Media Representation of the Rwandan Genocide Essay

Media Representation of the Rwandan Genocide Essay

Length: 1186 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

This article considers how the representation of events in the news can serve to shape public opinion or discourage statesmanship. Through the example of the Rwanda Genocide my argument is that representation is constitutive of the ways in which we understand the world and of the hierarchy that currently exists within mainstream media. As (Michael J. Shapiro, 1989) discussed ‘The reason for looking at representational practices in relation to texts, language and modes of interpretation is because it is through these practices that ideas about International Relations are produced’.

Through the media coverage on the Rwanda Genocide I investigate how a lack of representation can limit the study and practice of International Relations. Alan Kuperman (2000) presented the argument that ‘Western media blame the international community for not intervening quickly, but the media must share blame for not immediately recognizing the extent of the carnage and mobilizing world attention to it’. I then argue how representation can often be bias and misleading, and thus manipulate the understanding of information. During the Rwanda Genocides, the role of the radio and print in inciting killing and fuelling hate speech against the Tutsis, demonstrated the importance of controlled representation through the media. These two insights link directly to how central the concept of representation is to the study and practice of International Relations. The Western Media coverage during the Rwandan Genocides is analogous to how our understanding of conflict, war, or, more generally, the space within which international politics is deployed is always mediated by modes of representation.

Both domestic and international news media played a crucial ro...


... middle of paper ...


...ions. Department of International Politics. 1(1), 1-15.

Mamdani, Mahmoud. (2002). African states, citizenship and war: a case study. International Affairs, 78, 3, 493-506.

Obinor, F. 2005. Reporting Conflicts in African Way. Guardian Online, 14 November. Available at (accessed 19 May 2011).

Shapiro M J (December 1989). The Politics of Representation: Writing Practices in Biography, Photography and Policy Analysis. . 5th ed. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. 203.

Sibomana, A. 1999. Hope for Rwanda: Conversations with Laure Guilbert and Harve Deguine. Pluto Press, London, UK, 205 pp.

Sidaway, J.D. (2003). Sovereign excesses? Portraying postcolonial sovereigntyscapes. Political
Thompson, A. (2007). International media coverage of the Genocide. In: Kofi Annan THE MEDIA AND THE RWANDA GENOCIDE. London: Pluto Press. 145-261.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

An Ordinary M An Autobiography Essay

- The physical and mental intent to destroy another being often unveils the darkest side of human nature. In the memoir, “An Ordinary Man: An Autobiography” dedicated to the Rwandan genocide, war hero Paul Rusesabagina states: “A sad truth of human nature is that it is hard to care for people when they are abstractions, hard to care when it is not you or somebody close to you. Unless the world community can stop finding ways to dither in the face of this monstrous threat to humanity those words never again will persist in being one of the most abused phrases in the English language and one of the greatest lies of our time.” The United Nations promised never again would they allow genocide to...   [tags: Rwandan Genocide, Rwanda, Hutu, Tutsi]

Better Essays
1043 words (3 pages)

The Rwandan Genocide Of Genocide Essay

- Though the event occurred almost twenty-one years ago, the Rwandan genocide of 1994 has prompted much discussion about what truly caused the deaths of an estimated 800,000 civilians. Scott Straus, a political scientist and author of The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda, makes the claim that it is very difficult to precisely identify what began the genocide in Rwanda for a number of reasons, and also comments that many of the beliefs in regards to the causes and evolution of genocide in Rwanda are incomplete....   [tags: Rwandan Genocide, Rwanda, Hutu, Tutsi]

Better Essays
2481 words (7.1 pages)

Rwandan Genocide And The Genocide Essays

- Could the Rwandan Genocide have been prevented. Absolutely. If Rwanda hadn’t been under Belgian rule, and if western countries would have sent troops in to help, the genocide could 've been avoided. There was no light shed on the genocide by the western media. The media twisted and contorted the reality of the genocide. While Western media claimed that Tutsis were victims of genocide, they failed to identify the true victim of the genocide. Hutus and Tutsis were able to live peacefully until they were under Belgian Control....   [tags: Rwandan Genocide, Rwanda, Hutu, Tutsi]

Better Essays
1086 words (3.1 pages)

