An open letter to barrow pushing, agenda toting foreign correspondents


September 28, 2012 by soniauwimana

Dear Barrow-Pusher

We get it. You hate Rwanda. That’s fine. We can’t force you to like our country, let alone love it in the way we do. Each to their own.

Now, I know what you’re saying.

“Hang on there!” I can picture the wagging finger as you say this, “We don’t hate Rwanda as a country or Rwandans as a people; we just hate your government” although you will probably use the term regime instead of government, with all its sneering, racist, delegitamizing undertones.

But, you know what, I am not going to grant you your precious distinction between despising Rwanda per se and merely despising its government. Allow me to explain why.

When a Rwandese villager in a border community who criss-crosses into the DRC and back every day decides to support M23 as a way of defending their Congolese kin, you don’t make the distinction between people and government. Far from it. You gleefully point to that unremarkable event as evidence to damn Kigali, and you make no effort to draw delicate distinctions or overlay your narrative with context. So, frankly, you can’t really expect anything else in return.

By your words and deeds, you are a hater of Rwanda and that’s that. Once again, there is nothing particularly wrong with that. To be honest, I hate certain countries quite a lot too. Take Belgium, for example, which is a boring but self-important country full of bland but simultaneously really, really obnoxious people with a shameful colonial past about which they remain insufficiently ashamed.

Seems to me everyone is entitled to hate a country or three, and this applies to you as much as anyone. You chose Rwanda, which kind of puts you at odds with me, but c’est la vie.

And yet, here’s the thing: you are a reporter. More than that, you are probably a surviving member of the last generation of foreign correspondent before the tremendous, cleansing social media tsunami renders you as outdated as the floppy disk.

In the meantime, can you at least pretend to do your job, by which I mean reporting news?

The European Union did not — has not and probably will not — suspend aid to Rwanda. I know you want them to. I know you hope every last cent of overseas development assistance is ripped from Rwanda’s clutches until we are left as battered and broken — as gratifyingly African to your mind at least — as the DRC.

But wishing it does not make it so. There was no suspension. No freeze. A deferred discussion is all. That’s it. Postponed chat.

And, while we’re at it: Bosco Ntagnda is not the leader of M23. I gather they don’t even like him much. You have worked so hard to turn Ntaganda into Kony 2.0, and I appreciate you have invested a lot of energy in propagating the whole “unspeakably evil African warlord” storyline but this Terminator thing is just juvenile silliness and it embarrasses everyone concerned. Stop it.

And just stop distorting reality to suit your preferred worldview, at least in the news pages. The people who read your stuff know even less about Africa than you do and they are liable to believe what you tell them, however terrifying that concept is to me.

By all means, pen all the opinion pieces or editorials you like. Slam Rwanda and its leaders to your puny heart’s content. Go nuts. But please — I am almost but not quite begging now — please stop knowingly, wantonly, constantly lying and dressing it up as something other than the partisan, baseless drivel it is.

Kind regards

Sonia Uwimana


5 thoughts on “An open letter to barrow pushing, agenda toting foreign correspondents

  1. Peter de Mambla says:

    Why should they stop? They are merely doing their job. If you ever thought that their job was other than to lie and dress it up as impartial and disinterested reporting — well now you know better.

    These media companies are parts of corporations with interlocking directorships. I hope you get the drift. A board member, say, on the Reuters board may also sit on the board of, say, a mining-exploration company or two. Business is business.

    So why should these corporate media whores stop doing their job and start listening to you? They’re simply doing their jobs, serving their corporate masters with their corporate interests. Business is business.

  2. Mass Ornament says:

    So many things to say here but let’s leave it at this: your endless inflammatory rhetoric is admirable in its tenacity and tiring in its repetitiveness! Corporate media whores aside, your blog posts are an insult to the ethics of good journalism. They focus on splitting hairs as a distraction from the real issues at hand. Moreover, they dangerously and shamelessly use the rhetoric of anti-racism in an attempt to deflect valid criticism.

    Q: Why are you so concerned with demonstrating who is or is not the leader of M23 when you claim that Rwanda has no involvement in it to begin with? Isn’t this a domestic Congolese issue according to you?

    If your response is to criticize my word count, save your typing efforts. We’ve heard that distraction already.

  3. Joe says:

    To Mass Ornament: So many things you (or your parents/grand parents) didn’t expect to happen in Africa, eventually did happen! You/they hardly thought that Africans will ever question their actions, narratives, perceptions, etc by you about them- well, it is happening. And yes, with new generations of Africans, you have my word, it will get worse for you- not better. Something else will happen as a result, soon or later; you, the neo-colonial organizations disguised as human rights organizations, etc…will lose relevance in Africa, and that is in a long distant future. We all know why you hate Rwandan leadership- they defy the Western barbaric, prejudiced, racist view about Africa and Africans, they demand respect- and this is so itchy to you, isn’t it? Well, you will scratch until you die, Kagame or not, Rwandans will always demand dignity, so get over it!!

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