I had briefly heard about the Rwandan genocide in a class before, but after watching the documentary, Shake Hands with the Devil, I learned much more about this terrifying point in history. The Rwandan genocide was a violent conflict that occurred on April 4, 1994 and continued for weeks after. Over 800,000 people were killed through this violence between the Tutsi and Hutu within 100 days. These victims were denied their human rights. In our workshop we discussed human rights as being universal and given to all human beings, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, or any other classification. Human rights are something that every single one of us is born with, however, many people do not recognize the human rights we have, and some choose to ignore it.
The cartoon that I have posted to depict the Rwandan genocide is a picture portraying how the media publicizes news. As a Communications major, I have learned that the news stations only report an extremely small portion of what actually occurs within the world. The cartoon depicts how the media covered the O.J. Simpson trial, and Michael Jackson. I remember when I first heard of the King of Pop’s death on the radio. His passing was all over the news for weeks, but with the Rwandan genocide, not much was mentioned. It is really unfortunate that something as important as this genocide was ignored within the media. The media chose to present minimal news about Rwanda, and therefore many people were unaware of what was going on.
After looking through the list of human rights, one that stood out to me particularly was, “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights). I wish that the media recognized the people in Rwanda as human beings whose lives are just as important as those constantly announced in the news. I understand that this right may express more a right when in a courtroom, but I think an important keyword here is recognition. We must recognize that there are other human beings out there with different cultural backgrounds and different ways of living. We may have cultural differences but each person has human rights and they matter too.