The New Times (Kigali)
13 September 2008
Posted to the web 13 September 2008
We saw with painful shock a cartoon in The New Vision issue of September 10, captioned 'Now Rock Bar will never fall short of supplies again.'
It made us wonder about the editor's moral standing. That he would need to 'import' a whole lot of Rwandan women in exchange for 'oil'!
We are dismayed! Firstly, by his perverted ignorance as an editor working for what we would dare to want to believe is a 'credible' national paper, whose objective is to report fairly with responsibility, on matters social, political and economic.
A misogynistic attitude that goes against the fact that journalism ethics in our modest profession, have since been rescued from the throes of a gutter press, that feeds on the sexualisation of women in our society.
Gone are the days when legs and breasts sold news! The woman and the African woman in particular has gained her place of respectability in our society.
Women are no longer just helpless pawns of insatiable male sexual appetites. Mr. Editor, women are no longer sex objects. Women have legs, breasts and dare I name what else? And so do you have ears, legs and rest of the body anatomy that qualifies you to be a man. Let us not practice journalism that rewards sick minds.
Sick minds that rape minors; are we not the same journalists who report on the rape of helpless little seven-year old girls?
Or the sodomy of helpless little boys? These sick minds know no boundaries. Sadly, your kind of gutter journalism applauds them on, in promoting this kind of sexual violence against women.
You violate fundamental ethos of our profession, to advocate, educate and inform our societies in a manner that fosters positive change, by positively influencing our day to day behavior.
A child's mind is very impressionable. Its development is affected by many things. Imagine the confusion a child goes through when they see, 'naked' women in your paper!
In that respect, we shall not be afraid or let me say Rwandan woman will not be abused into fearing to show her gazelle-like legs, or her dazzling beauty, just because some editor like you will gleefully and wantonly feast on it.
Giving the go ahead for such a cartoon to run leaves no option but such a scenario of you to be conjured up in one's mind.
Mr. Editor, you have chosen to attack the wrong country or dare I say the wrong woman? The 'Munyarwandakazi' has pushed the women's liberation cause to other heights; she is not seen as a sex object or subject for that.
Heights that even the so called established democracies in our world struggle to match, 49 percent Parliamentary female representation is no easy feat!
The 'Munyarwandakazi' has survived rape, torture and murder. Notwithstanding that her victories at representing the dignified face of the African woman; is one which your cartoon insults today.
We will not go into her many achievements in breaking traditional barriers to female success; in what have been traditionally believed to be male domains in both her private and public life. She certainly is not a sex object. We take exception!
Mr. Editor, rather than juxtaposing oil tankers entering Rwanda from Uganda and Rwandan women leaving their country as 'export' merchandise, I would rather you used a cartoon of Ugandan 'men' seeking Rwandan women.
Not just for past times, as Rwandan women are too proud and way above that, but to seek their hand in marriage! It will only take a real man to accept the law that a woman has a right to land and property.
A Rwandan woman will not tolerate a man who expects to just be a 'man' and order her around. It's no wonder that Rwanda is getting so many accolades, both men and women are working at an equal footing with the aim of uplifting their families and society.
I would like to dare sisters, fellow journalists, not just in Rwanda but the African community too, to come in condemnation of your most distasteful portrayal of a woman who otherwise deserves better.
Let our children not grow up with the wrong mentality picked up from what should be credible national papers, papers that disrespect the girl child and women.
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