I was watching the news on Monday night when a breathless journalist, telling us that there were two explosions close to the finish line of the Boston Marathon, interrupted regular programming. At the time of writing this, I heard that there were three innocents dead and more than 150 injured.
It’s a tragic event for sure. But I noted two things that I felt I should talk about.
First of all, I noted just how sober minded the journalists, who reported the event, were. Before it was confirmed, none of them, no matter their media affiliation, termed the explosions a ‘bombing’. They avoided the word ‘terrorism’ and they were very mindful of the tone of their language. They refused to speculate on the causes of the two blasts until they got official confirmation. Only after Vice President Biden released a statement saying the blasts were caused by bombs, did CNN call it a ‘bombing’.
The media understood that pronouncements could either exacerbate the situation, sowing hysteria, or lessen the tension in Boston and the rest of the country. They choose the former and good for them. Now only if these very same western journalists had been so ethical in, for instance, Kenya during the run up to the presidential election, I wouldn’t have an issue. But they weren’t. Instead of sober analysis and responsible reporting, they made an already jittery populace even more nervous. It got so bad that Kenyans took to Twitter to denounce CNN’s reporting. In fact, it was left to Kenyan journalists to remain professional. Funny enough, these responsible journalists were judged by their western peers for being politically influenced.
It would seem that there are different rules being applied here. But I’m not surprised and neither should anyone else; after all, don’t we all know that ‘west is Best…and to hell with all the rest?
The second thing I noticed was just how vocal local social media enthusiasts were following the bombings. It seemed as if every Rwandan on social media sent ‘prayers’ to the victims. And why not? We are a global community and what happens to Bostonians affects us all. However, I must ask this question. When a grenade attack occurred near Kimironko market on March 26, killing one person and injured about eight, I did not get the same sense of global community. Honestly, forget ‘global’, there was barely a peep from Kigalians.
This made me wonder. Have we been so brainwashed and blasé that we only react when the tragedy occurs in certain places? Places that don’t ‘deserve’ tragedy? Just this weekend 50 civilians were killed in an attack on a courthouse in Mogadishu by Al-Shabaab. Lets be honest here, how many of you posted links on their Facebook and Twitter denouncing the attack and standing with the people of Somalia?
This situation reminds me of George Orwell’s classic, Animal Farm. In a famous passage of the book, Napoleon the head honcho, writes on the barnyard door, ‘all animals (read humans) are created equal but some animals are more equal than others’.
In other news, Rwanda refused to allow the UN Security Council to insert language in a statement praising the International Criminal Court (ICC). That shouldn’t have been surprising to anyone considering the fact that it refused to sign the Rome Statue establishing it. However, the Associated Press’s James Spielmann writes that: ‘Rwanda is angry that the ICC has indicted Bosco Ntaganda and Laurent Nkunda, M23 rebels in eastern Congo, who are reported to be backed by Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
He then continues, ‘ Analysts have speculated that Kagame may not want to see Ntaganda testify at The Hague court because of his knowledge of military deals and illicit mineral extractions between Congo and Rwanda’.
Forget that Nkunda isn’t even indicted by the ICC. Did the reporter do even a bit of research? If he had he would’ve known that Rwanda cooperated with the US and the ICC to fly Ntaganda to The Hague. Secondly, Ntaganda was indicted for what he allegedly did in Ituri under the command of Thomas Lubanga. The same Lubanga who was found guilty by the ICC. Was Rwanda even mentioned in the first trial? No. What makes anyone think that it will be involved in this second trial? This is just lazy journalism.