31 gennaio 2008

Kenya, la radio dell'odio

Ci risiamo, in Africa, con l'effetto Milles Collines, l'emittente rwandese che nel 1994 aveva incitato al genocidio di 800.000 Tutsi. Secondo le organizzazioni umanitarie kenyote, alla base degli attuali scontri a carattere etnico nella Rift Valley ci sarebbero anche alcune trasmissioni radio locali che esortano alla violenza e alla vendetta nei confronti dell'etnia dominante, la Kikuyu. I Kikuyu, la tribù del padre della patria Kenyatta, appoggiano il presidente rieletto Kibaki, mentre i Luo, insieme ai Kalenjin, sono i seguaci più accaniti del candidato oppositore Odinga. Quello che segue è il pezzo apparso giorni fa sul New York Sun, mentre sul sito della Voice of America potete leggere e ascoltare la corrispondenza di Alisha Ryu.

Radio Phone-Ins 'Inciting Kenya's Tribal Killings'

BY MIKE PFLANZ - The Daily Telegraph January 28, 2008 URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/70309

NAIROBI, Kenya — A new wave of bloodshed in Kenya's Rift Valley killed at least 70 people and triggered a fresh exodus of people fleeing their homes yesterday. Shops and homes were torched in Naivasha, 50 miles from Nairobi, after similar violence broke out further west in Nakuru. The fighting again pitted the Luo and Kalenjin tribes, which back the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, against President Kibaki's Kikuyu supporters.
For the first time the Kikuyus appeared to be orchestrating the violence in what many fear were revenge raids for a month of attacks against them by rival tribes. Evidence is growing that hatefilled radio broadcasts have poured fuel on to the fire of Kenya's post-election killings and contributed to "ethnic cleansing" in parts of the country. In a chilling echo of Rwanda's genocidal Radio Milles Collines, press and broadcast monitors said programs and songs played on local language stations had helped incite tribal killings. "It has been thinly veiled, but it is clearly hate speech and to a large extent the violence we're seeing now can be attributed to that," Kamanda Mucheke of the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights said.
A byproduct of Kenya's move toward democracy has been the explosion of private radio stations serving a rural population without access to television or newspapers. National broadcasters in English and Swahili — the two main national languages — have been praised for even-handed election reporting and peace-building efforts. But attention is now focusing on smaller local-language stations serving different tribes.
Presenters running phone-ins allowed their callers to rant unchecked, Mr. Mucheke said, using obscure metaphors to signify to other tribes. Kikuyus, who have settled in traditionally Kalenjin and Luo areas, were called "mongooses" wanting to "steal the chickens" of other tribes. "People of the milk," meaning the cattle-herding Kalenjins, were told they must "take out the weeds in our midst" — the Kikuyus. In turn, Kikuyu stations referred to the "animals from the west" wanting to take over the "kingdom" — a reference to Luo and Kalenjin threats to Kikuyu homes and businesses.
More than 800 people have died and 250,000 have been forced from their homes since Kenya's election results were announced four weeks ago amid widespread accusations of ballot rigging. "The power of radio to mobilize people in Africa is almost beyond comprehension to a Western mind," said Caesar Handa, the executive director of Strategic Public Relations and Research, which has been contracted by the United Nations to monitor Kenya's election coverage. "What many people hear on the radio they take as gospel truth, they think their actions are officially sanctioned, that they are justified."

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