Denying Rwanda: An Open Letter to John Pilger

December 29, 2010

Dear John,

I have long admired and learned from your work, and consider you one of the most humane and incisive voices on the political left.

I was therefore stunned to read your warm endorsement of the recent book by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, The Politics of Genocide, stating: "In this brilliant exposé of great power's lethal industry of lies, Edward Herman and David Peterson defend the right of us all to a truthful historical memory."

As you are aware if you have read the book, Herman & Peterson engage in brazen denial of the 1994 Rwandan genocide -- indeed, perhaps the most extreme denial that I (as a comparative genocide scholar) have ever read in a so-called scholarly source. In brief, Herman & Peterson deny that any organized killing of Tutsis by Hutus occurred in Rwanda in 1994. In the Rwandan context, this is the direct equivalent of asserting that the Nazis never killed Jews in death camps.

I have published a detailed critique of Herman & Peterson's denialist fabrications, available at I wish to ask you straightforwardly: do you indeed endorse this denialist enterprise? If not, will you reconsider your praise for the volume, and publicly denounce Herman & Peterson's attempts to obliterate the genocide of Tutsis in 1994 from "truthful historical memory"?

I am preparing further materials on this subject for publication, and would be grateful if you would clarify, on the record, your stance on whether Tutsis were systematically murdered by agents of "Hutu Power" and their supporters in Rwanda between April and July 1994. Indeed, I must respectfully insist that you do so.

Yours sincerely,

Adam Jones, Ph.D.
Author, Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction

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