“Rwanda Audiotapes Series” by Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM)
Selection of Radio Broadcast & Songs recorded in Rwanda (1994)
Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) was a Rwandan radio station which broadcast from July 8, 1993 to July 31, 1994. It played a significant role in inciting the April–July 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The station’s name is French for “Free Radio and Television of the Thousand Hills”, deriving from the description of Rwanda as “Land of a Thousand Hills”. It received support from the government-controlled Radio Rwanda, which initially allowed it to transmit using their equipment.
Widely listened to by the general population, it projected hate propaganda against Tutsis, moderate Hutus, Belgians, and the United Nations mission UNAMIR. It is widely regarded by many Rwandan citizens (a view also shared and expressed by the UN war crimes tribunal) as having played a crucial role in creating the atmosphere of charged racial hostility that allowed the genocide to occur. A working paper published at Harvard University found that RTLM broadcasts were an important part of the process of mobilising the population, which complemented the mandatory Umuganda meetings. RTLM has been described as “radio genocide”, “death by radio” and “the soundtrack to genocide”.
“Wars are not fought for territory, but for words. Man’s deadliest weapon is language. He is susceptible to being hypnotized by slogans as he is to infectious diseases. And where there is an epidemic, the group mind takes over.” – Arthur Koestler (1978)
This selection includes 6 Radio Broadcast & 9 songs of anti-Tutsi propaganda that were sung by the Interahamwe militia and Hutu extremists, before and during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.