The political cartoon I chose to discuss was one done by Patrick Chappatte. The cartoon illustrates a United Nations discussion room where one man is at the podium holding up a document that reads, “20 years” on it. This is a reference to it being the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. The man at the podium says, “In memory of our role during the Rwandan Genocide… we won’t do anything.” Besides a woman vacuuming the carpet, there is no one listening to this man.
In order to understand this cartoon, one must understand the events surrounding the Rwandan genocide. I wasn’t too familiar with the Rwandan genocide until I watched Shake Hands with the Devil. I learned about the United Nations’ lack of involvement during this genocide and how they chose to do nothing while hundreds of thousands of innocent people were slaughtered. Chappatte is making fun of the United Nations in this cartoon by conveying to his readers that the United Nations was practically nonexistent during those terrible times and how they ceased to stop the genocide when they actually had a chance. Chappatte is saying that the United Nations should have protected the people and they should have protected the rights of the people, but they simply didn’t do anything. And just as they did nothing to help the people in Rwanda, they will do nothing to remember it. Chappatte is trying to convey that the United Nations should be ashamed.
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights reads, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Because we are born free, we can choose follow any religion, love any person we want, or speak any language we desire without any worry of things like race or sex. These rights of freedom with love from our common brother or sister were infringed upon during the Rwandan genocides. The United Nations failed to intervene because they did not see Rwanda as a place to gain from. They also could not create an objective and did not have the proper funds so they just did nothing while people were raped and murdered.
It’s hard to say if global treatment of these rights has changed. Racism, sexism, and violent acts against those who are different still exist today. After watching the video of t
he journey of Roméo Dallaire, I thought about the famous poem about the Holocaust where a different type of person was taken away at different times and the man said nothing. When it was time for him to be taken away, there was no one there to say anyth
ing to help him. I think that most of the time, people don’t say anything unless the harm happens to them. The United Nations or the big superpowers did nothing to help Rwanda because it wasn’t there problem. The bystander effect is strong and it makes it easy to just blame others. This may be a pessimistic view but I think there is a certain truth to it.