Travel Log 7: “Global Responsibility” Part One by Jared Walsh. Barcelona, Spain

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The Rwandan genocide was a horrible mass slaughter of members of the Tutsi and Hutu classes of people in Rwanda in 1994. In just over three months, an estimated one million individuals had been killed. No lives were spared, including infants. Men and women were shot by rifles and mauled by machetes. All the meanwhile, the rest of the world played dumb, pretending that it wasn’t happening even though they knew full well of what ignoring the situation would result in. I chose this political cartoon because of how realistic it is. While admittedly this was one of the first few that popped up in Google, the fact that it caught my attention immediately speaks towards its success as a political cartoon. In the cartoon, a Rwandan is laying on the ground, looking as though she was both starving and suffering. Her hand is up in a manner that is beckoning for help, like a final plea for her life. She is labeled as “Rwanda,” meaning to represent the entire country. In the background, a group of people are seen making various comments. Comments such as “we should wave back” and “does she want something?” are as ignorant as they come in this situation. They are oblivious to the reality what is happening to the Rwandan. It appears, based on one of the people saying “as concerned nations” that the group of people is meant to represent the United Nations or a group of countries. The tiny voice in the bottom corner, saying, “She’s waving goodbye” indicates that the country of Rwanda is dying. The other countries were acting oblivious and basically allowing the genocide to continue with no help offered to the suffering country. All of the powers of the world should have been protecting the Rwandan people. These are human beings and they deserve basic human rights. They denied their basic human rights and left them to die. Amongst many, some of the most significant articles of the Human Bill of Rights that were broken was Article 4, “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person” and article 5 “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Standing by and allowing a race of people to be slaughtered is both unethical and inhuman. Reasons why countries did not intervene, for the most part, were because they were either preoccupied with other wars or didn’t care enough. Sadly enough, nations usually don’t act out of altruistic motives. More recent examples of these rights being broken are in Afghanistan where women are often stoned to death and Syria where chemical weapons have been used. I think that generally speaking global treatment of these violations changed. Instances of these violations are much better known due to technology and media. This spread of information can be very effective, however it is clear that governmental interests are still seen as more important than human rights – thousands are killed each day and governments around the world don’t act on it either out of apathy or fear of getting attacked by other nations. While I do believe that treatment of these violations has changed for the better, I also believe that there is a long way to go before it’s at a sufficient level.

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