Letter to the Editor: An Incitement to Violence

Only 30 years ago, in July 1993, a new radio station began broadcasting to the citizens of Rwanda. Called Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), it was ostensibly aimed at the younger population, and decidedly opposed to the non-partisan stance of government-run Radio Rwanda. In particular, it devoted an inordinate amount of time talking about the “enemies” of the Hutu tribal group.

Referring to the Tutsi ethnic group, RTLM used the word “inyenzi,” or cockroach. From the initial broadcast on July 8, 1993, up to April 6, 1994, the hosts on this station repeatedly called human beings “vermin,” worthy of extermination. On April 6, the President of Rwanda’s plane was shot down, and he was killed. This was the fuse that lit the powder that had been being stockpiled for almost a year; in the next 100 days, 500,000-800,000 people were murdered. Tens of thousands of these men, women and children were hacked to death with machetes by their neighbors. 

On Saturday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day, Donald Trump referred to Democrats and those who oppose him as “vermin,” who he pledged to “root out.” He further mused that the greatest threat to America was “from within.” In a country with hundreds of millions of firearms, this kind of language must be called what it is – an incitement to violence – from a man who seeks the highest office in the land. 

Our Republic, and the lives of many of its citizens, hangs in the balance a little less than a year from now. I hope my fellow patriotic citizens will vote accordingly; it may be our last time.

Zack Lozoff

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin