of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). RPF for years have been the untouchable regime. As explained in the documentary, Paul Kagame has powerful friends and thinks he can get away with his crimes. RPF throughout the years have continuously committed crimes against humanity, terrorized and assassinated refugees abroad and have never been held accountable. RPF did not only invade Rwanda, neighboring Congo as well. Today not even one single RPF has been brought to justice. George Orwell in Animal Farm gets to remind us that “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others.” What happened to justice for all? ICTR clearly is corrupted and biased. If President Uhuru Kenyatta is to appear before International Criminal Court (ICC), why is Paul Kagame excluded? Have you ever heard of a president who is responsible for assassination of two presidents?
Today anyone who questions RPF’s integrity is called a genocide denial. It is true that genocide against Tutsis was committed and the documentary does not dispute that. Some of us even recall the gravity of passing through the roadblocks. At that time it was an advantage for Hutus, having a Hutu identity card or having a wide nose. It was a fatal encounter for Tutsis to pass through roadblocks. If one was lucky, Hutu friends could persuade the Interahamwe to release Tutsis. Even if one had features of a Tutsi it was a potential fatal encounter at the roadblocks.
If a true reconciliation is to be built as Kayumba Nyamwasa asserts “Truth must be told.”Each has a right to morn for the loss of their families lost in 1994. We thank BBC for illustrating the truth without being biased. Your documentary was able to portray crimes that were committed by extremists on both sides; Hutus and Tutsis. Truth is a way forward to building the future. A nation cannot be built on lies and we refuse to be brainwashed.
Lastly, we would like to ask the BBC Trust to continue to support Jane Corbin and also encourage her to continue this bravery path of exposing the truth to the world. We also encourage BBC to produce more documentaries that expose the intimidators who try to shut down the truth. BBC could also broadcast open debates on the Rwandan genocide and so far no one has responded to Charles Kabanda’s debate challenge.
We, the Rwandan people continue to fight the truth that would bring peace, justice and closure. We also continue to fight for our future generation that a day would come when we are proud to be Hutu, Tutsi or Twa people and have an open dialogue without being prosecuted. The government of Rwanda ban on the documentary is further proof that freedom of speech is limited in our beloved home country.
On behalf of RDI Club in NE
President Belise Gakwaya
Member of RDI Club NE