On Tuesday night, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper compared the concerns of those who stormed the U.S. Capitol last month to the grotesque rhetoric that eventually led to genocides in Africa and Europe.
The crux of Cooper’s comparison to the genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda in the 1990s was what he referred to as the “otherizing” of people by former President Donald Trump and his supporters.
“Part of it, I think, just based on what you were just saying, it comes to mind, the idea of otherizing people is something I think we saw a lot of over the last four years,” the CNN host said. “I mean, certainly we’ve seen a lot over the last decades, but it’s so easy to otherize people, to make people other than — other than American, other than patriotic, other than human.”
“You know, and we’ve seen it in Bosnia, we’ve seen it in Rwanda, where radio was telling people that, you know, Hutus were telling the radio listeners that Tutsi were cockroaches for, you know, getting them ginned up for genocide,” the anchor continued.
“And you see it in these videos, where people who claim they are patriots are in the face of a police officer calling him, you know, as we’re seeing it right there and — and, you know, gouging out the eye of one, you know, squeezing one in, you know, suffocating one in a doorway,” he added, referring to the Jan. 6 riot inside the Capitol.
Cooper drew a similar comparison between the Capitol riot and the Rwandan genocide during a Jan. 12 segment with New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, who in a previous appearance on CNN dismissed China’s ongoing genocide against minority Muslims.
The Rwandan genocide resulted in the deaths of at least 800,000 people, one tenth of the country’s population. And in Bosnia, Serb forces killed as many as 8,000 Bosniak men and boys in the town of Srebrenica in 1995, the largest massacre in Europe since the Holocaust.
Five people died in the Capitol riot: One was shot by police, another suffered a heart attack, one died of a stroke, another died from a “medical emergency,” and one other, Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, passed away, though his cause of death has not yet been determined.