- Rwanda Since the 1994 Genocide
Rwanda Since the 1994 Genocide


Veterans, the RDRC, and Biased Sources

By amandab on February 10, 2013

This weekend I was browsing through articles on the New Times’ homepage and came across one with the headline “Veterans get life skills.” It discusses how the RDRC (Rwanda Demobilization and Reintegration Commission) has been sending former combatants to vocational schools to be trained for occupations. The RDRC then gives them starter kids to help them begin work in their own business once they have received this training. So far, 7200 ex-combatants have been sent to these vocational schools and are being trained in areas such as carpentry, brick-laying, welding, construction, electronics, and hair dressing. They are told to not sell the tools they receive. The RCDC stresses that they are “here to ensure that you will not start from scratch” and has been praised for the “continued support of the former soldiers.”
While reading, I kept thinking about how the New Times is sponsored by the current government and how this bias may have influenced the material and quotes included in the article. The former rebel that the author chose to quote says that she “no longer [has] an excuse” to not be employed, which has negative implications towards most of the demobilized soldiers. One head of a vocational school comments on the ex-soldiers’ “diligent… effort to get a better life” and praises the RDRC for “helping to make their dreams a reality.” After reading both government and non-government sources in class this week, as well as critiques about the Rwandan government’s censorship of information, I’ve now become particularly conscious of who writes the material I read. I find myself wondering how accurate or how biased the writing is, and that’s a bit disorienting especially when it’s a seemingly simple article. This particular New Times article made me think about how the current government feels towards “ex-combatants” and if they usually tend to treat them differently than other civilians. This article spoke extremely highly of the RDRC and presented veterans as generally not being well-off or remarkable members of society.

check out the article for yourself at http://www.newtimes.co.rw/news/index.php?i=15265&a=63755

1 Comment

  • Professor Thomson said:

    Great observations, AB. I am glad you looked at the article with a critical lens. Did the article include any “data” on how many demobilized soldiers are employed in the professions for which they trained? What about the jobs?

    Carpentry, hair dressing, etc, are not professional positions. So are they possibly underemployed (not earning enough to provide for their families)?

    Any talk of resentment among survivors that former soldiers are being retrained to return to society (whatever that means!) and they are not? Is the program introducing additional class divisions to Rwandan society?

    We can discuss in class today if you choose to bring it up….

Leave a comment

Comments: Please make sure you keep your feedback thoughtful, on-topic and respectful. Offensive language, personal attacks, or irrelevant comments may be deleted. Responsibility for comments lies with each individual user, not with Colgate University. Comments will not appear immediately. We appreciate your patience.