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Breaking the Mind Game: the ‘Hate Radio’ play through the eyes of a young mind

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Words have power indeed. This is not a new saying it has been demonstrated for years but this was highlighted even more during the ‘Hate Radio’ play that has been in Huye and Kigali’s theaters since April 7th, 2023.

The play is about examining the role played by Rwanda’s RTML (Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines) during the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Milo Rau Dramaturgy served as the director, with Jens Diethrich producing. The cast includes Sebastien Foucault who plays Georges Ruggiu a Belgian radio presenter who worked for RTLM, Diogéne Ntarindwa (Atome) who plays Kantano Habimana, Bwanga Pilipili who plays Valerié Bemeriki, and Eric Ngangare who plays DJ Joseph Gatsikira.

The Genocide is a dark chapter in world history, marked by extreme violence and senseless killings. While there were many factors that contributed to the genocide, one of the most insidious was the role played by the media.

The radio station RTLM, in particular, was notorious for its hateful propaganda, which helped to fuel the violence and turn neighbor against neighbor.

The play ‘Hate Radio’ exposes the insidious ways that propaganda can be used to manipulate and control

In the play “Hate Radio,” which is based on the real-life events surrounding the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, I was able to see how easy it was for RTLM to package its hate speech in a way that made a lot of its listeners, especially young one succumb to their hateful propaganda without noticing.

Young people from all over would call engaging in their bloodthirsty conversations, innocently– I like to think– some would call to request songs, and others would call to give out information. My mind was blown.

Through the music they played, the announcements they would air, the conversations they would have it was all a mind game, well that is what I have seen from the play…

The entertainment element was crucial for RTLM, what other way would they have caught the youth’s attention?

The play demonstrates how entertainment can be used to package propaganda

The station’s hosts used a mix of inflammatory language, false information, and fear-mongering to convince listeners that they were under attack from a dangerous enemy.

By framing the violence as a defensive measure, RTLM was able to justify and even encourage the killing of innocent people.

For me, one of the key takeaways from the play is the importance of critical thinking and independent thought in resisting propaganda and hate speech.

Those that were able to see through the lies of RTLM are the ones who are able to resist the call to violence. They are able to recognize the humanity of their fellow citizens, even when they are being demonized by the media.

This underscores an important truth about propaganda: it is only effective if people are willing to believe it. By questioning the messages that we are being fed by the media, we can guard against being manipulated into hateful or violent actions.

The dialogue was about the impact of propaganda and the importance of critical thinking and independent thought

We should be able to dilute propaganda from entertainment, we should be able to think and reflect on what we watch and hear. We should expose our minds to the right things.

We can seek out multiple sources of information, fact-check claims before accepting them as true, and engage in dialogue with those who hold different views.

The need for critical thinking and independent thought is especially important for young people. As they navigate an increasingly complex and interconnected world, they are bombarded with messages from a variety of sources. Social media, in particular, can be a breeding ground for false information and hate speech.

It is up to us as young people to think critically and independently. We can question the messages we are receiving, seek out diverse perspectives, and engage in respectful dialogue with others. We can help to build a more just and peaceful world.

Hate Radio is a powerful reminder of the dangers of propaganda and the importance of critical thinking and independent thought. We must never stop questioning and challenging harmful ideas. We can create a world where hate and violence have no place.

Building a more just and peaceful world starts with respectful dialogue

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