Whoever changed the Wikipedia page that lists my journalistic work has removed from the public domain information contributing to our knowledge of the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi of Rwanda.
The deletion of whole paragraphs took place shortly after the publication of my seventh book, Intent to Deceive, Denying the Genocide of the Tutsi (Verso 2020), a book describing a campaign to deny this genocide by using disinformation and fake news to minimise, distort, and alter history.
I am a British investigative journalist. I previously worked on the Insight Team on the Sunday Times. I have written seven books of non-fiction. Whoever changed the page removed all reference to my previous books including two concerning the circumstances of the genocide of the Tutsi: A People Betrayed. The Role of the West in Rwanda’s Genocide (Zed Books, 2000 and revised paperback 2009) and Conspiracy to Murder. The Rwandan Genocide (Verso 2004 revised paperback 2006), these books explaining how the génocidaires of Hutu Power planned the elimination of Tutsi and their skilled use of atrocity speech to promote a racist ideology and incite murder.
The information was replaced with the critical views of Intent to Deceive of Professor Filip Reyntjens, an emeritus professor of law and politics at the University of Antwerp. Reyntjens is hardly an impartial observer for by his own admission had a hand in Rwandan politics pre-genocide. He had helped to write the 1978 constitution at the request of President Juvénal Habyarimana. This had enshrined into Rwandan law an apartheid quota system for the minority Tutsi. Reyntjens views now dominate the Wikipedia page and this includes a paragraph containing what he thinks constitutes genocide denial.
Professor Reyntjens appears in my book Intent to Deceive as someone who casts doubts on whether or not the genocide of the Tutsi was planned, who argues that the victims brought the catastrophe upon themselves. Reytnjens believes in the notion of a second genocide of Hutu. He appears in chapter 12 of Intent to Deceive called Moral Equivalence pp 98, 108,109,186-92.
It is unfortunate that the conclusions of scholars, journalists, and historians in France who are troubled by Reyntjens revisionism are not available in the English language.
An editorial in Le Monde in 2017 from a distinguished group was scathing about Reyntjens views accusing him of bringing confusion rather than clarity. These experts included Aurélia Kalisky, Raphaël Doridant, Yves Ternon, Patrick de Saint-Exupéry, Vincent Duclert, Hélène Dumas, Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau.
One can only surmise the motive of someone who has seen fit to drastically alter a Wikipedia page that outlines a fifty-year career in British journalism.
https://doi.org/10.4000/chrhc.7463 Alain Gabet and Sébastien Jahan, ‘Quand la boussole perd le nord: ‘Analyse de l’ordonnance’ «Que sais-je ?» sur le génocide des Tutsi du Rwanda’, Cahiers d’Histoire. Revue d’Histoire Critique, 139, 2018, 171–193
Linda Melvern is a British investigative journalist. For several years she worked for The Sunday Times (UK), including on the investigative Insight Team. Since leaving the newspaper she has written six books of non-fiction and is widely published in the British press and academic journals. She is a former Honorary Professor of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, in the Department of International Politics, Melvern is a world expert on the United Nations. For the past twenty years she has concentrated on the circumstances of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She was the second vice-President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars.
Melvern was a consultant to the Military One prosecution team at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and a part of her archive of documents on the planning and preparation of the genocide form a part of the documentary evidence used by the prosecution in this trial.
A first account of the circumstances of the genocide and the role of the decision making in the Security Council was published by Melvern in The Scotsman (“Death by Diplomacy”, January 1995), and this included the story of the abandonment of the volunteer UN peacekeepers under their Force Commander, Lt. Gen Romeo Dallaire. Melvern’s book on the genocide, A People Betrayed. The Role of the West in Rwanda’s Genocide (Zed Books, 2000), is in its fifth impression and is used today as source material by students in universities worldwide. A People Betrayed was published in Sweden: Att Förråda Ett Folk. Västmakterna Och Folkmordet I Rwanda (Ordfront 2003). A revised edition of A People Betrayed was published in 2009. In April 2004 Melvern published her second book about the genocide, Conspiracy to Murder. The Rwandan Genocide (Verso), a detailed account of its planning, who was responsible, and how it progressed. She has published numerous articles, essays and papers related to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She has visited a wide variety of institutions in the UK and abroad in order to give presentations on the subject. These include at the Centre for Social Theory and Comparative History, UCLA; The Press Union, Athens; the Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.; Life After Death Conference, Kigali, 2001; the Genocide Prevention Conference, FCO and Aegis, Nottinghamshire, 2002; Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; and the University of Mary Washington, Virginia. For the 10th commemoration of the genocide Melvern presented a paper at a conference at the Imperial War Museum, London, and was a panellist at the 10th commemorative conference in Kigali, Rwanda.
Other books include United Nations, a book for children (Franklin Watts World Organisations Series, 2001); “Techno-Bandits” (co-authored; Boston Houghton Mifflin, 1983), an account of the campaign by the US Department of Defense to stop the illicit Soviet efforts to acquire American technology; and “The End of the Street”, published in London, in 1986 (Methuen), exposing the secret planning by Rupert Murdoch to destroy the British print unions and move his newspapers to a modern printing plant at Wapping. The Ultimate Crime (Allison and Busby, 1995) was a secret history of the UN’s first 50 years and was the basis of a TV series for Channel Four, the three-part UN Blues broadcast in January 1995.
Linda Melvern is a British investigative journalist. For several years she worked for The Sunday Times (UK), including on the investigative Insight Team. Since leaving the newspaper she has written seven books of non-fiction. She is a former Honorary Professor of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, in the Department of International Politics. For the past twenty years she has concentrated on the circumstances of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She was the second vice-President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. Melvern was a consultant to the Military One prosecution team at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and a part of her archive of documents on the planning and preparation of the genocide form a part of the documentary evidence used by the prosecution in this trial. Professor Filip Reyntjens describes her as one of the “staunch defenders of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front”. In 2017, Rwandan President Paul Kagame presented Melvern with the Igihango National Order of Outstanding Friendship.
In 2020, Verso published her book Intent to Deceive: Denying the Rwandan Genocide. Alex Russell published a favorable review of the book in Financial Times, while Roméo Dallaire also praises it in The Globe and Mail. In a critical review of the book, Reyntjens writes that the book suffers from confirmation bias, selective use of sources, factual errors, and overtly favoring the RPF. He also states,
A conversation on facts and their interpretation becomes impossible when false accusations are levelled against participants, for instance, by branding them as genocide deniers, merely because they have a different reading of events. Throughout the book, several scholars and other writers, including the author of this review, are accused of denial, although they unambiguously acknowledge the historical fact that the Rwandan Tutsi have been the victims of genocide.
However, Reyntjens also writes that the book is well written and “offers interesting and at times novel insights into a number of events”. Susan Thomson also criticized the book, stating that it is “a regurgitation of the government line, rooted in a selective reading of history”. She states that Melvern fails to distinguish between actual genocide denial and non-adherence to the version of history preferred by the RPF, as well as ignoring the RPF’s use of laws against “genocide denial” to target critics.