Dear Mr. Stanton,
Could you please advise on the following situation?
A local journalist who has been reporting on Victoire Ingabire and a number of resident genocide suspects from Rwanda, usually publishes a version of the genocide against the Tutsi - or elements of it - that are in contradiction with the generally accepted narrative as documented by Human Rights Watch, most academics and the ICTR.
She is able to do this because there is little knowledge about the genocide in my country. However, because she is a mainstream journalist with a large network, it is very difficult to convince editors, politicians and the public that her articles and a recently published book contain genocide denial.
For example, in her book this journalist, her name is Anneke Verbraeken, summarizes the genocide as follows (my translation, original in Dutch attached):
"And then on the evening of 6 April 1994 the airplane carrying the Rwandan and the new Burundian president is shot down. Who exactly downed the plane? To the present day opinions are divided, despite numerous investigations and even more books and reports.
After the death of the Rwandan president is announced, all hell breaks loose in Rwanda. The presidential guard slaughters opposition members and Tutsi-minded ministers. Also ten Belgian blue berets are murdered, because the radio declares the peacekeepers are responsible for the death of the president.
On 7 April the RPF starts a military offensive from the North, killing thousands of Hutu. The Hutu-dominated army of Rwanda is incapable of stopping their march on Kigali.
Groups of Hutu-youths, the Interahamwe, roam around the country, killing every Tutsi on their path. Also, Tutsi-youths of the RPF roam around the country and in turn hunt down the Hutus. Many people take advantage of the violent situation to settle old scores with relatives, neighbours, colleagues en acquaintances.
It is a bloodbath beyond comparison; it is estimated that within three months more than a million Rwandese are murdered. The blue berets do nothing, the international community looks the other way. The country and its people are severely traumatized. No family can be found that has not lost someone."
This account of the genocide does not contain a single word about the organized, systematic extermination campaign against the Tutsi as an ethnic group and against Hutu-civilians who opposed the violence or 'looked' Tutsi. And of course an empirical study by Philip Verwimp has already shown that only a small minority of Hutu-families lost someone during the genocide, as opposed to nearly all Tutsi-families.
The book was presented at the central press centre in The Hague, which is also home to the social club of the journalists in The Netherlands. Several 'experts' were invited to discuss the future of the Great Lakes area. One of them was Christian de Beule, one of the original deniers from Belgium (see the other attachment). He was also quoted in an article of Verbraeken, claiming that the Interhamwe/Civil Defense militia were harmless kids who were only armed with whistles.
Because of the exposure she gets Verbraeken is now considered an expert herself.
I was hoping that you might help me to correct the false image created about the genocide by providing your expert opinion about why this example from the book constitutes genocide denial and why such misleading historical accounts are harmful.
Thank you very much.
Jos van Oijen
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________(C) 2017 Jos van Oijen