How small would an anti-#Rwanda demonstration have to be for the media to ignore it?

4

September 23, 2012 by soniauwimana

Yesterday in Boston, as more than 2,000 Rwandans and friends of Rwanda celebrated the country’s progress and promise, a group of 26 demonstrators gathered with signs in a nearby park. Actually, I have heard three eyewitness accounts and 26 is the highest estimate: another witness said he saw eight people, another guessed 12. But, let’s credit them with 26 for the sake of argument.

I am pretty sure the government of Tahiti would attract at least 26 protestors if its head of State were in Massachusetts. In fact, with a minimum of effort, I’m fairly certain you could find 26 people in Boston to protest just about anything: the price of lettuce; the height of parking meters; the color orange.

Twenty-six is fewer than half the 67 who turned up to protest last year’s Rwanda Day celebration in Chicago, suggesting a drastic decline in the already-modest mobilizing capacity of professional Rwanda-haters. It must be particularly depressing for the organizers since this year they have had six months of DRC-related hullabaloo around which to rally people to their cause. Unfortunately for them, much like the FARDC, they just failed to show up.

To recap:

Two thousand in the hall and many thousands more at home in Rwanda cheering on Paul Kagame and his message of self-determination and dignity.

Twenty-six oddballs peddling tired old conspiracy theories at bemused passers-by.

And yet:

The Boston Globe: Praise, protests in Boston greet Rwandan president .

Sigh.

Praise and protest get equal billing in the name, I guess, of “balance” — but given the relative numbers and impact, this is not balance. It is nothing other than false equivalence.

How few protestors would it take for the Globe to demote them from the headline: a dozen? Five? A solitary guy in a park with a dog?

I put this question to a friend of mine who answered in a flash: “A cardboard cutout of a demonstrator would be enough when it comes to Rwanda.”

How sad. How true. How truly sad.

If I could be bothered, I would call on Rwandans in the Boston area to march on the offices of the Globe. Wanna bet I could get more than 26 to join in? Wanna bet you’ll never read about it anyway?

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4 thoughts on “How small would an anti-#Rwanda demonstration have to be for the media to ignore it?

  1. Ivan says:

    Brilliant! Thank for articulate this bias.

  2. Cyatwa says:

    Important is not the number, these guys have no just cause to demonstrate against Rwanda and Kagame.Which kind of media can waste time on them?

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