Travel Log 7: “Global Responsibility” Part 1. By Ashley Moreau, Cork, Ireland.


The political carton “She’s Waving Goodbye” shown above of the Rwandan Genocide depicts a fragile, skeleton lying on the ground with the label “Rwanda” on her chest, and her arm is raised. Next to her lays piles of skulls and bones. In the background, there is a group of people who are looking on with confusion. They think that the dead body on the ground is “waving” to them and that they must wave back so as to not appear “rude.” Essentially this cartoon is a satirical commentary on the fact that most western nations were completely ignorant to what was going on during the Rwandan Genocide. Just like these people are oblivious to the fact that it is a dead person on the ground, so there is no way that she is waving to them, most western countries during the genocide remained far away in a political and military sense, therefore they did not actually know what was going on. The policy makers in France, Belgium, and the U.S. refused to acknowledge that genocide was occurring and failed to intervene with their political and moral authority. This is a major violation of human rights. The fact that civilized nations with so much power in international affairs did not intervene to stop the genocidal government from mass-murdering the Tutsis is repulsive. Those countries’ leaders, in my opinion, are guilty of violating nearly 800,000 innocent humans’ right to live. After watching the video “Shaking hands with the Devil,” exploring the story of Romeo Dallaire, it really became evident to me just how unhelpful the UN and western nations were during this crisis. Dallaire and his troops did not have even close to enough support and resources to stop this genocide from occurring, and even worse was the countries like France and Belgium removed their troops when the violence began to break out.

A more recent example of a violation of the same type of human right is seen with the Syrian Civil War crisis. In a similar way to the Tutsi vs. Hutu’s conflict in Rwanda, in Syria, rebels from the Sunni majority, fed up with the actions of President Assad, are fighting against the president’s Shia Alawite sect. On both sides of the conflict, many violations of human rights have occurred. The government has bombed areas with innocent civilians in it, forcing many people to migrate into neighboring countries. This is exactly what happened in Rwanda. When the violence erupted many people sought refuge in Uganda, creating a crisis of its own in that country. We see the same issue happening with the refugees leaving Syria. These people are overwhelming nations that do not have the resources or space available to accommodate all these people. Further, without much aid from western nations or the UN again, many thousands of refugees are dying on their journey to escape the violence of the civil war. The parallels are so astonishing. It makes you think that world has barely progressed in 20 in terms of human rights, specifically in dealing with less-developed nations. But that leads to the question of who is responsible for protecting the human rights of the people of Syria and Rwanda? While there is no simple answer to this question, I argue that western nations, along with the UN, have a moral responsibility to political, military and financial resources in all ways possible to these suffering people. As the Universal Declaration of Human rights states, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” I hope to see the day in my lifetime that this article is actually fulfilled.


2 thoughts on “Travel Log 7: “Global Responsibility” Part 1. By Ashley Moreau, Cork, Ireland.

  1. Ashley it is really scary the comparisons between the two conflicts involving Rwanda and Syria. It’s also very sad that people haven’t learned from the past so to help in solving the conflict that is occurring now which is affecting individual lives, economies, and nations alike. Just recently there has been a push in the area to destroy historical artifacts, so the events are literally affecting history in more ways than one. Hopefully the current conflict will end soon and people can learn from past conflicts to see how much death and destruction can come from it.


    • It is really sad to me that western nations in Europe that have a much more stable economy are not providing resources to these refugees. I understand that they are overwhelmed but the masses of people that are entering their country but I still don’t feel they are doing enough to help these innocent people. I don’t know if we will ever learn from the past, it seems as though history is always repeating itself. I hope that people will learn to spread peace and that countries like the U.S. will learn to intervene their political and military powers in appropriate manors in the future.


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