The Dangers of Lying

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August 29, 2012 by soniauwimana

One trick that liars use is excessive specificity. The liar knows he sounds less truthful if he speaks in generalities so he is more likely to say something like “I witnessed 16 men and three women at the scene” than “I guess it was more than a dozen men and two or three women, but I couldn’t give you an exact number”, even though the latter is a much closer approximation to how people actually remember things. The Group of Experts are past masters of using lots of exact dates and place names and unnecessary but highly specific details to dress up what are fundamentally hearsay accounts provided to them by FARDC intelligence services who are desperate to blame Rwanda because the alternative is admitting that theirs is the world’s worst army. But the GoE is far from alone in employing this kind of technique. A great example can be found in Michelle Faul’s epically awful AP story yesterday (won’t link to it because it disgusts me). The entire story was constructed around the incredibly unreliable account of someone claiming to be a Rwandan national who regards Tutsi as his “mortal enemy” who will never stop trying to kill him but who nevertheless jumped at the chance to join the RDF in the promise of $60 a month. He claims to have been secreted off to training camps and then off to DRC to fight alongside his mortal enemies who will never stop trying to kill him. This character claims that he and other recruits assembled at Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali from where they were transported by a number of RDF trucks to their destination near the Ugandan border. Seems like a good meeting point, I guess. Everyone knows where it is, plenty of parking… But here comes the killer detail. This happened, according to Faul’s source, on July 1st, 2012. Now. As a matter of fact, I was at Amahoro Stadium on July 1st, 2012. As were most of my friends. And 30,000 of our fellow citizens. And every member of the Rwandan government, the diplomatic corps, the heads of state of numerous countries or their representatives, popular musicians, marching bands and every journalist and news photographer in Rwanda. You see, July 1st 2012 was a national day of celebration, combining the 50th anniversary of independence with Liberation Day which normally takes place on July 4th. How can I put this politely? The chance of some nefarious, secretive recruitment operation taking place at Amahoro National Stadium on July 1st 2012 is significantly less than zero. What pathetic journalism. Faul should apologize and focus on reporting about things she understands.

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