Essay The Genocide Of The Rwandan Genocide

- In the early 20st century a horrific genocide occurred between two African groups of people in Rwanda. In the early 1900’s Rwanda was colonized by Belgium and France but by Belgium missionaries. There were two main African clans in Rwanda at the time and that was the Tutsi’s and the Hutu’s. The Belgium missionaries gave power to the church. Many Africans that were practicing African traditional religions soon were converted to catholic Christians. The Belgium missionaries chose the Tutsi clan as being “elite” because of their physical appearance over the Hutus....   [tags: Rwandan Genocide, Rwanda, Tutsi, Hutu]

Better Essays
938 words (2.7 pages)

Essay about The Death Of The Rwandan Genocide

- Around 800,000 people died in a hundred day period in Rwanda in 1994. This equates to 20% of the total population of Rwanda. The manslaughter was one of its kind that it targeted a specific ethnic group— the Tutsis. Although there are no one specific reason why it started, there were some speculations. One of the possible reasons was when the president’s airplane was shot down in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. After the incident, the ruling government, which was mainly composed of the Hutu ethnic group, believed that this was the Tutsi doing, then ordered the mass murder through militia’s and ordinary people to go out and kill every Tutsi neighbor they encounter....   [tags: Rwandan Genocide, Rwanda, Hutu, Genocide]

Better Essays
1468 words (4.2 pages)

The Genocide And Its Effects On The Rwandan Genocide Essay

- If ancient chaos/race were an actual reason for why the genocide occurred, the racial tensions of the Hutus and the Tutsis would have existed long before the genocide and colonization. This notion is supported by Robert Melson, author of “Modern Genocide in Rwanda”. Melson alludes to the fact that during precolonial Rwanda, the Hutus and the Tutsis lived fairly peacefully with one other. Melson demonstrates that if it were tribal chaos, it would have to involve disputes over “land, booty, and women”....   [tags: Rwandan Genocide, Rwanda, Hutu, Tutsi]

Better Essays
1031 words (2.9 pages)

The Rwandan Genocide Essay

- The Ghosts of Rwanda The Rwandan Genocide. A horrible nightmare for many nations, but mainly for Rwanda. After a potential peace treaty going south, the Hutus, viciously murdered close to 1 million Tutsi. The United Nations and the United States stayed out of Rwanda in fear that another Somalia may take place. This paper is taking a look at the sociological ways that explain the chain events. In the tragedy of Rwanda, there have been different sayings of what was the official cause. In this particular case with the Rwandan Genocide the political aspect, the racial divide, and the theory of conflict are the main causes of this genocide....   [tags: Rwandan Genocide, Rwanda, Hutu, Tutsi]

Better Essays
1004 words (2.9 pages)

The Rwandan Genocide Essay

- There had always been tension between the Hutus and the Tutsis but, certain events increased tensions between the two groups. Rules, appearances, and opportunities were never the same for any of the groups therefore hate begin to build upon the two groups. This tension would continue for years until the genocide in 1994. One of the major causes of the Rwandan Genocide was tensions brought about by the Belgian rule from 1922 to 1962(Appendix A). Before World War I, Rwanda was a German territory. During the German colonial rule Tutsis were deemed as natural leaders due to their more European features, including slimmer bodies and lighter skin (Baker)....   [tags: Rwandan Genocide, Rwanda, Hutu, Tutsi]

Better Essays
1850 words (5.3 pages)

The Rwandan Genocide Essay example

- The Rwandan genocide is unlike any other worldwide catastrophe, occurring in a newly independent nation, as well as the lack of involvement from powerful nations and organizations attempting to stop and resolve the issue. As many African nations faced decolonization from European colonial rule in the early 1960s, many nations struggled to create a political unity amongst different groups. The situation in Rwanda not only showed the extremes of conflicts within newly independent African nations, but provided a wake up call to the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity so that they can maintain peace throughout each nation....   [tags: Rwandan Genocide, Rwanda, Hutu, Tutsi]

Better Essays
1133 words (3.2 pages)

The Rwandan Genocide Essay

- 1. The young men portrayed in the movie were members of the Hutu militia, known as Interhamwe, which translated means “those who attack together” (United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, August 14, 2001). They would mingle in their communities, often times singing and dancing. Music and in some cases, a martial arts dance were incorporated as part of their training. The songs and dances united them, helping to solidify a strong bond between them. These young men were recruited in this war because by virtue of their age, they would have been easy to convince that their futures would be much more prosperous if the Tutsi were no longer at a higher socio-economic status....   [tags: Rwandan Genocide, Rwanda, Hutu, Tutsi]

Better Essays
852 words (2.4 pages)