15th Anniversary of Rwandan Genocide

April 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

Today, April 7th, is the 15th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. In 1994, 800,000 people were killed over a period of 100 days. That equals 8,000 people a day, for 100 days. That’s more than 2 and a half times the number of people killed on 9/11, for 100 consecutive days, in a country with a population equivalent to New York City. 1 in 10 Rwandans were murdered and millions more displaced. All of this happened while the rest of the world stood and watched without interfering, because it didn’t want to get its hands dirty.

Taking the example of then President Clinton, who refused to get involved because of the blunder that happened in Somalia a few years before, I think its clear that these mistakes were not a one time thing (Read: Darfur, Burma, etc). Referring to the genocide in Rwanda as “genocide like events” or “instances of genocide” instead calling it genocide in order to absolve himself of the responsibilities associated with genocide as a leader in the international community. Although he has come out and apologized since, its really to no avail for those affected by this conflict.

In memory of those who lost their lives, I think its incumbent upon us to hold our own governments and the international community responsible for these instances and to make sure things like this become absolutely impermissible in the future. Of course I’m talking about genocide being impermissible but also the apathy, indifference and lack of responsibility on the part of the international community.

If you’re interested in reading further about this event, here are a few of my favorite books and documentaries on the topic

Shake Hands with the Devil – Romeo Dallaire

Shake Hands with the Devil (documentary)

We Wish to Inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: Stories from Rwanda – Phillip Gourevitch

We did Nothing – Linda Polman

A complete list of books can be found here

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