The human rights editorial cartoon depicting the Rwandan genocide that I had chosen depicts an aspect of the 1994 genocide but also makes a comparison to the Syrian civil war that is going on now. The cartoon was published in India’s National Herald by Paresh Nath. It consists of a then and now, as you can see below I have shared it. The “then” is the Rwandan genocide and the reactions of the onlookers in the international community who seem to be passive about the situation with the reaction of “sad.” The now portrayal is of the international community again looking on to a tragic event, however, this time it is of Syria’s civil war. The onlookers appear to have the same passive view with the response, “they’ll be happy to know that we’re planning more peace talks.” The purpose of this comparison is to show that even with the gap in years between the two tragic events the mindset and action of the international community, who is fully aware of the events, have not changed. The international community does not show they have learned anything from the first time around, the Rwandan genocide. I found that this cartoon fit in well with the discussion of the actions we take as a society in order to protect human rights. Clearly, the Universal declaration of human rights is correct when it is says, “disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind.” However, the preamble goes on and continues to state, blatantly in the beginning, “if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.” The second statement is the point I believe the author of the cartoon is trying to make. When does such a situation become a last resort where protective recourse will be taken against such horrible actions besides a peace talk? The people in the world at the time should have been the ones protecting these rights of the people and through my research and by watching the film it appears to be pure disregard that “got in the way”. These human rights are universal and any “ethical cleansing” is one that should be intervened on immediately, no matter the action that it requires to be taken. The cartoon shows how the global treatment of these violations have not changed much between such extreme periods of violations.
I wanted to focus on this concept for my travel log because I had recently visited one of the German Concentration camps Sachsenhausen where our tour guide was amazing. He explained to us how showing us these camps was a privilege to him. A 90-year-old survivor of the camp once held his hand with tears in his eyes and told him to never stop teaching the history that should never stop being taught or seen. He explained to us how we need to learn these learns so history never repeats itself and so we learn from history’s mistakes. This is exactly the point of the author of the cartoon I chose to show how the international community did not learn the first time around from the Rwandan genocide that these extreme violations need immediate action and not just “peace talks”. I feel privileged myself to have seen the concentration camp and then do this assignment where I could see major comparisons and understand even deeper the other cartoons I saw as well.
As for more recent examples, I immediately thought of the refugee crisis but also the beginning to the crisis we are having with Muslims and Islamic people. A whole group of people are being hated and turned on for the actions of few that belong to their groups. The lives these people are losing of their own are huge and only increasing in greater numbers. The world has done nothing to implement any action plans but simply discussions for now on policies. The authors cartoon is still relevant for these recent examples.