Welcome to RwandaFile, the site devoted to primary source material from the Rwandan Genocide. The purpose of this site is to compile primary sources pertinent to the Genocide and put them online in an accessible, navigable, searchable location for all who are interested. Indeed, many—even most—of the documents on this site are not available anywhere else in such an accessible form.
Currently, most of the material on RwandaFile falls into three categories: (a) transcripts of broadcasts by R.T.L.M., a Rwandan hate radio station; (b) articles and other material from R.T.L.M.’s print counterpart, Kangura; and (c) resolutions passed by the United Nations Security Council which are relevant to Rwanda. See each individual section (see right) for more detailed descriptions.
The motivation to build this site stemmed from research I, myself, was doing into the Rwandan Genocide. I wanted to go a bit deeper than just reading about it; I wanted to read the radio transcripts and magazine articles that were being disseminated at the time, and I was disappointed at the paltry results that were returned by web searches like “R.T.L.M. Transcripts” and “ Kangura Articles.”
I found a place where these things were available: the online reference library of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. However, this site is poorly organized, labyrinthine and practically unusable. Much of the time, it is offline, and when it is up it is painfully slow. On top of all this, the documents it has are, for the most part, poorly scanned PDF files which are completely unsearchable and often illegible.
My mission, then, became to change this. With the help of a text recognition program, a do-it-yourself HTML and CSS book, and a lot of time and effort, this goal has been largely accomplished. To oversimplify a very long process, I downloaded all the files I was particularly interested in from the I.C.T.R. site, converted them to text and then to HTML, and built a website to house them. The result: the site you see now.
Note: Some people may have seen some of the material housed here on another site, www.surplusknowledge.com. SurplusKnowledge is also my creation; the original goal of that site was to publish a compendium of information on a variety of subjects I was interested in. A year and a half later, only one had been really developed (guess which). So, because of that (in addition to my overall dissatisfaction with the way SurplusKnowledge looked and worked), I decided to make a new site which would solve all my problems. I personally think it worked. All of the Rwanda material which was on SurplusKnowledge is now on this site, plus a whole lot more. Here, I also think it is easier to navigate and more attractively formatted.
As I said above, the reason I created this site was because of the dissatisfaction I felt when I was interested in finding this information. Thus, I have striven to make RwandaFile as accessible and intuitive as possible. I personally think this goal has been accomplished, but then, I’m not the judge—you are. If you are not happy with the way the site works, if you have recommendations for how to make it better, or if you would just like to confirm that it works well, please send your feedback. If you find any inaccuracies, typos or other mistakes, please tell me.
My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any feedback, comments, questions or recommendations, please do not hesitate to send a message. I like getting mail, and I will respond to it quickly and to the best of my ability.
Here’s the basic model for citations of material found on RwandaFile, according to M.L.A. style:
Last, First. “Title of Article.” Ed. First Last. Trans. First Last. Website Name. Web. Date retrieved. <U.R.L.>.
The first name is the author. The next two are for the editor and translator, if applicable. If there is no author available (e.g. for an R.T.L.M. transcript), put the translator first. Put me (Jake Freyer) as the editor. The website name is “RwandaFile.” When citing a Kangura article, add the name of publication after the article title.
Here are a few sample citations:
- Mpambara, Lydie, Trans. “R.T.L.M. Tape 0039.” Ed. Jake Freyer. RwandaFile. Web. 7 Jan. 2010. <http://www.rwandafile.com/rtlm/rtlm0039.html>.
- Ngeze, Hassan. “Ruhengeri and Byumba Attacks, the Tutsis Drank Champagne.” Kangura. Ed. Jake Freyer. RwandaFile. Web. 15 May. 2010. <http://www.rwandafile.com/Kangura/k40a.html>.
- U.N. Security Council. “Resolution 918 (1994) Adopted by the Security Council at its 3377th meeting, on 17 May 1994.” Ed. Jake Freyer. RwandaFile. Web. 31 Aug. 2010. <http://www.rwandafile.com/unsc/unsc918.html>.
You can feel safe citing material on this site; after all, I cite all my sources. All radio transcripts and news articles are linked to the PDFs they came from, all of which are clearly authentic documents, usually with I.C.T.R. jargon scribbled on them. Security Council Resolutions are cited as specified by the United Nations, and the sources for all section introductions are cited according to M.L.A. style.