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Zami Mille – not in Rwanda during the genocide, but in Ethiopia today!

27 Feb

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)


In the eve of Rwandan genocide, Radio Mille played an important role instigating the violence towards Tutsi’s. According to a historical record the radio station was rowdy and used street language – there were disc jockeys, pop music and phone-ins. Sometimes the announcers were drunk. It was designed to appeal to the unemployed, the delinquents and the gangs of thugs in the militia. “In a largely illiterate population, the radio station soon had a very large audience who found it immensely entertaining.” (Linda Melvern) it was set up and financed by hard-line Hutu extremists, mostly from northern Rwanda: wealthy businessmen, government ministers and various relatives of the President. Its backers also included the directors of two African banks and the vice-president of the interahamwe (militia). Some people – including the Belgian ambassador and staff of several aid agencies – recognized the danger and asked for international help in shutting down the broadcasts, but it was impossible to persuade western diplomats to take it seriously. They dismissed the station as a joke. “
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