Rites of Passage: Travel Log 7 “Exploring Stereotypes: Global Responsibility” Part 1- Madeline Eldredge, Cork Ireland


“She’s Waving Goodbye….” by Junwhee Ahn

The human rights editorial cartoon of the 1994 Rwandan genocide that I chose depicts the skeleton of a woman laying on the ground with her arm raised in the air- clearly a sign of asking for help. She has the red, scratched on word of “Rwanda” on her body to symbolize the struggle that Rwanda faced as a country. In the distance of the skeleton, there is a group of people waving back to the skeleton who are conversing amongst themselves about what they should do. One says, “Does she want something?” while another says “We should wave back, I suppose” and the follow-up response is “Yes, indeed. As concerned nations, we ought not appear rude.” I ultimately chose this editorial cartoon because it shows how little other countries at the United Nations meetings cared that there was a genocide occurring. The documentary about (Ret.) Lt. General Roméo Dallaire called “Shake Hands with the Devil” opened my eyes to the tragic events and seriousness surrounding that entire situation.

Government officials knew exactly what was happening in Rwanda, yet they refused to communicate with Dallaire to find a solution and did not lend a hand until it benefited them. For example, Bill and Hillary Clinton visited and paid their respects to the people of Rwanda but more could have been done to deter the mass genocide. I do not think that the Americans realized the severity of the situation until they personally visited Rwanda and witnessed the devastation firsthand. Although this article depicts many human rights violations, the two main ones are the violation of Article 1 and Article 2. Article 1 states that all human beings should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. When the Belgiums ruled Rwanda, they brought in anthropologists to run tests and they, accidentally, caused a segregation among the people due to identification cards that were given out following the research that caused a huge divide in the community: the Hutu’s and Tutsi’s. Article 2 states that everyone is entitled to all of the rights and freedoms without any distinction of any kind. The people of Rwanda felt utterly and terrifyingly trapped in their own country and probably felt betrayed by the rest of the world who stood by and watched them suffer. They were denied any and all of their basic human rights because the people of the United Nations refused to lend a hand or to truly understand the situation when it is part of their occupation to try to keep the peace between and within countries. I think a part of this was the lack of technology and communication in 1994 and Slimbach makes a great point on page 15 of Wise for the World. Becoming World Wise: a Guide to Global Learning by saying “There may once have been a time when a desire to aid others on the other side of the world could not easily be translated into action. Our sense of involvement with the fate of others was in inverse proportion to the physical distance that separated us. Not anymore. The Internet and television have brought images of suffering in distance lands into our immediate consciousness.” The recent advancements in technology have made it easier for people to connect all over the world to send all different types of help: encouraging words, monetary donations and volunteers. When I’m home in America, I can’t watch a television show without seeing Sarah McLachlan and the ASPCA commercials.

(Ret.) Lt. General Roméo Dallaire says he failed the people of Rwanda but I think he truly opened the eyes of millions of people to the tragedies they faced. A more recent example in the media of the violation of these human rights are the “(insert race here) Lives Matter” campaign that soon, and thankfully, turned into “All Lives Matter.” I think the global treatment of the human rights altogether has changed dramatically. In my opinion and based off past historical events, the world is almost traveling backwards in time. America, specifically, has had an overwhelming amount of discriminatory hate crimes when there is honestly no need for them to even exist. I think these violations happen every single day all around the world and the global treatment of them is inapparent.


One thought on “Rites of Passage: Travel Log 7 “Exploring Stereotypes: Global Responsibility” Part 1- Madeline Eldredge, Cork Ireland

  1. Madeline, I think the cartoon you chose is so powerful because it so clearly shows how badly and obviously the Rwandans needed help and yet how ignored they were. People seemed to turn a blind eye even when they clearly knew what was going on simply because it was not their problem. It is so sad to see. But you are also correct in saying that maybe people did not know the severity of it so we cannot judge them too harshly if they did not know how bad it truly was.


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