TL7: Global Responsibility, Danielle Tomlinson London England

The Rwandan Genocide was a massacre that left the country of Rwanda forever changed. For three months, Hutu rebels took to the streets ensuing their Tutsi counterparts and some Hutu moderates. In the wake of those three bloody months, 800,000 people were killed. The Rwandan Genocide did not happen overnight. After years of ethnic cleavages, Hutu radicals decided to send a message. From the inception of the country, the inhabitants had been characterized by their physical features. Straight noses, thin lips and slender figures were the making of a Tutsi, where as the more negroid features such as a flat nose and thick build were he making of a Hutu. It was this classification that ranked the Rwandan nationals. Their colonizers held the Tutsis above the Hutus making them out to be the superior of the two groups. The ethnic tensions had been boiling for years but what pushed them over the edge was the death of the Hutu’s president who’s plane was shot down. This acted as the catalyst as it then became the eve of the Rwandan genocide.

To this day the Rwandan Genocide remains one of the most controversial moments in history. Despite the gross violation of human rights within the country, countries around the world failed to help when Rwanda needed it most. They refused to even acknowledge the genocide, claiming it to be an internal conflict.

In my opinion this picture best describes the involvement of the international community in the Rwandan Genocide. Though there were UN Peacekeepers who were to help with quelling the violence within Rwanda they had specific rules and could not engage or even help Rwandans from being saved a lot of the time. And as the country became more volatile the Peacekeepers were withdrawn. In our workshop we talked about the universal declaration of human rights that all human being are endowed with the same rights and protections across the globe and any violation of that, should result in some sort of aid or intervention. Though when the time came for intervention within Rwanda, the world was silent. Thus the cartoon shows the lack of involvement in the part of the UN and the international community. Today this reminds me of the civil war in Syria. Within the country of Syria, different individuals identify with different sects. The only difference today is that there is more military involvement from the international community. Countries such as the United States of America have carried out my joke air strikes in an effort to convince Bashaar Al Assad to seize and desist. However, as the refugee crisis worsens many counties turn their back to those who have been displaced and are in need of a home. Islamophobia had begun to drive the public opinion within many countries and so they now work to close their borders, rather than to help their fellow men.

The universal declaration of human rights endows individuals around the world with the same rights and securities yet, all too often, countries and the UN only intervene when it seems most convenient or when they have “something at stake”. Rwanda was a small country that didn’t have many resources to give to developed countries, where as Syria has oil, a resource that many people in fact would like. The convenience isn’t a coincidence. At least not in my opinion. I think that on a global scale there is a responsibility that countries have to help out their fellowmen regardless of their race, nationality or endowment. The international community had a global responsibility to Rwanda that they indeed neglected. And I’m sure that hasn’t been the only country. Today, terrorist groups such as Boko Haram run rampant in countries such Nigeria and yet there is little to no international intervention. There is a responsibility to protect as outlined often within international treaties and amongst into international organizations and get no country seems to consistently responds to the cries of help of their fellow men.

Like the cartoon I believe too many times, nothing is done but to acknowledge it after it happened.image


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