Travel Log 7: “Wise for the World” Part 1 By Marc Capparelli. Perugia, Italia

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.


2 thoughts on “Travel Log 7: “Wise for the World” Part 1 By Marc Capparelli. Perugia, Italia

  1. Marc, I completely agree with your comment where you said that people do not seem to care unless it is happening to them. Being a bystander almost makes you worse than a bully because you see all the actions going on but you do absolutely nothing to help it. It is so sad because one day you may need the help back but maybe then you wont get it either. We really need to put ourselves in other peoples shoes in order to really be able to understand what they are going through and help them in their times of need.


  2. Its understandable, yet no way condonable when people seem to not grasp the seriousness of such crimes. Unfortunately, it we see this everyday although some issues may be bigger than others, it is still always there haunting us. I think ultimately being a bystander is what comes naturally to most people for two reasons, either they don’t want to get involved because its doesn’t concern them or they have a strong sense of self-preservense. In either case it doesn’t stop these things from happening. Some say that being a bully is the worse, but I beg to differ, if you see something like bullying or worse and you turn a blind eye…can you really live with that guilt. Both bully and bystander share the burden and guilt of what they have helped accomplish together. I think that people need to learn to look past this hands off attitude and start to feel. Their expectation is that if they were in that same situation they would receive the help they need, it’s going to be real shocker when they realize they aren’t any different from those they chose to ignore in the first place. We, humanity need to re-cultivate our sense of comradery and compassion, to understand that we shared in the pain and suffering of all peoples of this world and community.

    Your travel log was very insightful and I was very impressed and enlightened. Keep up the good work!


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