The Listening Post

Monuments of history or bigotry? The politics of statues

Should historic statues remain standing even if they celebrate racism? Plus, the man behind Rwanda’s hate media.

On The Listening Post this week: Should historic statues remain standing even if they celebrate racism and violence? Plus, the mastermind behind Rwanda’s hate-spewing radio station is caught.

Monuments of history or bigotry? The politics of statues

The police killing of George Floyd, a Black American, and the weeks of protests that followed in the United States have sent ripples across the Atlantic. The defining image of the demonstrations in the UK has been the toppling of a statue in the port city of Bristol; a monument to Edward Colston, a slave trader whose wealth helped build the city. Colston’s fall has offended those who say you cannot erase the past and that those who profited from slavery should not be judged by today’s moral standards. Tell that to the thousands of British demonstrators, not just people of colour, who are out to tell the real story about Britain’s role in the formation of the slave trade – the legacy of which spans the globe.


Maya Goodfellow – Author, Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Became Scapegoats

Adam Elliot-Cooper – Research Associate, University of Greenwich

Priyamvada Gopal – Author, Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent

Kadian Pow – Lecturer, Birmingham City University

On our radar:

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Flo Phillips about a racist cartoon put out by the Japanese public broadcaster, NHK; and the US broadcasters reconsidering what television shows are appropriate viewing.

Felicien Kabuga: The man behind Rwanda’s hate media

While the media have been preoccupied with the pandemic, some important news stories have gone under-reported. One of those stories took place on May 16: the arrest, in France, of a man named Felicien Kabuga. Kabuga is accused of being a key figure behind the 1994 genocide in Rwanda which claimed the lives of about one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Kabuga set up and funded Radio Mille Collines, a station that now lives in infamy. RTLM, as it was known, laid the groundwork for the genocide with its incessant stigmatisation of the Tutsis and went on to play a key role in coordinating the killings. The Listening Post‘s Nic Muirhead tells the story of Felicien Kabuga and the hate media of Rwanda’s genocide.


Jean-Pierre Sagahutu – Genocide survivor

Catherine Bond – Former journalist

Tom Ndahiro – Genocide scholar