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When Genocide is, apparently, a Laughing Matter

Categories: Sub-Saharan Africa, Western Europe, France, Rwanda, Breaking News, Citizen Media, Ethnicity & Race, Freedom of Speech, History, Human Rights, Humor, International Relations, Media & Journalism, War & Conflict

French humorist Nicolas Canteloup has come under fire for a sketch making light of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda [1] [fr]. Following the outrage,  Mr Canteloup has yet to apologize [2] for the sketch. Audrey Kucinskas [3], a blogger for the Plus asks the logical question: “can anything be a laughing matter? [4]” [fr]: 

Rire du génocide rwandais, ça me dépasse. Vous vous souvenez qu'en 1994, plus d'un million de personnes ont été torturées, violées et assassinées ? Ça vous fait rire ? 

Joking about the Rwandan genocide is beyond me. Do you remember in 1994 when more than a million people were tortured, raped and murdered? It was a riot, wasn't it ?

The president of CRAN, Louis-George Tin believes the sketch is totally unacceptable [5] [fr]:

Quand il s'agit des Noirs, à l'évidence, on peut tout se permettre. Mais il est temps que cela cesse. Ce soi-disant humour masque mal une forme extrême de mépris et d'abjection. Devant le crime contre l'humanité, esclavage, Shoah, Rwanda, on ne rit pas, on fait silence.

When it comes to black people, it seems that again, anything goes. But it is time to put an end to that. This so-called humor barely hides an extreme form of contempt and prejudice. When it comes to crime against humanity, slavery, the Holocaust and Rwanda, we do not laugh, we just ought to stay silent.